Commercial motor vehicles are a regular fixture on California roads, highways, and interstates. Whether delivering food items to the grocery store or transporting consumer goods out of state, we rely on the services provided by semi-truck and long-haul drivers.
Sharing the road with a semi-truck can be dangerous, though. Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) like semi-trucks are much larger and heavier than the typical passenger vehicle, and their significant height makes them prone to rolling or toppling over. The reasons why semi-trucks roll over can vary, and at Frost Law Firm, PC, we want everyone to have a firm understanding of what to do in the aftermath of a serious crash.
The Causes of Rollover Truck Accidents
The majority of fatalities in accidents involving a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle occur among occupants of the smaller vehicle. However, rollover accidents are much more likely to also involve the death of a CMV driver, accounting for almost half of all truck driver deaths.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of semi-truck rollover accidents.
Semi-trucks have a high point of gravity and relatively narrow track widths. Every truck driver with a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) should have the experience and training necessary to navigate these vehicles through a variety of situations, such as curves or inclines, without rolling over.
Whether due to a lack of training or overconfidence in their skills, truck driver error is a common contributing factor to rollover accidents. Actions that may contribute to a truck rolling or turning over onto its side include:
- Fast turns
- Following too closely
- Braking too hard or too fast
- Driving too fast for conditions
Truckers who choose to drive while distracted, tired, drowsy, fatigued, intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs are more likely to make a serious error that causes a rollover.
Improperly Loaded and Secured Cargo
It is not uncommon for cargo that has been improperly loaded or secured to be one of the driving factors in a serious truck accident. If the contents of a semi-truck’s trailer are loaded in a manner that throws off the center of gravity, or if the contents are not properly secured and move around during transport, a rollover accident is possible.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers are responsible for ensuring that the loads they are hauling are properly loaded and secured—even if they did not have any role in packing the trailer.
Trucking Company Negligence
In 2017, big trucks transported nearly 72% of all goods that were shipped in the United States. California was one of two states that shipped and transported more than $1 trillion worth of goods by truck and was responsible for moving 580.6 million tons.
Trucking companies have an enormous responsibility to not only their customers but also to all those their drivers share the road with. Despite this, many continually try to cut corners in an effort to raise and boost their own profits. When truck driver and vehicle safety is compromised, the risk of rollover accidents increases, putting everyone on the road at risk of being injured in a truck accident or even killed.
Some of the most common examples of trucking company negligence that explain why semi-trucks roll over include:
- Inadequate maintenance routines
- Negligent hiring practices
- Insufficient driving training programs
- Unreasonable or unrealistic delivery schedules
- Negligent loading practices
Big truck and transportation companies shouldn’t be allowed to put other drivers at risk just because they are looking to save a few dollars. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck rollover accident, we encourage you to reach out to Frost Law Firm, PC, as soon as possible. We’ll schedule you for a completely free consultation at a time and date that works best for you.
Passenger vehicle drivers must know how to safely share the road with large CMVs. Actions taken by drivers behind the wheel of smaller cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks can force a CMV driver to take dangerous evasive driving maneuvers that could endanger others. A rollover accident could potentially be the result of a trucker trying to avoid another driver who is:
- Driving too slow
- Tailgating or driving too close
- Acting aggressive or reckless
- Braking suddenly or without warning
- Swerving in and out of traffic
Determining liability when a third party contributed to the accident but did not physically strike another vehicle can be complicated. At Frost Law Firm, PC, every one of our truck accident attorneys has the knowledge and experience needed to correctly identify all at-fault parties for a rollover accident.
What Happens After a Truck Rollover Accident
You can expect a few things to happen after a rollover truck accident. At Frost Law Firm, PC, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Call 911 – Tell the operator that there has been a rollover accident. Be clear and as descriptive as possible with the location and inform them of any serious injuries that anyone appears to have suffered.
- Speak with police – The responding police officer will create an accident report that documents the details of the rollover crash. Do not admit fault or say anything that could be misinterpreted as you taking responsibility for the crash.
- Exchange information – California state law requires drivers to exchange contact information and driver’s license numbers with other drivers after being involved in an accident.
- Take pictures and videos – Evidence disappears quickly in car accident cases. Take pictures and videos of debris, skid marks, time of day, weather conditions, vehicle damage, and anything else at the scene that you think could be relevant to your case.
- Seek medical attention – If you’re experiencing acute medical distress, go directly to the emergency room. Prompt medical attention is essential to a number of serious car accident injuries, including head and back injuries. If you feel uninjured or are dealing with only minor aches and pains, schedule an appointment with your regular doctor for an evaluation.
- Meet with a lawyer – Schedule a free consultation with a truck accident attorney. Even if you choose to pursue your claim without legal representation, a no-cost case evaluation is an excellent way to learn about your legal rights.
Life After a Semi-Truck Rollover Accident
If you’ve been injured in a rollover accident, you deserve to be fully and fairly compensated for all the ways your life has been impacted. The compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys of Frost Law Firm, PC know that this goes beyond just seeking compensation for your lost wages and medical bills. You deserve to be compensated for your non-economic losses, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering, even though they do not have an exact price tag attached to them.
We stand up to the big trucking companies and their insurers. We want you to feel confident in your choice of who to work with, which is why we invite you to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. This free case evaluation is an opportunity for us to see if we are the right fit for your needs.