Types of Truck Accidents and Proving Liability in Them: What You Need to Know

by Gina Corena

Last Updated on September 29,2023

Types of Truck Accidents and Proving Liability in Them: What You Need to Know

Following a serious truck accident, proving liability can make a huge difference in your ability to seek the compensation you need for your injuries. Sometimes, proving liability is simple: a quick examination of the scene of the accident and the factors that led to it can show you that the truck driver caused the accident. In most truck accident claims, however, your attorney will need to conduct a much more thorough investigation to help identify all parties that may share liability for your accident.

Rollover Accidents

In a rollover accident, the truck and trailer literally roll over. Due to the weight of the truck, particularly when compared to that of the average passenger vehicle, the truck may end up crushing any other vehicles alongside it when it rolls. Pedestrians and motorcycle riders may have little chance to get out of the way, leading to severe injuries or even death.

Who bears liability?

Rollover accidents can occur for a couple of different reasons: high winds, driver error, and improper loading. If the driver’s error, including speeding or taking a turn too sharply, results in a rollover accident, the driver will usually bear liability for the accident. On the other hand, if improper loading led to the accident, the company that loaded the truck may bear liability for the accident.

Jackknife Accidents

In a jackknife accident, the trailer swings forward at the hinge between it and the truck. As the trailer swings forward, it may hit everything in its path, including vehicles in all adjacent lanes.

Who bears liability?

Often, jackknife accidents occur as a result of speeding on the part of the truck driver. If the truck driver then has to slam on his brakes, the force may prove adequate to stop the truck itself, but not the trailer, causing it to swing out of control. A jackknife accident can also be caused, in some cases, by improper trailer loading.

Brake Failures

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, the average commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. That immense weight puts a lot of strain on the truck’s brakes, especially if they do not receive adequate maintenance and attention. Brake failure can cause a big truck to speed forward, out of control. Anything in the truck’s path can end up mowed down, leaving the victims suffering from substantial injury.

Who bears liability?

In the case of brake failure, there are several entities who may bear liability. First, a truck driver who continues to operate the truck in spite of knowing about a brake problem may bear liability for any accident that occurs due to those brake issues. Second, the trucking company may bear liability for brake failures when the company does not take steps to provide necessary maintenance for the truck, including replacing the brakes before they show serious signs of wear. Finally, in some cases, either the manufacturer of the truck or the manufacturer of the brakes specifically may commit an error in manufacturing that causes the brake failure, which may leave that manufacturer liable for the accident.

Your lawyer may also want to investigate the mechanic who last checked and installed the brakes. While most big trucking companies have their own in-house mechanics, some may turn to external providers to take care of the maintenance on their trucks. If those mechanics fail to take care of maintenance properly, including installing the brakes according to code and addressing any problems promptly, the mechanic may bear liability for an accident caused by that lack of attention.

Falling/Shifting Load Accidents

Sometimes, the cargo on a big truck causes an accident, rather than the truck or driver itself being responsible for those concerns. Shifting loads can fall off the back of a flatbed or cause a truck’s trailer to swing out of control. If the back doors or gates on the truck aren’t secured properly, the cargo may end up falling out the back of the truck.

Who bears liability?

In a shifting load accident, like many other types of truck accidents, there may be several parties who share liability for the accident. As always, the driver bears primary responsibility for anything that goes wrong on the road. Drivers should check their loads to ensure that they are secured properly and that there are no obvious dangers. Drivers of flatbeds should check to ensure that their cargo is secured properly at every stop and before heading back out again after a rest.

In some cases, external companies may load the materials on the truck–sometimes, in such a way that the truck driver cannot realistically tell that there is a problem until an accident occurs. In that case, the company or entity that loaded the cargo may bear liability for a shifting load accident.

Tire Blowouts and Other Mechanical Failures

Big trucks have a lot of working parts–including a great deal more complexity than the average passenger vehicle. A mechanical failure can cause severe problems for the truck driver and any others who share the road with him. Tire blowouts, for example, may mean a loss of control for the truck driver, who may struggle to bring his vehicle to a safe stop in spite of the damage.

Who bears liability?

Tire blowouts usually occur for one of two reasons: over-inflation or manufacturing error. When a tire blowout occurs due to overinflating, the truck driver or the worker who over-inflated the tires may bear liability for the accident. On the other hand, when a tire blowout or other mechanical error occurs because of a problem in the manufacture or construction of that component, the company that did the manufacturing may bear liability for the accident and all associated injuries.

In the aftermath of such incidents, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of truck accident assistance and be aware of potential violations that may have contributed to the accident. Moreover, given the complexities associated with commercial truck accidents in Nevada, seeking expert guidance becomes imperative.

Did you suffer serious injuries in a truck accident? Working with an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney to determine liability can help you recover more of the compensation you deserve. Contact Gina Corena & Associates at 702-680-1111 to learn more about the compensation you deserve and who may bear liability following your truck accident.

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