Common Types of Accidents with Trucks We See in Missouri
Since Missouri is situated very near the center of the country, it is no surprise that it sees a lot of trucks come through carrying freight across the midwest. St. Louis in particular is a hub of Mississippi River and rail traffic, connecting it with many shipping lines.
Having an accident with a truck is different than colliding with another car. Their size and weight create some conditions that are specific to large commercial vehicles, making crashes more dangerous. True, fatal crashes involving large trucks in the U.S. dropped 71% between 1975 and 2015. And Missouri’s rate of fatalities per miles traveled is less than the national average. Still, even one crash that takes a life is too many, and these stats do not include those seriously injured in truck accidents in Missouri.
The driver and passengers of a smaller vehicle can suffer severe and debilitating injuries in accidents with trucks. In order to get full and fair compensation, victims need an experienced truck accident attorney to assess the type of crash and find out who is liable.
8 Crash Types that Happen With Trucks
Whether it is an 18-wheeler carrying cargo down I-70 or I-44, a charter bus taking Cards fans to a game, or Fedex, UPS, or Amazon bringing deliveries through a neighborhood, trucks are everywhere—and accidents with trucks can happen anywhere.
Some accidents, such as head-on or rear-end collisions, sideswipes, or T-bone crashes are not unique to trucks. They can occur with cars too. But the larger the vehicle, the more serious these incidents can be. For example, being rear-ended by a semi can be much worse than by car, even at low speed. In fact, the weight and momentum of a truck can result in a chain reaction involving several cars.
Aside from these “normal” crashes, these eight types of accidents are more likely to happen with trucks.
1. Jackknife accidents. Trucks that have two components: a cab and a trailer, can jackknife, meaning the trailer swings sideways into a 90-degree angle with the cab. This can happen when the driver slams on their brakes or skids on icy pavement. The truck may slide into the path of nearby cars.
2. Blind spot crashes. Truck mirrors are not enough to let drivers see every angle around their vehicles. Cars driving beside the truck or following close behind might be in a blind spot. If the truck changes lanes or turns, it could cause a crash.
3. Wide turns. Trucks need a lot of room to maneuver around a tight turn. This is why they often veer into the right lane before a left-hand turn and vice versa. The truck driver might misjudge how close they are to a car or hit one that is in their blindspot while turning.
4. Roll-overs. A truck can tip or roll-over in heavy winds or while making a turn too fast. This can be worse if freight is unbalanced or making the truck top heavy. Not only can a roll-over hit several other vehicles, it can scatter debris and cargo all over the road causing additional hazards.
5. Underrides and Overrides. A truck’s height makes it possible for a car to drive under it, resulting in a crushed frame and serious injuries. Equally dangerous is an override crash, where a truck either backs over a car or plows into and over it, crushing it beneath the cab.
6. Tire blowouts. A punctured or shredded tire will send chunks of rubber flying into the roadway. The truck driver might lose control or overcorrect and swerve out of their lane or off the road. Meanwhile the debris can hit (or be run over by) other vehicles causing damage to their cars, or worse, causing them to crash.
7. Lost or shifting cargo. Trucks can legally carry up to 80,000 pounds of cargo. If it is not secured properly, it might shift or fall off the truck. An unbalanced load will make the truck unstable making it difficult for the driver to control. Losing items off the truck creates an extremely dangerous situation for any cars nearby or approaching the site.
8. Construction zone accidents. There always seems to be construction happening around St. Louis. Trucks must navigate through narrow, winding temporary lanes set up with cones and construction barrels. Failure to slow down and exercise caution can result in sideswiping these safety markers, or worse, losing control and hitting other cars, construction equipment, or workers.
Truck Crash Injuries and Compensation
Regardless of the type of accident, a crash with a truck is likely to result in significant damage to the smaller vehicle and injuries. The types of injuries are the same as those in any automobile accident, but can be more severe due to the greater impact of such a large vehicle.
Common truck crash injuries are:
- Cuts, bruises, burns, and broken bones
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal organ injuries
Victims suffering these injuries deserve compensation for all medical bills and follow up care, as well as lost wages. A settlement demand may also include compensation for pain and suffering brought on by the trauma.
An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to assist in calculating an amount that will make the victim “whole”, or that will compensate for the loss of a loved one in the event of a fatal accident with a truck.
Who is At Fault In an Accident With a Truck?
A qualified truck accident attorney knows how to gather the appropriate information to prove who caused an accident. This is an important piece of a personal injury case, especially in Missouri. Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that even the victim can be partly to blame for a crash. For example, say a car is following a semi and ends up in an underride collision. If they were driving too close, they might be deemed 20% responsible for what happened. That means they will only collect 80% of any settlement.
A lawyer will look at all factors that may have contributed to a crash in order to assign liability. For example, was either vehicle speeding, taking a curve too fast, or following too close? Did weather play a part? Or perhaps the truck driver was distracted, impaired, or falling asleep at the wheel. Any of these can indicate negligence and therefore liability for injuries.
There are laws and industry guidelines intended to make trucking safer. For example, truck drivers must go through proper training and periodic drug and alcohol tests. Their time behind the wheel is limited to 11 hours with 10 hours between shifts. Passenger carriers must rest for 8 hours after a 10 hour shift.
Commercial vehicles must undergo regular maintenance and have certain safety equipment like reflective tape and bumper guards to prevent overrides.
A truck driver may be liable for driving carelessly, but the trucking company might share liability too if they did not follow the guidelines for their drivers and vehicles. This makes truck accident cases complicated, as there can be multiple parties at fault and claims filed with more than one insurance company. A truck accident attorney will be able to help sort it all out.
Hipskind & McAninch: Truck Accident Experts
If you have been hurt in a crash with a semi, tractor-trailer, or a delivery truck, you have likely sustained serious injuries that are not only painful but expensive. In an accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve full compensation.
Unfortunately, trucking companies can have a team of lawyers who are paid to fight any claims of liability. This can make getting a fair settlement difficult.