According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), there were 2,645 crashes involving large trucks in 2021. If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident, you may be wondering what your legal options are. In this blog post, we will give an overview of the different types of accidents that can occur involving tractor trailers so that you can begin to understand your legal rights and options.
Accidents Unique to Trucking
Tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles present unique risks on the road due to their size, weight, and load. When these vehicles are involved in an accident, they often cause more severe damage than a car crash would. In addition to the usual types of accidents (for example, rear-end collisions or sideswipes) that can occur between cars, there are additional types of accidents that are unique to trucking.
While rear-end accidents are one of the leading types of accidents among passenger vehicles, this type of accident is especially dangerous with tractor trailers due to the weight and force generated by the truck’s momentum. Often, a truck will be following too closely behind a smaller vehicle and, because of the height and size of the truck’s cabin and engine, unable to stop in time.
In the above VAHSO report, 7.5 percent of trucking accidents in 2021 were due to the truck driver following too closely.
Jackknife accidents involve a semi-truck and trailer that form an angle of more than 90 degrees. This type of accident is usually caused by the truck driver braking too hard or taking a turn too quickly and can result in serious damage and injury. In the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Causation Study, 5 percent of trucking accidents involve a jackknife scenario.
Rollover accidents involve trucks tipping over onto their side or roof. These types of accidents are usually caused by the truck traveling too fast on a curved road or by maintenance issues (i.e., faulty brakes or tire blowouts) and can result in devastating consequences. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 48 percent of trucking occupants die in rollover crashes.
Underride accidents occur when a vehicle slides under the back or sides of a tractor trailer. This type of accident is particularly dangerous due to the lack of protection from the truck’s trailer, which can cause severe damage and catastrophic injuries. Fortunately, however, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is requiring stricter standards for trucks with rear underride guard protection.
Here at Obenshain Law Group, we have handled hundreds of various types of accidents. If you’re looking for reliable legal representation, be sure to contact us today.
Call us at (540) 318-7360 to schedule a free consultation.