Big trucks fill the roads as they deliver goods across the country. Most drivers accept sharing the road with big trucks as a necessary part of life: one thing they must do to have the goods they need to be delivered. However, in some cases, big trucks can pose an additional hazard to other drivers of their larger size and heavy loads. When a big truck is in a rollover accident, for example, truck accident lawyers it can cause serious injury to others around that vehicle.

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Common Causes of Truck Rollovers

Truck rollovers can happen for several reasons.

1. Unsecured Loads

Poorly secured loads account for a large percentage of truck rollover accidents. To keep the truck safe, drivers must carefully secure their loads to protect against sliding and tipping. An unsecured load can cause a rollover as it falls or swings out of control. As the balance of the truck shifts, the truck may turn over, especially in conditions like a tight turn, where the driver may have more difficulty controlling the vehicle. 

When an unsecured load causes a rollover accident, the company responsible for loading the truck may share liability for the accident. While truck drivers should check to ensure that each load gets placed in or on the trailer properly and remains secure throughout the trip, some trucking companies will use loaders to ensure that trucks get loaded quickly and effectively. 

2. High Speeds

Speeding increases the risk of many types of accidents, including truck rollovers. At high rates of speed, truck drivers must have faster reflexes to react to potential hazards around them and keep the vehicle safely on the road. High rates of speed also mean more force behind the truck’s movements, which means that if the tires slip off the pavement or the load swings during a turn, the truck has a greater overall likelihood of rolling over at the time of the accident.

3. Sharp Turns

Sharp turns can, in general, cause a truck’s load to waver precariously. Truck drivers often have difficulty navigating sharp turns due to the large size of the trailer. While trucks can generally maneuver those turns safely if they slow down and take their time, some drivers may miss an upcoming dangerous turn or try to hurry through the area. 

4. Driving While Distracted

Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road each day, which can increase the risk of road haze and may raise the chance that they will grow distracted. Truck drivers may also assume, due to their considerable driving experience, that they can safely navigate while distracted. However, distraction raises the risk of many types of collisions, including a truck rollover accident.

A distracted truck driver does not necessarily have to have their hands on their phone to cause an accident, though cell phones serve as the most obvious source of distraction for many drivers. Distractions can also include things like checking a GPS, talking on the radio, or eating or drinking while on the road. 

A distracted truck driver may not notice a dip in the road or a sharp turn. They may also allow their tires to slip off the pavement, which can cause a truck to pitch out of control. 

5. Inebriated Driving

Around 22 percent of truck drivers engage in “problematic drinking” behavior. Truck drivers often spend a long time on the road, away from friends and family members. They may have broken routines, sleep in unfamiliar locations, and have difficulty making connections because they have to travel different routes regularly. As a result, many truck drivers turn to alcohol.

Despite strict Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines restricting the use of alcohol behind the wheel, some truck drivers may start their shifts still inebriated from the night before or might choose to drink while driving. 

Inebriated driving makes it much more difficult for truck drivers to control their vehicles. They may have a harder time seeing everything around them, including suffering from tunnel vision, and may struggle to navigate safely on the road. As a result, trucks may prove more likely to tip over. 

6. Poor Vehicle Maintenance

FMCSA has strict regulations governing the maintenance of big trucks, including truck brakes and steering components. Some trucking companies, however, may choose to ignore those regulations. They may push to keep their trucks on the road instead of taking them in for maintenance even when drivers report obvious signs of wear and tear, including slowed responses or difficulty braking safely. When damage occurs to those key components, it increases the risk of a truck rollover accident.

7. Fatigue

According to FMCSA, truck drivers can spend up to eleven hours on the road daily throughout a fourteen-hour shift. Truck drivers may suffer from a high level of fatigue by the end of the day, especially if they end up having to drive in heavy traffic or dangerous weather conditions. Driver fatigue can cause some of the same problems as driving while inebriated, including tunnel vision and difficulty keeping attention on the road. Furthermore, tired drivers may actually fall asleep behind the wheel. That fatigue can lead to devastating rollover accidents at high speeds or on curvy roads. 

The Risks of Truck Rollover Accidents

Truck rollover accidents can cause serious injury to others on the road.

Crushing Damage

A big truck rolling over on top of another vehicle can cause severe crushing damage. Big trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. With the average weight of a car between 2,500 and 6,000 pounds, depending on the size and mass of the vehicle in question, that can mean a substantial weight difference. Big trucks can end up crushing vehicles when they roll over on top of them, causing head injuries, back and neck injuries, broken bones, and death. 

Spilled Cargo

When upright and with cargo properly secured, big trucks can safely carry their cargo across the nation. However, during a rollover accident, that cargo can spring free. Some types of cargo can pose a danger to others around the truck. When tanker trucks suffer rollovers, for example, it can damage the tank and cause spills that can prove hazardous to first responders and individuals injured in the accident. 

Secondary Accidents

When big trucks roll over, other drivers have to act quickly to get out of the way and reduce their own risks. Often, that leads to secondary accidents as the vehicles directly around the big truck behave unpredictably.

Some drivers may even choose a collision with a smaller passenger vehicle over a collision with a big truck, especially if they risk getting trapped beneath the big truck in an accident. Secondary accidents can cause serious injuries, especially in multi-car collisions, which can mean immense property damage and injury to many people. 

Protecting Yourself After a Truck Rollover Accident: What to Do Next

It comes as little surprise that a truck rollover accident can leave you reeling. Whether you suffered injuries due to a direct collision with the rolling truck or a secondary accident, you may have a long and expensive path to recovery ahead.

While truck drivers and trucking companies usually carry extensive insurance policies to provide protection in the event of an accident, the insurance company that covers the truck driver may not make it as easy to get compensation as you might hope. 

To protect yourself after a truck accident, follow these key steps.

Carefully Adhere to Your Medical Care Provider’s Instructions

Immediately after your accident, you likely sought medical care from a qualified provider. In some cases, you may not have had a choice but to seek emergency care due to the severity of your injuries. As you begin the recovery process, you may work with one or more providers to help guide your recovery. 

Listen carefully to the instructions given by your medical care provider, and make sure that you adhere to them. Your medical care provider may note specific steps you need to take, like appointments or procedures you need in order to raise your odds of making a full recovery, or may recommend physical or occupational therapy. You should attend all appointments and participate actively in therapy sessions to improve your chances of fully recovering. 

Your care provider may also recommend avoiding certain activities and behaviors while recovering. For example, if you suffered any type of head injury, your care provider may recommend that you avoid anything that could cause further head trauma until you have a chance to recover. If you have a severely broken bone, you may have to avoid bearing weight on the affected limb until you have progressed further in your recovery.

If you ignore those instructions, you may worsen your injuries. Not only can that mean that you have a longer road to recovery ahead of you, but it may also mean that the insurance provider will refuse to cover the cost of treatment for anything that made your injuries worse. 

Get in Touch With a Lawyer as Soon as Possible

You need a lawyer to fight for you when you suffer injuries in a truck rollover accident. A lawyer can help collect evidence about the case and establish liability. Furthermore, a lawyer can work with you to lay out all the losses you sustained because of the accident. Your lawyer can help you calculate the cost of your medical treatment, the wages you missed out on, and even the potential value of pain and suffering related to the accident. 

Let your attorney take care of dealing with the insurance company for you. Interactions with the insurance company can prove complicated. Not only can the insurance company try to pressure you to accept a low settlement offer, which could mean that you do not end up with the compensation you deserve for truck rollover accident injuries, but the insurance company may also try to convince you to take partial or full liability for the accident.

Your lawyer can ensure you do not miss out on much-needed compensation for your injuries. 

To make your injury claim easier, document everything related to your recovery.

Keeping clear records can make it much easier to put together that claim later. 

  • Keep track of all of your medical bills. You may have a lot of medical expenses coming in, often all at the same time. The more extensive your injuries, the more medical bills you may need to keep up with. Your lawyer will want to look at your medical costs and how they have added up over time. 
  • Keep a journal related to your recovery. Write down the challenges you faced and your recovery’s impact on you. Document any major milestones. Your journal can make it easier to establish the suffering you faced because of your accident and the compensation you deserve.
  • Keep a record of any communication you have with the insurance company, especially if the insurance company reaches out to you directly. Keep up with settlement offers, admissions of liability, and any procedural information offered by the insurance company. 
Steven A. Bagen - Attorney for Truck Rollover Accident Cases near Gainesville, Florida area
Steven A. Bagen, Truck Rollover Accident Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida area

Your documentation can make it easier to establish your rights following a serious truck rollover accident.

Contact a Lawyer for Help With Your Truck Rollover Accident

Truck rollover accidents can quickly turn complicated. Both the truck driver and the trucking company can end up bearing liability. Furthermore, it may look at a lot of evidence, including the driver’s logbooks and records, to investigate the claim.

A personal accident Injury law firm in Gainesville can help. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible.