McAllen 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
An 18 wheeler is a combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers with two front steering wheels on the tractor and dual wheels on each end of two axles at the rear of the tractor and the rear of the trailer. Vehicles of this size have enormous potential to cause debilitating injuries for all people who are involved in collisions with 18 wheelers, so any victim is going to want to quickly find a McAllen 18 wheeler accident lawyer for assistance navigating what can quickly become a very complicated legal process.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported that there were 168 trucks involved in fatal collisions in 2021 and 536 truck-tractors or semi-trailers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also found that the 510,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2019 involved 4,479 fatal crashes and 114,000 injury crashes.
Types of 18 Wheeler Accidents
An 18 wheeler accident could fall into one of several different categories of crashes. Some of the most frequent 18 wheeler accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Rollover Accidents — A National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study stated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study described 239 crashes in which trucks rolled over. Analysis showed that almost half were the result of an 18 wheeler driver failing to adjust speed to curves in the road, the loads they are carrying, the conditions of brakes, road surfaces, and intersection conditions. Another major crash contributor was attention, with 18 wheeler drivers simply being inattentive, dozing off or falling asleep, or simple distraction all causing situations in which a sudden direction change caused a rollover. Another crash contributor was steering as over-steering to the point of rolling over, not steering enough to stay in a lane, or overcorrecting to the point of having to counter-steer to remain on the road all caused rollovers. Loads were also identified as being a common problem if 18 wheeler drivers did not take account of their weight, height, or security.
- Jackknife Accidents — The term jackknife refers to an 18 wheeler accident in which a truck that has two separate parts, a cab and a trailer, folds in on itself at its point of separation. The cab and trailer will swivel at the point they are linked together, which forms a 90-degree angle and resembles the effect of a pocket knife blade folding into its handle. Jackknife accidents can stem from a variety of causes, including dangerous weather conditions, a loss of traction following a skid, 18 wheeler drivers traveling over the posted speed limit or other forms of reckless driving, improper braking possible due to faulty brakes, fatigued 18 wheeler drivers, distracted driving such as texting on cell phones or making phone calls, or possibly faulty road conditions.
- Override Accidents — Override accidents involve 18 wheeler drivers not being able to stop and running over smaller passenger vehicles in front of them. The simple size difference between an 18 wheeler and a passenger vehicle means that an 18 wheeler will simply ride over the vehicles in front of them. Events commonly causing override accidents may include 18 wheeler drivers following other vehicles too closely, low visibility because of inclement weather conditions, 18 wheeler drivers failing to yield to traffic with the right of way, 18 wheeler drivers speeding and not being able to stop, 18 wheeler drivers changing lanes without checking for surrounding traffic or signaling, drivers of passenger vehicles stopping suddenly, brake failure on 18 wheelers, 18 wheeler tire blowouts, or other mechanical issues.
- Underride Accident — Underride accidents involve passenger vehicles going under 18 wheeler trailers. While most insurance companies for 18 wheelers will claim these accidents were the result of passenger vehicle drivers following 18 wheelers too closely, such accidents can also be because trailers were difficult to see because of poor visibility or other issues. 18 wheeler driver negligence that may cause underride crashes can include an 18 wheeler not having brake lights or tail lights, an 18 wheeler not having required reflective tape on the trailer, an 18 wheeler not having required underride guards, an 18 wheeler changing lanes without signaling, an 18 wheeler parking on the shoulder of the road without the proper lights, or an 18 wheeler backing up without checking for other vehicles.
- Wide Turn Accidents — Wide 18 wheeler turns occur when 18 wheelers have to occupy additional lanes of traffic to complete turns. 18 wheelers making wide turns can start from different positions so 18 wheelers turning right may have to swing into a lane of traffic left of the right turn lane to avoid driving into lanes with opposing traffic. 18 wheelers making wide turns could have to move into a lane of traffic left of their intended lane. 18 wheelers drivers often want to avoid this on a two-lane road because of oncoming traffic, but on four-lane roads, the lane could be clear of traffic. Wide turns are not an 18 wheeler driver’s preference because 18 wheelers have a high center of gravity that increases the risk of a rollover accident. When an 18 wheeler attempts to make a right turn within too small of a radius, the 18 wheeler driver will significantly increase their risk of tipping over.
- Blind Spot Accidents — FMCSA states that 18 wheelers have huge blind spots it refers to as No Zones around the front, back and sides of their vehicles. The large blind spot behind an 18 wheeler is usually demonstrated through stickers telling motorists that 18 wheeler drivers cannot see them if they cannot see the 18 wheeler’s side mirrors. The blind spot behind a trailer is usually about 30 feet. There is another blind spot directly in front of an 18 wheeler that extends at least 20 feet in front of the truck. Beginning at an 18 wheeler’s side mirrors and continuing down each side of the 18 wheeler, an 18 wheeler driver will not be able to see vehicles driving beside the 18 wheeler. On the 18 wheeler driver’s or left side of the 18 wheeler, a blind spot can extend outward for one lane, almost three-quarters of the way to the back of the trailer. The blind spot on the right side extends almost two lanes.
- Head-On Collisions — A head-on collision typically involves an 18 wheeler and another vehicle colliding while they are traveling in opposite directions. The accidents are most common when 18 wheelers leave their lanes and drift into oncoming traffic. There is a higher likelihood of fatal injuries in a head-on collision.
- Rear-End Collisions — When a passenger vehicle is rear-ended by an 18 wheeler, the damage is likely to be far more significant than being rear-ended by another passenger vehicle. In most cases, the size of an 18 wheeler will mean that a passenger vehicle is forced forward and strikes another vehicle in front of it, causing a chain reaction crash. In many cases, rear-end collisions are the result of an 18 wheeler driver not using adequate braking time.
- Side Impact or T-Bone Collisions — 18 wheelers may cause side impact or T-bone collisions most commonly at intersections when they fail to stop at stop lights or stop signs. Possible causes of these accidents can include basic failure to yield the right of way, inclement weather, possible braking issues on the 18 wheeler, other poor maintenance issues, and possibly a lack of proper signage or blind intersections.
- Intersection Accidents — Many other 18 wheeler accidents are common at intersections, including crashes caused by illegal maneuvers or right-of-way violations, 18 wheeler driver inattention, blocking of traffic or squeezes in which 18 wheelers obstruct vehicles around them and a squeeze increases the risk of crashing, and misjudgments of gaps or speed.
- Sideswipe Accidents — A sideswipe 18 wheeler accident occurs when the side of a vehicle collides with the side of an 18 wheeler. The collisions are known as glancing blows that often occur during lane changes and merges, although they can also happen when 18 wheelers sideswipe vehicles approaching from opposite directions. 18 wheelers have a much higher risk of being involved in sideswipe accidents because of their significant blind spots.
- Work Zone or Highway Construction Crashes — The Federal Highway Administration reported that commercial vehicles were involved in 208 work zone crashes in 2020, or 27 percent of accidents just one year after commercial vehicles accounted for about one-third of such accidents. In many cases, 18 wheelers are at fault for these crashes because 18 wheeler drivers fail to reduce their speeds.
- Lane Change or Merging Accidents — Again keeping in mind the blind spots on 18 wheelers, changing lanes can be especially perilous. Many 18 wheelers that do not fully account for the presence of other motor vehicles can cause collisions when they change lanes or try to merge with traffic on Interstate highways.
- Left or Right Turn Accidents — Left turns are dangerous for all kinds of drivers because any motorist attempting to turn left needs to make sure that oncoming traffic is allowing for enough room to perform a left turn successfully. While right turns are not as inherently hazardous, they can be dangerous for 18 wheelers because of the space required to perform a right turn.
- Multiple-Vehicle Accidents — It is far from uncommon for an 18 wheeler crash to involve more than one other vehicle. Victims in these crashes need to be sure to get the information of all drivers involved in such wrecks because it may be possible that another driver was actually at fault for causing the entire collision.
- Brake Failure Accidents — The FMCSA Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that among associated factors assigned in large truck crashes, brake problems were the most common issue, affecting 41,000 or 29 percent of 18 wheelers, ahead of traveling too fast for conditions, being unfamiliar with a roadway, roadway problems, over-the-counter drug use, fatigue, illegal maneuvers, inattention, distractions, tire problems, following too closely, illegal drugs, and alcohol.
- Lost Cargo Accidents — Issues with freight on 18 wheelers can arise when loading companies secure cargo with broken tiedowns, cargo shifts while driving, 18 wheelers are overloaded, loading companies use other improper or poor techniques, and possibly 18 wheeler driver error in some cases.
- Tire Blowout Accidents — 18 wheelers have 18 tires, and any one blowing out can lead to a loss of control for an 18 wheeler driver that causes a devastating crash. There can ultimately be many parties that are liable for these types of accidents besides drivers themselves, as trucking companies, manufacturers, or maintenance companies could also be responsible.
- Hazardous Material Spills — 18 wheelers carrying tankers may also be carrying certain solids, liquids, or gasses that have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries through the release of the materials in the event of a crash. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has the authority to regulate transportation of hazardous materials under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA).
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a McAllen 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
Have you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in an 18 wheeler accident in McAllen a surrounding area of Texas? You will want to have The Patel Firm on your side for help recovering all of the financial compensation that is available to you.
Our firm not only serves McAllen, but has offices in Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, and Central Texas. Call us at (956) 527-0321 or contact us online to set up a free consultation that will let us take the time to really go over all of the details of your case and help you understand what kinds of relief we might be able to offer.