With multiple state highways and Interstate 10 running through our area, truck accidents happen more often than many people realize. Thankfully, most of them result in only minor injuries, but there is a wide variety of truck accidents that can result in serious injuries and even death. Identifying the type of truck accident that you were involved in can help identify the cause and explain your injuries, especially if you don’t clearly recall what happened. If you have been injured in a truck accident, a personal injury lawyer with experience in handling truck accident cases will be able to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. 

Jackknife Accidents

A jackknife accident is when the trailer swings out from the cab of the truck, causing the driver to lose control of the truck and often resulting in a rollover accident. It is called a “jackknife” accident because the way the trailer swings out from the cab is similar to the way a jackknife blade swings out from the handle of the knife. 

Jackknife accidents are typically caused by sudden, hard braking when the driver applies the brakes for the cab but doesn’t have time to engage the trailer brakes. Even though this situation is sometimes unavoidable, many of these accidents are caused by the driver’s failure to pay attention to road conditions and watch out for potential hazards. Other factors that can lead to jackknife accidents include the following: 

  • Entering a turn too late or too fast
  • Braking too hard or too late
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding

Lack of training or inexperience are often factors in jackknife accidents. Many of them are also caused by mechanical failures due to faulty brakes, worn tires, or broken trailer mechanisms. 

Jackknife accidents are somewhat unique in that they do not typically begin with a collision, but can cause secondary collisions by blocking adjacent and oncoming lanes. Trucks also tend to spill their cargo onto the road in jackknife accidents, creating a hazard for other drivers in addition to the truck itself. 

Override Accidents

An override accident occurs when a large truck drives over another vehicle. Because the truck is much larger and heavier than the average passenger vehicle, these accidents often result in fatalities and severe injuries as the occupants of the other vehicle are crushed by the truck. If you have been injured in an override accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.  

Underride Accidents

An underride accident is the opposite of an override accident. An underride accident occurs when a car slides under the truck, as most trucks have more ground clearance than the average passenger vehicle. They are common in rear-end accidents but can also happen when the truck sideswipes the other vehicle, and typically involve the passenger vehicle getting lodged under the trailer or the rear of the truck. Because the rear of the truck is often near the roof level of the passenger vehicle, they typically result in severe injuries as well as fatalities. 

Unfortunately, underride accidents are often the fault of the person driving the passenger vehicle. They often occur when the passenger vehicle is tailgating a truck and fails to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. One of the most common types of underride accidents is when a passenger vehicle slams into the rear corner of a truck stopped or parked on the side of the road. Many of these accidents occur in situations where there is low visibility, poor weather, or stop-and-go traffic. 

Underride accidents are so dangerous that the government has implemented regulations that require trucks to have guards and other safety features to prevent this from happening. In addition, trucks must have functioning brake lights, reflective tape, and warning lights for when they are parked. 

Therefore, do not assume that you do not have a claim even if you rear-ended a truck and it resulted in an underride accident. The trucking company may not have had the necessary safety features installed or in operation, or the driver may have negligently parked the truck. A personal injury attorney who handles truck accident cases will be able to assess your case and determine whether you have a claim. 

Cargo Accidents

Trucks haul heavy cargo that can cause serious accidents when it breaks loose or spills out of the truck. Some of these accidents are due to improper loading when the people loading it fail to ensure that it is balanced or properly secured. 

It is also worth noting that trucks handle differently when loaded. When that load is unbalanced or isn’t properly secured, or the truck is overloaded, the truck won’t stop or handle as it should, increasing the possibility of an accident. 

Of course, the cargo itself can be dangerous to other drivers such as when the truck is carrying oversized, heavy objects or hazardous materials such as fuel or toxic chemicals. Regardless, crashing into spilled cargo can cause severe injuries to other drivers on the road.

It can be very difficult to identify who should be held accountable in cargo-related accidents. You may have to pursue a claim against the trucking company, the truck driver, the people who loaded the truck, or even other drivers. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to identify who is at fault and should be held accountable. 

Injured in a Truck Accident? Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer at Powell, Powell & Powell Today

Our team of attorneys has decades of experience in helping injured drivers get fair compensation for their injuries. With offices in Crestview, Niceville, Destin, Fort Walton, and Defuniak Springs, we are able to meet with you to discuss your case wherever it is most convenient. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 850-682-2757 or contact us online to discuss your case and how we can help.