Truck rollover accidents occur when a truck trailer rolls onto its side or onto another vehicle. They often occur when a trucker must suddenly swerve to avoid causing a head-on collision and loses control of his truck, causing the truck to tip on its side or even roll over several times. This can put the truck in several lanes of traffic and cause a multi-vehicle truck crash. Other unsuspecting motorists can suffer catastrophic injuries when the 80,000 pound truck rolls on top of their much smaller vehicle or crashes into them. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), rollover accidents accounted for five percent of the 3,424 fatalities and two percent of the 82,000 injuries in truck accidents in 2014.
What Are the Major Reasons Truckers Cause Rollover Accidents?
Sadly, many truck rollovers are preventable. FMCSA estimates that a staggering 78 percent or more of these crashes are caused by truck driver errors. Common ways truckers cause these wrecks include:
- Speeding. When a trucker speeds, especially when navigating curves, the truck can lean farther than normal, with a rollover being the consequence. Highway exit and entrance ramps, with their steep curves, are also common roadways where rollovers occur.
- Taking turns too quickly. Like with a curve, a truck trailer will lean when a trucker is making a turn. If he takes the turn too quickly, the trailer can lean too far and cause the truck to roll over.
- Trucker fatigue. Truckers can drive for as much as 11 hours without a break under FMCSA rules—or longer if they violate them. If they become drowsy or fall asleep—both common problems—they can drift out of their lane. When they must quickly swerve out of the way of another vehicle, the sudden action can result in the truck tipping over.
- Steering. Oversteering, not steering enough to stay in a lane, or overcorrecting are common driving practices that cause rollovers. Inexperience and a lack of training can make these driver errors even more likely.
- Improper loads. When a load is not properly secured or balanced, items can shift when the truck is being driven. This increases the risk of a rollover—especially on a curve. In addition, when truckers are transporting liquids, the trailer’s center of gravity is higher. Combined with the force of the moving liquid, this can cause the trailer to lean dangerously from side-to-side.
- Distracted driving. Truckers can easily veer out of their lane or not pay proper attention when navigating a curve or highway entrance or exit when distracted by texting, talking on a cellphone, eating and drinking, or other distracted driving practices.
- Poorly maintained brakes. When truck brakes are defective, not maintained properly, or depowered to save on wear and tear, they can malfunction or fail when a trucker needs them most, such as on a curve or when reacting suddenly to avoid a crash.
- Tire blowouts. A truck blowout can cause a trucker to lose control of his truck and cause a rollover if the truck leans dangerously to one side.
- Other maintenance issues. Truckers are required to conduct pre-inspections of their trucks before taking them on the road. When they fail to conduct the inspection or drive the trucks in need of repairs, a rollover is one of the many accidents that can be the result.
Could Parties in Addition to the Trucker Be Responsible for Compensating You?
Depending on the cause of your rollover accident, you may be able to hold more than the negligent truck driver responsible for compensating you. In any truck accident, you always want to pursue a claim against all possible parties to ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to. Parties other than the trucker who could face liability include:
- Trucking company
- Truck manufacturer
- Truck maintenance and repair facility
- Cargo loader
- Another negligent driver
- Municipality if road defects contributed to the crash
If you or a family member was injured in a truck rollover, you need an experienced truck accident attorney who can thoroughly investigate the cause of your crash, understands the FMCSA rules governing truckers and trucking companies, and can negotiate the settlement you deserve. Contact us online or call us today at 706-863-6600 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our car accident legal team.