When a commercial truck and a passenger car collide, the results are often devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Victims of trucking crashes in San Antonio may be facing a variety of life-changing circumstances for which they were unprepared. If you’ve sustained injuries in a truck crash, it’s important to gather evidence of the accident scene and speak with a San Antonio truck crash attorney to understand your legal options.
Different Types of Truck Accidents in San Antonio, Texas
Commercial 18-wheelers are a common sight on our Texas highways. Although these behemoths are essential to our society’s survival, they pose a high risk to those who share the road with them. Tractor-trailers are estimated to be involved in over 100,000 motor vehicle accidents that result in injury each year in the United States. These accidents are liable to cause some of the greatest devastations that Texas highways have ever seen. A few different types of truck accidents that we see in Texas are:
- Rollover accidents: When truck drivers lose control of their vehicles, the consequences can be devastating. When a truck can roll over, both the truck and its cargo become a hazard to everyone on the road. The most common cause of truck rollover accidents is truck drivers failing to adjust their speed to curves in a road (most frequently on the highway on- and off-ramps).
- Head-on truck accidents: Although head-on accidents involving commercial trucks are rare, they often result in fatal injuries when they do happen. Head-on collisions with trucks often occur when the truck driver loses control of their vehicle, causing it to swerve into oncoming traffic. The demanding schedules, long hours, and susceptibility to highway hypnosis make truckers highly prone to dozing off while driving–which can lead to a head-on collision.
- Rear-end crashes: Commercial 18-wheelers require much more space to come to a complete stop than passenger cars. Even in perfect conditions, it takes a typical, fully loaded semi-truck 525 feet (almost two football fields in length) to make a complete stop from a speed of 65 miles per hour. Under the same conditions, the average vehicle would only take 316 feet to come to a complete stop. This is why collisions, where the front of a truck hits the rear of a car in a rear-end accident, are so common.
- Jackknife accidents: “Jackknifing” is when a tractor-trailer brakes too quickly, causing the trailer to skid and the cab and trailer to fold into a 90-degree angle. This type of accident gets its name from a pocketknife that the truck comes to resemble.
- Tire blowout accidents: We are all familiar with passing by remnants of tires deserted on our highways, but did you know these shards of rubber may have caused a fatal crash? Tire blowouts can happen to any driver, but with 18 tires to worry about, semi-trucks are especially vulnerable to tire blowout accidents. A tire blowout occurs when a tire suddenly bursts, leaving truckers susceptible to losing control of their vehicle. Tire blowouts often happen when a vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed, which intensifies the situation and can result in catastrophic consequences.
- Blind spot crashes: Commercial motor vehicles have large blind spots on all four sides, so fellow drivers need to take extra care when passing (or being passed by) large trucks. If a driver hangs out in a truck’s blind spot, they can render themselves invisible to the truck driver and leave themselves vulnerable to an accident. When sharing the road with big rigs, always remember that if you can’t see the truck driver, then they can’t see you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has visuals of where these blind spots are and tips on how you can stay safe when passing large trucks and buses.
- Underride accidents: When a smaller vehicle crashes into the rear or side of a large truck, and the smaller vehicle gets stuck underneath the truck’s trailer, it is known as an underride accident. Underride accidents are one of the deadliest types of truck accidents. In fact, a 2008-2009 report stated that 70% of the 934 fatalities in truck crashes where a vehicle struck the rear of a truck involved some underride.
- Runaway trailer crashes: If a truck’s trailer is improperly secured, was loaded off-balance, or if the speed of the trailer does not match the speed of the truck, the trailer is liable to loosen and detach itself from the truck. Runaway trailers are extremely dangerous to nearby motorists because they will collide with anything in their path, and there’s really no way to stop them.
Semi-trucks are not the only trucks that are hazardous to our roadways. Garbage, trash, and other work trucks such as dump trucks can put other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians at risk. These vehicles are common on residential streets where they carry loads of waste, soil, demolition debris, gravel, and other construction materials. The loads on these trucks are often top-heavy and are liable to tip over or lose debris.
What Steps Should You Take After a San Antonio Truck Accident?
Commercial 18-wheelers present many dangers to other motorists. Their large size and heavyweight loads make them difficult to stop in an emergency and create dangerous blind spots. This combination, along with some truck drivers and employers who do not take safety rules seriously, can result in collisions that leave drivers and passengers with devastating injuries that have the potential to alter their entire lives.
After experiencing a truck accident, you can better protect yourself and your interests by taking these steps:
- Seek medical attention. Your health should always come first. Even if you do not feel injured, it is always best to get checked out by a medical professional for any internal injuries that could start showing symptoms later, leaving you writhing in pain days or weeks after a crash.
- File a police report. Call the police so that you can obtain official documentation of the accident. This report will be beneficial later when you file a claim.
- Collect contact information. Try to jot down information from as many people on the scene as possible. Names, phone numbers, and addresses of witnesses, drivers involved, and any first responders may be helpful. Don’t forget to collect badge numbers from the responding officers as well.
- Photograph damages. Take photos and videos of your damages, injuries, vehicles involved, and the surrounding area. Try to document as much of the scene and the incident as you can. If you have a dashboard camera, make sure to save any clips that relate to the crash. Valuable evidence could find its way into the garbage, so do not wait until clean-up crews arrive before recording or photographing the scene.
- Report the incident to your insurance agency. Let your insurance provider know that you were involved in a truck accident. Do not speak with the other party’s insurance company and avoid going into any details about fault with anyone until you have spoken with one of our seasoned attorneys about your case.
- Contact Amaro Law Firm. Truck accident cases are complicated and have high stakes. You’ll need a skilled personal injury lawyer from our team in your corner.
- Keep all records. Documentation of anything related to the accident should not be thrown away. Any medical treatment bills, copies of reports, paychecks showing lost wages, receipts for repairs, and any other costs related to the accident should be saved.