Every year, large trucks play a role in thousands of serious and fatal traffic accidents. Although commercial trucking is an integral part of the economy, negligent trucking companies and their drivers can put other roadway users at risk. In 2017, 4,657 deadly car accidents involved big rigs. Many of these fatal accidents were rollovers, in which the truck turned on its side or flipped over. Rollovers can easily be deadly for the truck driver and others involved in the collision.
Why Are Rollovers So Dangerous?
Truck rollovers have a high fatality rate. In a rollover, the large truck may turn on its side or roll completely over. Once a truck turns over, the driver has no control over where it slides. It could crash into multiple other vehicles before coming to a stop. The truck driver could suffer broken bones, head trauma, brain injuries, crush injuries and internal organ damage when the truck turns on its side or collides with other vehicles. A rollover can be especially dangerous if the truck spills hazardous cargo such as flammable liquids. Passengers in smaller cars can also suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries when a truck collides with them or overturns on top of them.
What Causes Commercial Truck Rollovers?
Truck rollover accidents are often preventable. They occur when certain factors escalate the risk of the semi turning or rolling over, such as poor truck maintenance or reckless driving. Identifying the cause of the truck rollover accident is one of the first steps toward obtaining compensation as a victim. After recognizing the cause of the crash, it is possible to determine the identity of the defendant in the personal injury claim.
- Negligent or dangerous driving. What the truck driver does behind the wheel can have the power to cause or prevent a rollover. Driver mistakes such as speeding, taking turns too fast, driving recklessly, stomping on the brakes or jerking the steering wheel could cause the big rig to overturn.
- Uneven cargo weight. Keeping the right center of gravity is integral in the safe transportation of goods. Ignoring federal regulations while transporting cargo, liquids and hazardous materials can lead to a dangerous truck imbalance. If the cargo moves side to side while the truck is in motion, it could cause the trailer to roll over.
- Unsafe vehicle. Some trucks have mechanical problems that can increase the risk of rollovers. A truck with worn out or bald tires, for example, could have a blowout that causes the driver to lose control and flip the truck. In other cases, the truck could have defective parts from the manufacturer that cause a rollover.
Driving the speed limit, slowing down in wet or dangerous conditions, using safe braking techniques, obeying federal cargo securement rules, and properly maintaining the commercial truck could help prevent dangerous rollover accidents. It is up to many different parties to prevent rollovers, including the truck manufacturer, owner, trucking company, cargo loaders and truck driver. Liability for a truck accident could go to any of these parties depending on the circumstances.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Rollover?
The liable party in a truck rollover accident case will be the one financially responsible for the crash. This party may be the trucking company if it or one of its drivers or employees caused the rollover. If, for example, a poorly trained truck driver caused the rollover while on the job, the trucking company would be vicariously liable. According to federal laws, a trucking company will be liable for its drivers even if they work as independent contractors.
In other cases, the liable party could be a truck manufacturing company, cargo company, maintenance crew or another driver on the road. The party liable for the rollover will have to pay for victims’ medical bills, lost wages, property repairs, and other losses. Hiring a Huntsville truck accident lawyer after a catastrophic rollover accident can be the best way for victims to fight for reasonable compensation.