Rollover Truck Accident
Are you the victim of a rollover truck accident? Was the crash, your injuries, or your property damage the result of a truck driver's negligence?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys represent car accident victims involved in semi-truck rollover accidents. Contact a Chicago truck accident lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Semi-Truck Rollover Accidents
From just one wrong turn, a truck driver can end up in the hospital or worse. In addition, truck drivers cannot accelerate and come to a stop quickly due to their size, which is why any dangerous maneuver must be carefully considered when driving these vehicles.
Negligent truck drivers who fail to consider the limitations of trucks will ultimately roll over by failing to prepare for turns properly, leading to catastrophic results - from serious injuries through death depending on where they were at during impact with terrain.
A truck rollover accident typically boils down to negligent behavior: low tire pressure resulting in instability while speeding; distracted driving like checking phone text messages before coming out of curve too fast because you didn't see approaching vehicle ahead; aggressive but dangerous behaviors such as cutting off other cars without signaling your intentions.
What Happens in Truck Rollover Accidents?
A truck rollover accident occurs when a tractor-trailer suddenly turns or changes direction. The truck's high center of gravity and heavy load causes the truck to lean and then fall in the opposite direction of the curve or the turn.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has defined a truck rollover accident as an "overturn" and as an event involving a truck making "one or more vehicle quarter turns about [the vehicle's] longitudinal axis."
Truck Accident Attorneys
The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are aggressive in their pursuit of compensation. Victims are entitled to bring legal action against the commercial trucker or truck company for their serious injuries, financial losses, and physical and emotional suffering.
If you were injured in a truck rollover accident in Chicago, Illinois, in a passenger vehicle or other car, contact our office for a free evaluation of your case and a discussion of your legal options for recovery.
Our attorneys have experience representing people from across the state in all types of large truck rollover crashes and are ready to assist you and your family.
Our team of Chicago truck accident lawyers advises plaintiffs pursuing legal action against liable parties. To discuss the particulars of your case today, give us a call or use our contact form to get in touch!
The Most Common Causes of Chicago Truck Rollover Accidents - Truck Driver Negligence
Most truck rollovers occur because the truck undergoes a maneuver that causes its weight to shift dramatically beyond what its center of gravity will accommodate.
Here are the most common reasons that trucks experience a rollover.
- The driver is speeding or traveling too fast for weather conditions. Ignoring the speed limit isn't only a factor in many truck rollover accidents as a cause but can also impact the severity of injuries suffered.
- The driver turns too quickly or swerves to avoid an object. In both cases, shifting the truck's weight too far in the maneuver can be possible and loss of control, especially when going around a curve.
- Distractions result in poor decision-making and delayed reaction time. Mobile technology is the cause of distraction for all motorists, and data has shown that most rollover accidents on the road involve one or more distracted motorists. Truck drivers are no exception, and their choice to drive with distractions can have catastrophic consequences.
- Truckers operate their trucks while fatigued. Sleepiness behind the wheel can mimic drunkenness, and drivers who have not received adequate rest may be slower to react, experience problems with vision, and make poor decisions.
- The truck is loaded improperly, or the load shifts. Therefore, trailers must be loaded evenly to reduce the chance that the driver will lose control of his load or experience a rollover event.
- Mechanical failure results in loss of control. For example, truck drivers may be unable to prevent an imminent rollover accident if they experience the sudden loss of steering or braking or if one of their tires blows out at higher speeds.
- The influence of drugs or alcohol. The choice to drive while under the influence of any substance can easily end another person's life. Even over-the-counter medications such as allergy or cold medicine can impact a driver's ability to operate machinery, so drivers need to understand how drugs affect their driving skills and choose not to drive if they are compromised.
- Steering Issues. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, one of the most common causes of truck accidents is that the driver experiences problems with the steering, from a minor alignment issue to an engine malfunction.
- Overloaded Loads. When a truck is overloaded, it puts too much stress on its tires and brakes, which may cause them to fail. Unbalanced loads may also cause a truck to become top-heavy and rollover due to the sudden shift of its center of gravity. Overloaded trucks can also lead to blown tires, which can damage other vehicles on the road or result in accidents that place other people's lives at risk.
- Catastrophic engine failure could also be another major factor in truck crashes. When it comes to the maintenance of their vehicles, many truckers fail to ensure that all repairs have been made or neglect regular service checks. A recent study found that nearly 25% of commercial trucks on the road are unsafe due to maintenance and oil changes.
- Loss of Control due to Adverse Weather. One of the most important precautions that truckers can take to prevent accidents is being aware of weather conditions when they're on the road. Truckers who drive in low visibility conditions and those driving through urban areas with lots of traffic need to be extra cautious as these factors can decrease their ability to maintain control over their vehicle.
- Illegal Lane Changes. An unsafe lane change is an accident waiting to happen for both truck drivers and the vehicles on the road with them. For example, if a truck driver decides to merge into another lane without checking their blind spots, honking their horn, or flashing their lights, they may cause other drivers to "brake check" in response and contribute to accidents.
- Lack of Restraint Use. More than half of all truck accidents involve the use or lack thereof of seatbelts, and these crashes can cause particularly severe injuries to those involved because trucks do not have airbags on board.
- Falling asleep at the wheel. Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented a 24-hour restart provision that allows drivers to work for up to 14 hours followed by 10 hours off duty, truckers are still faced with challenges when it comes to finding enough time to sleep.
Truckers who don't have access to toilets or sleeping facilities while on the road may be inclined to drive when they are too tired. Drivers who have suffered a lack of sleep or are fatigued from long work hours should never operate a motor vehicle if their ability to do so is compromised.
Trucks also have a much higher impact force than other vehicles. As a result, in many cases, a driver of a regular passenger car involved in an accident with a truck will sustain only minor injuries or none.
However, the drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles may experience catastrophic injury in truck accidents because the cargo trucks are built to withstand large amounts of force due to their weight and size. Although semi-trucks are built to be heavy-duty, they are not indestructible.
Truck Rollovers and Bad Weather Conditions
In dangerous weather conditions, the risks for rollovers increase substantially. Big truck drivers often continue traveling in rain or snow even though it is very risky.
The poor decision could cause trucking accidents on icy roads from wet tires slipping more easily, causing difficulty navigating turns, especially near steep inclines or drops.
Commercial truck drivers also can't easily see other motorists in inclement weather, so they often drive at a slower speed than usual. Slower speeds could cause big rigs on the road to come close to hitting other cars and trucks or cause them to collide with one another.
When large trucks rollover due to adverse weather conditions, they can cause severe injuries to truckers and other motorists on the road. Truck rollovers account for nearly half of all fatal truck collisions.
High winds can contribute to the risk of rollover accidents. The truck's size makes it easier for high winds to catch and unbalance them, causing a dangerous situation when their load is already unstable.
Big Rig Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles
When a commercial vehicle is involved in a crash with another vehicle, it is much more likely that the smaller passenger car will sustain damage from the collision. It is not uncommon for a passenger vehicle to be crushed into an unrecognizable state when colliding with a big rig.
In most cases, the driver of the smaller vehicle is likely to sustain severe personal injuries as well.
Passengers in the SUV or car can have serious internal or external personal injuries that include:
- Broken bones
- Fractured spines and ribs or spinal cord injuries from seatbelt failure due to the greater deceleration forces experienced
A car accident with truck injuries is usually fatal for occupants of a passenger vehicle involved in an accident with a commercial truck. The occupants of these smaller vehicles face serious injuries and may even lose their lives in a crash with a big rig.
The other passengers who are not wearing seat belts are thrown around inside of the car or tossed into oncoming traffic, making the severity of their injuries much worse compared to those who were buckled up.
Unfortunately, children without restraints seated in a car seat or booster seat could experience a life-altering traumatic brain injury requiring immediate medical attention.
The truck driver is also likely to experience serious personal injuries in the event of a collision with another vehicle, especially if they are rear-ended by a passenger car.
Although fatal truck crashes involving trucks and commercial vehicles are catastrophic involving smaller cars, there are ways to reduce the risks of being injured in a collision.
Drivers of passenger vehicles should always buckle their seat belts, especially if they are traveling with children too young to have their safety restraints. They should also ensure that their car is maintained properly and not overdue for regular maintenance or repairs.
A truck's stability and inability to roll over should be enough for other drivers on the street - but it isn't always. There have been many trucking accidents where an 18 wheeler, no matter how large its size may seem, is toppled by a small car.
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 5,120 fatalities from car accidents involving big rigs. In most cases, the vehicles involved in these collisions were passenger cars and trucks weighing less than 10,000 lbs.
Some drivers may think it's okay to tailgate a commercial vehicle. It is not. Tinted side windows prevent other drivers from seeing if the truck driver holds a cell phone or has fallen asleep.
Truckers are also required to follow specific hours of service rules, and they might be tired or inattentive behind the wheel. Drivers should never tailgate a big rig.
Additionally, if a truck driver is all over the road or you see their brake lights come on, do not attempt to pass them and return to your lane. The federal government requires truckers to slow down when a passenger car is behind them, and they may be doing so for this reason.
Truck Rollover Accidents in Chicago
Since 2001, more than 200 people have died from rollover accidents in Chicago. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 90% of these fatal crashes involved a victim who was not wearing a seatbelt.
Chicago is known to be one of the most dangerous places for driving in the country. It's no wonder, considering that accidents can happen at any time on Chicago streets due to factors such as speed and lack of signage or lights.
Obscured roadways are also a major factor in determining accident rates since pedestrians often aren't seen until they're too close for drivers' comfort levels.
Chicago boasts many different types of roads with varying degrees of safety measures like traffic signals and crosswalks; this makes navigating through those miles-long stretches between intersections difficult without risking life or limb (or car).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a rule for mandatory electronic braking systems on big trucks to save lives and prevent crashes. The braking system is estimated to have saved up to 60 people's lives annually, with 2,329 fewer crash incidents in one year alone (2015).
In 2015 when the Department of Transportation sent their proposal out about mandated electronics capacity control on truck brakes which could help reduce accidents by over two thousand per year - it was well-received but unfortunately never made into law.
Unbelievably, some people continue not to understand the severity of semi-rollover accidents. These tragic incidents still happen in Atlanta and throughout Georgia despite awareness of the problem.
People need to do everything they can now start making better decisions, so we don't see any more needless deaths or injuries from these types of crashes.
Negative Impacts of a Truck Rollover Accident in Chicago
Truck rollover accidents are a danger to other motorists and the truck drivers themselves. Unfortunately, these accidents rarely have happy endings, and those involved risk debilitating injuries or death.
The impacts of rollover events include the following.
- Multiple-collision events. Truck rollovers on the highway may impact more than one other vehicle on the road and have the potential to cause pileups due to chain reactions. In addition, motorists can find themselves involved in the accident as they veer off the road in an attempt to avoid the pileup or when their vehicle is forced into others from the massive force of impact.
- Head-on collisions and accidents involving motorists in opposing lanes. Head-on collisions are lethal— even more so when a truck is involved. When a truck rolls over, there is little that the truck driver can do to determine its trajectory, and it may careen into oncoming traffic or force other vehicles across the median in a multiple-collision accident.
- Driver injuries. The focus is often placed on the other victims of truck rollover accidents, and it is easy to forget that truck drivers may be severely injured in these types of accidents.
- Vehicles crushed beneath the weight of a rolling truck. A truck can continue rolling at high velocity and crush other vehicles in its wake until it comes to a stop. The occupants inside of this car can be killed or maimed for life with permanent injuries.
Prevention is a key factor in avoiding truck rollover accidents. Therefore, drivers should participate in simulation training exercises that allow them to experience and learn from a rollover situation without the consequences of real-life situations.
Truckers need to be educated about prevention strategies through CDL courses, including teaching how to prevent their vehicles and others' trucks by following certain rules on what type of roads they can go on or congested areas where traffic laws must be always obeyed.
One way for routes leading into hazardous conditions like steep inclines could include warning signs before reaching these locations, so drivers have time to prepare themselves mentally while driving up slopes with increased caution, an important aspect of preventing high-risk levels.
Drivers should avoid sudden movements that may lead to truck rollovers. In a sharp turn, drivers are encouraged to slow down and adjust their speed and drive accordingly in turns and on straight roadways.
The driver must always be mindful of their load when making any maneuver with the truck's cargo because it could cause an undesired effect like rolling over, which is dangerous for both passengers and pedestrians nearby.
High-risk areas like intersections have limited visibility. Reducing speed in these areas could save lives.
Otherwise, truckers could run into other vehicles turning right from your left side lane, causing you to lose control too easily if taken at unsafe speeds, especially in rural areas and where roads are narrow and winding.
Drivers must always be prepared when driving in muddy or wet conditions because this type of environment sets the stage for an easy slip-up that could lead to a truck rollover.
Truckers need to maximize their skill level by regularly getting behind the wheel and using these opportunities to hone their driving techniques and improve their skills.
Truck drivers need to be especially aware of potential risks while driving through mountain roads or areas where roads are curvy, winding, and narrow. These environments increase the chances of a rollover because it puts one's vehicle in control on the road more easily than normal conditions.
- Do not tailgate - even if you allow extra distance between you and a truck on the highway, there is still a chance of other vehicles approaching at high speeds.
- Do not pass a large vehicle without leaving enough distance between you and the truck itself.
- When making turns, reduce your speed to have more control over your vehicle when turning corners.
- It is important to maintain a consistent speed during sudden maneuvers - a truck driver should take turns slowly rather than quickly without slowing down or speeding up.
- Keep your driving under control while approaching intersections and never rush when turning right or left because this type of maneuver requires special attention.
- While driving on winding roads, keep your speed consistent and avoid sudden acceleration.
Injuries and Costs From Chicago Rollover Truck Accidents
At a national level across the United States, rollover crashes have an extraordinary negative effect on our economy, infrastructure, healthcare system, and law enforcement bodies. At an individual level, rollover truck crashes can completely change a person's life.
They may have to deal with life-altering personal injuries such as concussions, broken bones, lost limbs, scarring, or other harm. They may face massive medical bills and other expenses. Finally, they may be suffering intangible damages due to how the truck accident affected them, and that damage is as real as the ones we can see or count.
However, many truck rollover victims we speak with do not fully understand the true extent of their harms. Because of that, we encourage them - and you -to meet with a doctor and consult a legal advocate to learn about the possible relief.
Important Truck Rollovers Facts and Figures
Unfortunately, rollover semi-truck accidents are common and deadly. Below are some disturbing facts and figures.
- About one in ten trucking accidents involve truck rollovers
- Someone dies in a Chicago rollover accident involving a truck nearly half the time compared to only around twenty percent of a car rollover accident
- Rollover incidents take the lives of hundreds of truck drivers each year
- These incidents' most common physical injuries include concussion, spinal damage, torn ligaments, and lost limbs
- Frequent causes of truck rollovers include fatigue, adverse weather and road conditions, and distraction
Getting Relief and Financial Compensation After a Rollover Truck Accident in Chicago
If you are involved in a Chicago truck rollover incident, there are three primary ways to obtain financial compensation for your personal injuries and other damages.
First, you can file a claim with the insurance company using a lawyer. Typically, the insurance company could get you to admit things to remove or reduce your benefits and coverage.
Second, you can file a personal injury claim against the trucker, trucking company, and the insurance company. Your claim could be based on negligence, wrongful death, or products liability and be against the party responsible for the incident and your damages.
Third, you can negotiate a private settlement with the opposing party. If you choose this route, you will likely be prohibited from suing in the future.
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages. You should discuss them with your lawyer and consider what possible compensation would be available to you should you choose either of them.
An Experienced Truck Accident Law Firm in Chicago
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is an award-winning personal injury law firm serving the needs of Chicago's drivers. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients recover the compensation they needed to pay for their medical expenses and adjust to life after a catastrophic accident.
If you have been injured in a truck rollover accident, we can help you!
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our qualified and experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys to learn more about your rights and review your legal options with an attorney specializing in cases like your own.
If our truck accident attorneys cannot help you recoup compensation, you are guaranteed that our services will not cost you anything. In addition, all confidential or sensitive information you share with our law office remains private through an attorney-client relationship.