There are nearly 2 million semi-trucks and 5.6 semi-trailers registered in the United States. Together, they are usually around 53 feet long and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When these vehicles collide with passenger vehicles, occupants of the smaller vehicle are usually the ones who are at highest risk of suffering severe or fatal injuries.
If negligence on the part of the truck driver, the company that hired them, or another party caused the crash, people who have been hurt may be entitled to compensation.
Each type of truck accident involves a unique set of facts and circumstances that will shape how a personal injury case should be handled. If you were injured in an accident due caused by a truck driver in Morristown, it is critical that you have an experienced Tennessee truck accident lawyer who can investigate the accident and seek the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation so we can discuss your legal options.
Types of Truck Accidents
Some of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknife – A jackknife is when the trailer of the tractor-trailer swings out to the side while the tractor stays facing ahead, making the truck to look like a folding knife. Jackknifing can occur when the truck driver takes a curve too fast or swerves to avoid another vehicle.
- T-Bone – If a truck driver runs a red light or stop sign and collides with a vehicle passing through the intersection, the crash is referred to as a T-bone or broadside collision. These crashes can be devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle, especially those on the side of the impact.
- Rollover – This type of accident often happens when a truck makes a sharp turn at a high speed or when the roads are slick due to rainy or snowy weather. Rollovers are particularly dangerous because the truck driver essentially loses control of their vehicle and can crash into any cars in its way.
- Head-on Collisions – Accidents involving a truck driver crashing head-on into another vehicle are typically among the most severe. When a truck collides head-on with a car, the car’s driver and passengers may sustain catastrophic injuries or die, while the truck driver may walk away free of injury. Many of these collisions occur on rural roads or two-lane roads, but they can also happen on highways with a median if the truck driver falls asleep at the wheel or is distracted or under the influence.
- Rear-End Collisions – Trucks take longer to stop than smaller passenger vehicles. If a vehicle in front of a truck stops suddenly, or if the truck driver is tailgating and not paying close attention, the truck may collide into the back of the vehicle. A semi-truck can demolish a smaller car when striking from behind at high speeds, often resulting in serious injuries or even death.
- Under-Ride Accidents – Under ride accidents are some of the deadliest types of truck accidents that occur on our nation’s roads. When trucks change lanes or stop suddenly, cars next to them or behind them could travel under and become lodged under the trailer.
- Wide Turns – Trucks require a wide turn radius, and when a truck driver swings the vehicle to make a right turn, vehicles to the right of the truck could become caught between the truck and the sidewalk or a light pole.
- Tire Blowouts – If a tire or multiple tires blow out on a tractor-trailer, anyone driving near the truck could be in harm’s way.
- No Zone Accidents – Because trucks are so large and are often towing semi-trailers, there are large sections referred to as “No Zones,” where the truck driver cannot see vehicles. Drivers are encouraged to stay out of the truck driver’s blind spots and no zones.
- Unsecured Cargo or Lost Loads – When cargo is not properly loaded or secured, nearby motorists could be in serious danger if the load falls off of suddenly shifts, causing the driver to lose control.
What Causes Truck Accidents in Morristown, TN?
In many cases, truck accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. Some of the most common truck accident causes include:
- Speeding – Truck drivers will often drive recklessly and far exceed the posted speed limit. In fact, speeding is the most common reason a truck gets into an accident. Speeding makes it harder for a truck to slow down or stop in time to avoid a crash. Taking a turn too fast can cause a truck driver to lose control and collide with another vehicle.
- Fatigued or Drowsy Driving – Truck drivers often drive while tired so they can reach mileage goal, and many are paid by the mile, which makes them want to continue driving for as long as they can despite regulations that require breaks. Fatigued truck drivers often have slowed reaction times. For example, if there is a road hazard, a sleep-deprived truck driver will have difficulty changing lanes fast enough to avoid it.
- Distracted Driving – Truck drivers may drive while distracted by a phone or radio, or they may eat and drink and attempt to multitask while operating the vehicle. All these behaviors may be considered dangerous acts of negligence.
- Impairment – Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are two of the primary causes of impairment among truck drivers, in addition to alcohol.
- Poorly Maintained Trucks – It’s not uncommon for trucks to be on the road for thousands of miles each week. If trucks are not properly maintained regularly, they can become even more dangerous.
- Mechanical Malfunction and Failure – While defective parts may not be the fault of the driver, they can have fatal consequences. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will be able to determine if a trucking company or manufacturer could be liable for your accident.
- Unsecured Cargo – Loading cargo on trucks has to be done carefully. Tractor-trailers have cargo loading requirements from the federal government. Failing to obey the law to save time is reckless. If cargo is improperly loaded, the contents on the truck may spill out onto the highway and cause accidents. A cargo shift could cause a truck driver to lose control.
What to Do If You’re Hurt in a Truck Accident
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Morristown or another community in East Tennessee, it is important that you take the following steps:
- Call 911 to alert the police and request emergency medical responders if you or others are injured.
- Get to a safe spot. Do not remain in or near the road.
- Collect the contact and insurance information of the truck driver and other drivers involved in the accident.
- Do not ever admit fault.
- Cooperate with law enforcement once they come to the scene of the accident. The information you give them will be included in their police report.
- Use your phone to take photos of the accident scene. Get the phone numbers of witnesses, if applicable.
- See a doctor, even if you do not feel like you were hurt at first. Sometimes symptoms of certain injuries do not appear right away. It’s also important that you have medical documentation of your injuries for your claim.
- Hold on to important documents related to the accident, such as medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and insurance forms.
- Contact an experienced Tennessee truck accident attorney at the Terry Law Firm as soon as possible.
Get Legal Help from The Terry Law Firm
For over 50 years, The Terry Law Firm has been representing truck accident victims in Morristown and throughout East Tennessee.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation with us today.