Common Types of Truck Accidents

common causes of truck accidentsAccording to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 11 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2018 were a result of large truck crashes. Not only are tractor-trailer accidents a leading cause of traffic deaths, a majority of those deaths—an estimated 67 percent—were the occupants of passenger vehicles. There are many different types of truck crashes, all of which potentially lead to catastrophic consequences.


One dangerous type of truck accident involves something referred to as “jackknifing.” When an 18-wheeler jackknifes, the cab of the truck stops in place, while the trailer swings outward, creating a 90-degree angle. This can result in a dangerous situation causing the cars behind the truck to become trapped, crushed, or collide with each other.

Jackknife accidents occur most often on highways where vehicles are traveling at higher speeds. Some common causes of this type of accident include difficult weather conditions resulting in slippery surfaces (such as rain or ice), fast acceleration or braking, and mechanical issues.


A truck rollover accident happens when a tractor-trailer rolls or flips, either on its side or roof. Depending on the speed of the truck, it may roll several times before stopping. When a truck rolls over, vehicles in its path can be crushed or hit by the truck’s trailer. The size and weight of a big rig can often cause fatal injuries to its occupants, as well as the drivers and passengers in other vehicles.

According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, causes of truck rollover crashes include “failing to adjust speed to curves in the road, (mostly on-and off-ramps), the load being carried, condition of the brakes, road surface, and intersection conditions.” The second major cause of truck rollovers is driver inattention, which may look like driver fatigue or drowsiness.


Because of how large they are, 18-wheelers must be maneuvered in a specific way, and truck drivers receive special training to learn how to operate them safely. For instance, a truck must generally turn widely to make a safe turn in either direction (ex. when making a right-hand turn, a driver must swing slightly to the left). If done improperly, a wide turn can result in a serious collision with another vehicle.

Wide turn accidents like this can occur when a truck driver swings into oncoming traffic, fails to use a turn signal, fails to check their blind spots, or is traveling in an area where turns are particularly difficult. If you’ve been injured in a wide-turn truck collision and need legal representation, contact William Mattar law offices Today.


Another common type of tractor-trailer accident is a blown-out or defective tire accident. Large commercial trucks, especially those carrying cargo, must have tires that can sustain heavy loads. When a tire fails to carry this weight and blows out, the truck may lose control or veer off the road. This accident scenario can result in tire debris that creates hazards on the road or a devastating collision with other vehicles.

Tire blowouts can happen due to underinflated or poorly maintained tires, an overloaded or improperly loaded trailer, or bad road conditions, such as large potholes. A blown tire can also lead to other types of semi-truck accidents, include a jackknife crash or rollover.


Most tractor-trailers are elevated higher off the ground than a typical passenger vehicle. In some cases, due to a variety of potential causes, a vehicle can become trapped under the trailer of a large truck, either on the rear or side of the trailer. This is what’s called an “underride accident.” The consequences of under riding can be severe, particularly to the occupants of cars, motorcycles, or other smaller vehicles.

Rear or side underride truck crashes sometimes occur when a car tailgates a truck, or in conditions with low visibility (such as fog or rain). Commonly, this type of accident happens when a truck makes a sudden turn, such as a U-turn, and another vehicle slides under its trailer. Failure to use underride guards or maintain a truck’s brake lights can also contribute to an underride collision.

During an underride accident, the roof or front of a passenger vehicle can be destroyed or even removed. In addition to vehicle damage, these accidents can result in serious, life-threatening injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and dismemberment.


Cargo shifting or falling from a truck is one of the most dangerous types of tractor-trailer accidents. Many trucks transport tons of material or various goods at high speeds for long distances. While many trucking and loading companies must follow certain regulations for securing cargo, these accidents still occur, primarily on highways.

When cargo migrates from a truck, it can land on a smaller vehicle and cause damage, or spill out onto the roadway. Road hazards from truck debris can prompt other motor vehicle accidents that lead to injury or death. If you’ve been injured in a lost cargo truck crash, you may be entitled to compensation. The truck driver, trucking company, or loader could be responsible for the accident that caused your injuries.


Victims of tractor-trailer crashes don’t have to suffer the effects of a serious injury on their own. The truck accident attorneys at William Mattar are here to help. Our legal team can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and get your life back on track. To schedule a free case consultation, call (844) 444-4444 today or fill out and submit our online consultation form.

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