Big rig accidents are often catastrophic and deadly, injuring more than 145,000 people and killing about 5,000 people annually. The most common types of truck accidents matter. Knowing how they occur, the injuries they cause, and how an attorney can help becomes critical to protecting your personal and financial health. If you’ve been injured in a big rig crash, our experienced team of truck accident lawyers will fight for you and your family to get the justice and compensation you deserve.
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Table of Contents
- Truck Accident Statistics
- Truck Accident Varieties
- Carriage Underride Accidents
- Head-On Accidents
- Truck Jackknife Accidents
- Truck Rear-End Accidents
- Truck Rollover Accidents
- T-Bone Accidents With Trucks
- Sideswipe Accidents With a Truck
- Wide Turn Accidents Involving a Truck
- More Helpful Resources
Big rigs are an essential part of keeping the country running. Without this mode of transportation, few supplies would make it to market. Despite their usefulness, large commercial semis pose an enormous risk on the road since their size lends itself to catastrophic types of truck accidents.
It is vital for individuals to understand the risks associated with sharing roadways with commercial vehicles, as well as their rights in case of an accident caused by negligence or other factors. In addition to physical injuries, truck accidents can result in severe emotional trauma and property damage. Let’s look at the common types of truck accidents, why they happen, the injuries they cause, and how an attorney can help.
What Statistics Say About Truck Accident Types
Truck accident statistics reveal around 500,000 truck crashes  annually in the United States. These accidents result in thousands of fatalities and injuries to motorists and other roadway users. Most of these incidents involve factors such as driver fatigue, distracted driving, improper cargo loading, and hazardous road conditions. In addition, truck drivers often operate overloaded or poorly maintained vehicles due to negligence.
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 5,005 fatalities in large truck crashes. Of these fatalities, 71 percent were occupants of other vehicles, and 11 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. The remaining 18 percent were occupants of large trucks.
It is estimated that poor driver decisions such as driving above the speed limit, improper lane changes, and not using turn signals, are responsible for around 50 percent of truck accidents. Other factors may include weather conditions, road defects, excessive cargo weight, or shift lengths exceeding legal limits.
In 2020 alone, NHTSA reported that 146,930 people were injured in large truck accidents; however, this number is believed to be underestimated. Many truck accident injuries go unreported due to the complexity of reporting requirements and lack of knowledge about the process.
The Most Common Types of Accidents Involving Trucks
The common types of truck accidents vary, and this variation is responsible for different injuries. Below, we will delve into these differences.
Carriage Underride Accidents
Carriage underride accidents are hazardous and can be catastrophic. This type of accident occurs when the front end of a car comes in contact with the back of a larger vehicle such as an 18-wheeler truck or tractor-trailer. The smaller vehicle may slide underneath the larger one and become wedged beneath it. Carriage underride accidents can cause severe injuries and fatalities, as the car’s occupants are often crushed or severely injured.
It is important to note that truck drivers may not be aware of an underride accident until after it happens due to limited visibility from the cab. Drivers in smaller vehicles must always exercise caution when driving near larger trucks, following at a safe distance and never attempting to pass on the right.
Safety regulations  have been put in place to reduce the risk of underride accidents, including rear guards designed to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trailer in an accident. Unfortunately, many trucks on the road lack rear guards or have faulty ones that can dramatically increase the risk of underride accidents.
Head-on collisions are among the most serious types of car accidents. They happen when a vehicle crashes into another while traveling in the opposite direction. These accidents often result in severe injuries, permanent disability, and even death. When two cars travel toward each other at high speed, the impact is the combination of the individual velocities. Common causes of head-on collisions include distracted or drowsy driving, impairment, and excessive speed.
It is important to be especially careful when driving on highways or curved roads. Always be aware of your surroundings, and watch for other drivers that may not be paying attention. Make sure to stay in your lane unless you have a clear opportunity to pass safely. If you notice a truck driver who appears to be driving erratically or speeding, give them plenty of space and avoid passing them if possible.
The aftermath of a head-on collision can be traumatic, and the medical bills and other expenses associated with these types of accidents can be overwhelming. They include traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen, and multiple types of fractures. If another driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Truck Jackknife Accidents
Truck jackknife accidents occur when a tractor-trailer skids or slides sideways, forming a 90-degree angle similar to the blade of the knife. These collisions are dangerous and can cause severe injury or death. Jackknifing is caused by several factors, including excessive speed, improper loading, tire or mechanical failure, or driving too fast for road conditions.
In some cases, the driver may regain control of the vehicle, but in other instances, a jackknife accident can occur suddenly and without warning. The rapid and unexpected nature of these accidents makes them particularly dangerous. In fact, they are rated as one of the most hazardous driving situations for truck drivers due to their potential destructive force.
Jackknife accidents often result in severe damage to vehicles, cargo, and property. If a truck jackknifes into other cars or objects, the impact can be devastating. Occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash may suffer injuries such as femur fracture or even death. In addition, pedestrians and cyclists are vulnerable to blunt force trauma by a jackknifed truck.
The best way to prevent jackknife accidents is for truckers to take the necessary precautions when driving in hazardous conditions. They should limit their speed, maintain a safe distance between vehicles, and avoid sudden turns or stops. In addition, it is crucial for truckers to ensure that their trucks are properly maintained and that their cargo is loaded and secured correctly. Poorly loaded cargo can initiate a jackknife accident.
Truck Rear-End Accidents
Truck rear-end accidents can be severe because of a large commercial truck’s size, weight, and speed. These types of collisions often result in injuries to the head, neck, and upper back or even death. Suppose someone in a passenger vehicle is struck from behind by a large truck. In that case, they may suffer from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, internal organ trauma, or other severe injuries. Additionally, these accidents can cause lifelong disabilities due to cervical strain.
Truck drivers must pay attention to the road and take evasive action when necessary to avoid rear-end accidents. Unfortunately, some truckers are negligent or distracted while on the job and fail to stop their vehicles in time. Additionally, if a truck is overloaded, it may take longer to stop, which can increase the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
It is essential to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident so that your case can be evaluated appropriately and your rights protected. An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses and injuries.
Truck Rollover Accidents
Truck rollover accidents are another one of the most dangerous  types of accidents on roadways. These accidents can cause serious injuries or death to both drivers and passengers, as well as damage to property and the environment. Truck rollovers occur when a commercial vehicle loses its stability while in motion due to excessive speed, uneven load distribution, poor road conditions, or driver error.
When a truck rolls over, it can cause severe injuries such as head trauma, spinal cord injury, broken bones, and even death. It can also damage property and the environment due to hazardous materials (such as oil or gasoline) inside the truck spilling out onto the roadway.
To prevent truck rollover accidents, drivers should ensure that the vehicle is adequately maintained, check the load distribution before beginning a trip, and follow safe speed limits. Drivers should also be aware of hazardous road conditions such as icy or wet surfaces, which can increase the risk of rollovers. It is also essential to always practice defensive driving techniques and maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle and others on the road.
An attorney can help you understand your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve from those responsible for the accident. Additionally, an attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure your case is handled correctly.
T-Bone Accidents With Trucks
T-Bone accidents involving trucks can be hazardous for all involved. In a T-Bone accident, one vehicle collides at an angle with the side of another. The size and weight difference between a truck and a car make these types of accidents particularly hazardous.
The impact force in a T-bone crash can be much higher if two vehicles of different sizes collide. The sheer mass of the trucks can cause catastrophic damage and severe injury or death to passengers in the smaller vehicles. Furthermore, truck drivers might be unable to stop quickly enough when presented with an unexpected hazard such as another vehicle crossing into their lane, resulting in a devastating T-bone accident.
Due to the size and weight of trucks, even low-speed collisions can be dangerous for other drivers. Common causes of T-bone accidents involving trucks include distracted driving, brake failure, crossing into another lane without warning or paying attention, failure to yield right of way, and speeding in an intersection.
Sideswipe Accidents With a Truck
Sideswipe accidents involving a truck can be hazardous due to their larger size and weight. Because trucks are typically much larger than other types of vehicles, they have greater mass and require more time and distance to slow down or stop. This can make it difficult for drivers to avoid sideswipe collisions when driving close to a truck.
These accidents can also be more damaging than standard sideswipe collisions due to the additional height, weight, and size of the truck. The impact of a heavy truck going at high speeds can cause severe damage—and even death—for those in smaller passenger vehicles.
In addition to physical injuries such as fractures and traumatic brain injury, truck sideswipe accidents can cause significant financial losses due to property damage, lost wages from time off work, and medical care associated with the accident. If you believe that another driver was at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Consider reaching out to a truck accident attorney to help you understand your legal rights and options.
Wide Turn Accidents Involving a Truck
Wide turn accidents involving a truck often involve a big rig turning too wide and hitting another vehicle or object. It can also be caused by a truck driver not paying attention to their surroundings, resulting in an unavoidable accident. It is essential that drivers always take extra caution when driving around trucks, as they are much larger vehicles and can cause significant damage if an accident occurs. The primary cause of wide turn accidents involving a truck is often attributed to the trucker’s inexperience or lack of understanding when attempting to make a wide turn.
In addition, truckers may fail to properly analyze the size and width of an intersection or roadway before making a turn. If the driver does not consider the restrictions that may be present in certain areas such as limited road space or sharp turns it can result in an accident. Another factor to consider is the speed limit for trucks when turning. Many states set restrictions on the speed that a truck may travel when completing a wide turn, and it is crucial to abide by these rules to prevent accidents.
Our Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
The dedicated legal team at Wilshire Law Firm will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. We have successfully recovered over one billion dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and we are committed to getting the results you need. When you turn to Wilshire Law Firm’s truck accident attorneys, you can trust that we have your best interests in mind.
You pay no fees unless you win!
Our award-winning truck accident law firm understands the unique complexities of filing a truck accident claim. We provide personalized service to all of our clients, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. We have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and coverages related to truck accidents. Our knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations helps us effectively intervene on your behalf in truck accident claims.
You can get to know us during a free case review. Our truck accident lawyers will review your case and answer your questions. We explain your legal options and help you make the best decisions for your future.
Frequently Asked Questions about Types of Truck Crashes
What is the most common type of truck accident?
The most common type of truck accident is a wide-turn accident. This is closely followed by a rollover and a jackknife crash.
What is the most dangerous type of truck accident?
The most dangerous type of truck accident is when it jackknives. This is due to the truck striking other vehicles and dragging them through traffic. It usually happens because the trucker does not brake correctly.