Truck collisions make up a very small percentage of total vehicle crashes, but they also account for a disproportionate amount of serious injuries and deaths. In 2019, the California Highway Patrol reports that there were 7,009 crashes that caused injuries in California. With so much of the state’s population center in Southern California, and major shipping ports in LA and Long Beach it should come as no surprise that many of those accidents occurred in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties.
Truck Accident Types
Rear-End – When people think about car accidents, they generally think of rear-end accidents as minor. This isn’t the case with truck accidents. When a truck rear-ends a car, the damage is catastrophic—no matter the speed. The smaller vehicle may be crushed and its occupants may be seriously or fatally injured.
Rollover – Trucks have a higher-than-average center of gravity, which makes them prone to rollovers. This is why Entry-Level Driver Training, as required by the FMCSA, includes education on rollover prevention. Rollovers are more likely to happen in windy conditions, when a truck is overloaded, or when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle and overcorrects. The consequences can be devastating, especially if a truck rolls over onto another vehicle or rolls off of an overpass.
Jackknife – Jackknife accidents are unique to tractor-trailers. They occur when the truck’s trailer swings out to the side, forming a 90-degree angle with the tractor. The much-heavier trailer pulls the tractor along, causing the driver to lose control. Until it comes to a stop, the truck may hit other vehicles, force other drivers to take evasive action or cause damage to roadway structures. These truck accidents are often the result of drivers braking too suddenly or on wet and slippery roads.
Wide Turn – Wide turn accidents are fairly common among truck drivers. The data from the California Highway Patrol shows that unsafe or poorly executed turns were a common cause of injury-causing accidents. This type of accident occurs when a truck driver swings left before turning right. If they go too far left, they may hit someone in the opposite lane. If they don’t go far enough left, they may hit someone or something on their right side. The only upside is that these truck crashes generally occur at very low speeds, and other drivers may have plenty of time to take evasive action and protect themselves.
Sideswipe – Sideswipe accidents, much like rear-end collisions, are usually considered minor when they involve two passenger vehicles. But when a tractor-trailer is involved, the outcome is often very different. Tractor-trailers have massive blind spots on both sides, making it difficult for drivers to see vehicles on either side. If a driver doesn’t know this and they stay in a truck’s blind spot, they risk being hit. Depending on the structure of the truck and how long it takes them to swerve back into the regular lane, the damage could be severe. In some cases, the smaller vehicle gets stuck underneath the side of the truck and gets pulled along until the truck comes to a stop.
Tire Blowout – Tire blowouts are relatively common, thanks to the massive amount of weight a truck carries and the amount of miles they put on every single day. When a blowout happens, the vehicle often swerves out of control until the blown-out wheel forces it to stop.
Underride – Underride collisions are among the most deadly types of truck accidents. They happen when a smaller vehicle runs into the back of a truck and gets wedged underneath the back end. These collisions often end in fatalities.
Truck Accidents are Common in California
There are several reasons why there may be a higher incidence of truck accidents in California compared to other states. These factors include:
- High traffic volume: California has a vast transportation network with busy highways and interstates. The sheer number of vehicles on the road increases the likelihood of accidents, including those involving trucks.
- Urban areas and congested roadways: California is home to densely populated cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, which experience heavy traffic congestion. Negotiating through crowded urban areas can be challenging for truck drivers and increases the potential for accidents.
- Mountainous terrain: California has diverse topography, including mountainous regions such as the Sierra Nevada and the coastal ranges. Navigating through steep grades and winding roads can be difficult for trucks, especially when carrying heavy loads, which increases the risk of accidents.
Determining Financial Responsibility
Determining liability in a truck accident can be a complex process that involves examining various factors and gathering evidence. Here are some key factors and considerations in determining liability: what does the police investigation show, what evidence is there, what witness statements are available, does the trucker have a driver’s logbooks and maintenance records, and more.
Ultimately, determining liability in a truck accident often requires a comprehensive investigation and evaluation of all available evidence. It is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in California who can guide you through the legal process and help protect your rights.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact an Experience Truck Accident Lawyers Now
Truck accidents cause devastating physical and financial damage, and you need a truck accident attorney who’s ready to advocate for you.