Large commercial trucks, especially semi-trailer trucks and tanker trucks, are prone to rollover accidents because of their high center of gravity. The weight of a large truck increases the likelihood of a truck tipping over in a curve or rolling onto its side during a collision. Understanding the dangers associated with driving by large trucks will help to decrease the likelihood you will become injured from an auto accident involving a tractor-trailer on the highways of Indiana.
How Common are Truck Accidents in Indiana?
Truck rollover accidents are uncommon, but when they do occur, they can cause extensive damage and serious injuries. When a large truck rolls over, it can hit other vehicles, injure vehicle passengers as well as pedestrians, and spill its cargo, creating a traffic hazard for other motorists.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck rollover accident in Indiana, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. If the truck rollover accident involved an overloaded truck or improperly loaded truck and you suffered injuries as a result, you may be able to seek full compensation from the trucking company and its insurer.
The Indianapolis truck accident lawyers of Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC have decades of experience representing victims of large truck crashes and their families. Legal claims in truck accident cases can be complicated in part because of multiple potentially liable parties in a truck accident and the complexity of regulations governing the trucking industry. Indiana truck accident attorney David W. Craig has successfully handled numerous commercial vehicle accident cases for clients in Indianapolis, Batesville, Richmond, Fort Wayne and throughout Indiana. Contact us for a free review of your case today.
How Do Large Trucks Roll Over?
In a rollover accident, a tractor-trailer or cargo tanker turns onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents are relatively rare in the commercial trucking industry. But trucks roll over more often than other vehicles because of their height and higher center of gravity.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 841 occupants of large trucks died in crashes in 2017. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says nearly half of large truck occupant deaths in 2017 occurred in crashes in which their vehicles rolled over. This was slightly higher than the percentage of pickup occupant deaths (41%) that occurred in rollover crashes and much higher than the percentage of occupant deaths in cars (22%) involving rollovers.
Truck rollover accidents happen in three ways:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says some 78% of rollovers involve some kind of driver error, and over 90% of the time, the rollover is not the first problem. In other words, some other dangerous events occurred before the rollover accident.
For example, FMSCA says, the initial event might be an inattentive cargo tank driver drifting onto a soft shoulder, riding up over a curb, or incorrectly making a turn at an intersection. Cargo tanker drivers who transport hazardous cargo are required to have additional driver training and certification to handle these vehicles.
Driver fatigue and inattention contribute to 1 in 5 cargo tank rollovers, with running off the road due to inattention is the leading cause of serious crashes.
Tanker truck trailers were much more likely to roll over than van trailers, the FMCSA says.
Vehicle condition plays a role in some rollovers. In one study, 54% of vehicles in rollovers had a brake defect of some sort. Load size is also a factor in some rollovers. Some 63% of rollover crashes occurred with cargo tanks carrying partial loads. The truck driver must understand the slosh and surge effect of liquid loads. A sloshing load in a tanker truck rounding a curve too fast can cause it to overturn.
Further, spills of hazardous materials in truck rollover accidents can cause environmental and real property damage in addition to personal injuries.
Truck Rollover Accidents in Indiana
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute says there were 1,487 traffic collisions involving large trucks in Indiana in 2017, including 125 fatal collisions.
A project by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) mapped locations with the highest frequency of large truck rollovers using more than 50,000 crash records from a nine-year period.
In Indiana, it identified 600 truck rollovers over the period and said the top 10 Indiana locations for truck rollover accidents were:
What to Do After a Truck Rollover Accident
When a serious truck accident, like a rollover accident with injuries, occurs, the trucking company that owns the vehicle will scramble to protect its assets. Representatives of the trucking company will do everything possible to minimize the chances that anyone injured in the accident will recover compensation.
Sometimes, a trucking company will offer injury victims quick, lowball settlements that limit their right to seek additional compensation.
If you have been injured because of a truck rollover, contact an experienced Indianapolis rollover truck accident lawyer as soon as you are able. Do not deal with trucking company representatives, including their insurers, on your own. Never sign anything after suffering a serious injury in an accident unless an attorney working for you has advised you to do so.
Call Craig, Kelley, & Faultless for a Free Consultation
During a free consultation, a staff member at Craig, Kelley & Faultless can review the details of your accident and explain your legal options. If we believe that you have a valid truck accident claim, Craig, Kelley & Faultless will offer to represent you and handle the case on a contingency fee basis so you have no out-of-pocket costs.
Truckers and trucking companies are required to keep numerous records regarding truck operations and maintenance, including cargo loads, daily inspections of trucks and cargo, routes traveled, and travel times. This information may reveal that the driver had been on the road too long without a rest break or the truck had not been properly serviced.
We can move to obtain the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), which should provide a record of truck speed, braking, steering angle, sudden deceleration/acceleration, and much more from the moments just before the impact of the collision.
This data and other evidence may tell us exactly what happened prior to the rollover crash. In some cases, our rollover truck accident attorneys work with recognized accident reconstruction experts who can examine the evidence to determine how the accident occurred and produce a detailed report and testify in court, if necessary.
Act Promptly After a Truck Rollover Injury
If we find evidence that the truck driver’s and/or trucking company’s negligence contributed to the accident, we will seek to recover compensation for you. The sooner we start our accident investigation, the more likely we are to find evidence before it is lost. The longer you wait to contact a rollover truck accident attorney, the more difficult it becomes to find witnesses and preserve evidence to support your injury claim.
Trucking companies are only required to keep maintenance records and driver logs for a certain amount of time, and potentially important evidence could be lost if you wait too long to hire an attorney. Once you engage us to represent you, we can promptly send a letter to request that the trucking company preserve all evidence relevant to your case. Once we issue a spoliation letter, a defendant has a difficult time explaining why evidence identified as important to your claim is not available.
Contact Our Indiana Truck Rollover Accident Attorneys Today
Contact Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC as soon as you are able after being injured by a commercial truck’s rollover accident. Our truck accident attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to determine how a truck accident happened and who should be held accountable for your losses.
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident in Indiana, contact Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC today. We aggressively pursue truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we only get paid when we win money for you. Contact us now by telephone or online for a free initial consultation. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to see you.