All trucking accidents have the potential to cause serious personal injury as well as fatalities. Due to the force and size of trucks, any truck accident can cause burn injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and other serious harm. Collisions between passenger vehicles and trucks tend to be especially deadly. While all truck accidents can be deadly, however, there are important differences in the characteristics of every type of collision:
1) Underride and override accidents. Underride truck accidents occur when a truck is forced to brake suddenly, and this causes the car following the truck to slide under the truck. Often, part of the car is sheared off and death as well as serious head injuries are the frequent result. Override accidents are caused when a car or vehicle in front of a truck stops or slows down suddenly, not giving the truck enough time to slow down and stop. When this happens, the truck often rolls over the vehicle, often crushing the vehicle and killing the passengers.
2) Air brake malfunction. Most trucks have air brakes, which allow trucks to stop within 100 feet when traveling at 35-40 mph. Air brake defects as well as excessive loads and the pressure generated by going downhill can cause truck air brakes to fail, which can cause trucks to rear-end vehicles in front of them.
3) Head on crashes. In these accidents, the front of a truck collides with the front of an oncoming vehicle. In many cases, these occur when one vehicle is in the wrong lane. In many cases, head on collisions involving trucks result in fatalities or in serious brain injury or spinal cord injury. Where high speeds are involved, most head on crashes are fatal, due to the extreme force of the collision.
4) Jackknife accidents. These accidents occur when a truck hits the side of a vehicle. Often, these occur when a truck loses control or when there is a brake problem during a curve or turn.
5) Rear end accidents. These accidents occur when a truck collides with the vehicle in front of the truck. Sometimes, these accidents are caused when a truck follows another vehicle too closely. They also often occur when the driver of a passenger vehicle cuts off a truck or brakes or slows down suddenly in front of a truck. Trucks take longer to brake, so such driving is dangerous and often leads to a rear end accident. In some cases, truck brake failure can also lead to these accidents. Rear end accidents often result in head injury, back injury, or whiplash.
6) Rollovers. Rollovers often occur because trucks tend to be top heavy, making them more likely to rollover in an accident. Excessive loads, incorrect loading, and speed are often contributors to rollover accidents. In many cases, these accidents occur on turns or curves.