Trucks are commonplace on our nation’s highways, and they are essential in transporting goods across the country. Every motorist who operates a vehicle has a responsibility to drive safely and defensively in an effort to avoid causing or being involved in an accident. Trucks can vary in size, from pickup trucks to box trucks to 18-wheelers. Semi-trucks can be prone to a particular type of accident depending on the driver, weather conditions, and other drivers around them. A rollover accident occurs when a truck flips over on the side of the road. This type of accident can be especially dangerous because the commercial truck can hit numerous other vehicles in the process, causing serious to life-threatening injuries. Depending on the circumstances, a victim can file a personal injury claim against one or more negligent parties for their damages.
Actions That Increase the Risk of a Rollover
There are many factors that can cause a truck rollover accident, and this kind of crash often results in devastating consequences for the truck driver and other motorists on the road. The following are a few reasons that a truck rollover accident can occur:
Reckless driving: Speeding or distracted driving all have been shown to increase the chance of an accident. Limits on how fast vehicles can travel on the roadways are put in place to reduce the chance of a crash. Traveling over the posted speed limit can cause a driver to lose control, leading to a truck tipping over and rolling on its side, possibly crushing other cars or pedestrians in its path. Talking, texting, or looking at a cell phone as well as eating, drinking, or adjusting a radio or GPS can all take a truck driver’s eyes off the road.
Inexperience or operator error: Illinois truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before hitting the road. They must go through extensive training and spend a certain number of hours behind the wheel with an instructor. When these regulations are not met, a trucker can make a fatal error when navigating his rig. For example, if he or she takes a turn too fast in bad weather and starts sliding, it may be difficult to stop in time before hitting a stationary object or a pedestrian crossing the street.
Impaired driving: Drowsy or fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. The time it takes for a large vehicle such as a truck to stop is increased compared to a compact car because of the size differential. Therefore, a truck driver’s ability to react promptly is critical to avoid colliding with another vehicle or swerving at a fast speed and rolling on its side.
Improperly loaded cargo: If a truck is not packed properly, items can shift to one end, making the truck unsteady. In addition, overloaded trucks can be top-heavy, making it easy for the rig to topple over in heavy winds or if the driver takes a corner too quickly. In these situations, a trucking company may be held liable for breaching their duty of care by not packing the truck safely.
Inadequate maintenance: Commercial vehicles must undergo routine maintenance to make sure they are working properly and pass certain safety inspections. This includes checking the brake rotors and pads, tire pressure, and engine filters. If worn or faulty parts are to blame for a rollover crash, the vehicle manufacturer or trucking mechanic may be considered negligent.
Common Injuries Suffered in a Rollover
Severe injuries for drivers or passengers in vehicles that are hit by a rollover truck may include head trauma, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. In severe cases, a victim may not be able to return to work or even normal activities if he or she is paralyzed. Medical expenses and the recovery can be overwhelming, which is why it is imperative that victims speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help determine who is liable and hold them accountable.
Contact a Will County Personal Injury Lawyer
Collisions involving trucks can cause severe to fatal injuries due to the massive size and weight of the vehicles. In many cases, truckers are fatigued while operating their big rigs. A proficient Joliet truck accident attorney who is well-versed in Illinois traffic laws can assist you with determining who is negligent and seeking damages for your pain and suffering. At McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, we will work with you so you can keep your driving privileges intact. To arrange a free consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100.