The Types of Accidents Trucks Can Cause

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The sheer mass of most large trucks often translates to serious bodily injuries and extensive property damage during a crash. Analyzing the most common truck accident scenarios can help explain the circumstances behind the accident and help predict how a personal injury claim may proceed.

By working with an experienced Atlanta truck accident lawyer, you’ll be in a better position to get the justice and compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Atlanta, call the Rafi Law Firm at 404-800-1156 or contact us online today.

The following are the most common types of truck accidents seen on America’s roads, according to 2017 data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Collisions with Other Vehicles

The vast majority of truck accidents involve a collision with another vehicle. Statistics from the FMCSA confirm that 75 percent of all big truck and bus crashes in 2017 involved some sort of direct collision as the “most harmful event.”

Other less likely truck accident scenarios include:

  • Fixed object (10.7% of truck crashes)
  • Pedestrian (less than 0.05%)
  • Parked motor vehicle (5.5%)
  • Bicycle or other personal conveyance (less than 0.05%)
  • Train (0.1%)
  • Animal (1.6%)
  • “Other object” (3.4%)

A rear-end collision where the truck driver is at fault almost always involves the truck plowing into the back of a vehicle after being unable to react or brake in time. Many of these crashes are caused by truck driver mistakes, such as following too closely, speeding, or not paying attention to the road.

Blind Spot Accident (Sideswipe)

Trucks have massive blind spots that can potentially engulf multiple vehicles. Truck drivers are required to pay attention to their surroundings and to be cautious about making maneuvers when someone could be in their blind spot.

When a truck changes lanes or begins to make a turn without accounting for their blind spot, they can collide side-to-side with another vehicle, causing a spinout or either vehicle to run off the road.

Wide Turn Accident

Trucks often need to take really wide turns. Turning right is particularly tough since it has to be done in an arc that can drag the trailer smoothly and safely. Some trucks misjudge the amount of space they have to make a turn, causing a sideswipe accident or a T-bone collision (explained below) with another vehicle and their trailer.

Head-On Collision

Perhaps the deadliest type of truck-to-vehicle accident, a head-on collision involves the front end of a truck striking the front end of another vehicle. This situation usually occurs when the truck crosses the median of a divided highway. Even at low speeds, this type of accident often proves fatal.

T-Bone Collision

When the front end of one vehicle strikes the side of another, this is called a perpendicular impact – or a “T-bone” accident, in common terms.

T-bone accidents involving trucks are less common than those with regular vehicles, but they still happen. Most often, they occur in intersections as the result of someone ignoring traffic signals, failing to yield, or driving too fast for conditions.

Underride Accident

A carriage underride accident happens when a small car or SUV makes impact with the truck driver’s trailer and happens to slide underneath the trailer’s undercarriage.

These accidents are incredibly dangerous.

They often crush the canopy of the underriding vehicle and can result in the occupants getting trapped, killed, or severely injured.

Trucks are supposed to have rear underride guards to prevent this type of accident from happening when a vehicle strikes a trailer’s rear end. However, many of these guards are in disrepair and violate regulations.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that more road fatalities could be prevented if trailer operators kept their guards up to date, in repair, and in compliance with current federal standards.


A “jackknife” accident happens when a semi-truck trailer pivots at an extreme angle from the cab, causing both parts to lose control. Most often, this scenario happens because the trailer brakes were not functioning properly, and the heavy weight of cargo causes the trailer to careen towards the front cab.

These accidents are extremely dangerous but are fortunately in decline since federal standards required anti-lock brakes on all trailers.

According to FMCSA data, 0.4% of all truck accidents for which “most harmful event” data was recorded involved jackknifing.

Rollover (Overturn)

This type of accident happens when the truck trailer and/or cab flips over onto its side. It is especially common when a truck is hauling an empty trailer, which is known in the industry as “deadheading.” Truck trailers have a high center of gravity, so when they are unloaded they can lose control in certain accident scenarios, particularly when high winds are involved.

The FMCSA reports that 2.4% of all recorded truck accidents involved a rollover.

Lost Loads

Semi-trailer doors can swing open. Tarps and bungies can fly off. Loose loads, like tree lumber, can come spilling out of a cargo trailer for any number of reasons.

Lost loads can cause major accidents, especially if they happen on a busy interstate or freeway. The sudden weight transfer can cause the truck to wreck. The debris itself can cause a chain reaction of accidents behind the trailer.

The FMCSA reports that 0.1% of recorded truck accidents involved a lost load, loss of equipment (such as a breakaway tire), or an unexpected load shift.

Work with an Experienced Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

Every truck accident scenario can disrupt the lives of accident victims. They will have losses from hospital bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, property damage, and their pain and suffering.

The Rafi Law Firm can provide legal representation to victims after any type of accident. We investigate the cause of your accident and document all of your losses to help you seek the maximum amount of compensation available.

Discuss your case and the next steps you can take to file a claim when you call 404-800-1156 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now.

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