Bradshaw Law, LLC
Bradshaw Law, LLC

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Elko, Nevada

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Elko, Nevada

Whether they are collisions with commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, or fixed objects, common causes of truck accidents are driver fatigue, speeding, driver intoxication, and negligence on the part of the trucking company or maintenance crew. Truck accidents can have devastating consequences due to the vehicle’s massive size and weight. Victims of these accidents often suffer from severe injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident due to another person’s negligent driving, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses. An experienced Elko truck accident lawyer can help you determine the cause of the truck accident, identify all liable parties, and pursue maximum compensation.

Types of Truck Accidents in Nevada

When an accident involves a large commercial truck, there’s a high likelihood that the truck caused the accident. Just how bad are truck accidents? The sheer size and weight of a commercial truck against a smaller passenger vehicle is bound to make cause devastating damage and injuries.

Some of the most common types of truck accidents that occur in Elko, Nevada include:

Head-on Collision

These are the most dangerous types of truck accidents because the impact of a collision is greater compared to other accidents. Head-on collisions typically occur when a truck travels in the wrong direction down a one-way street, when the driver fails to yield to opposing traffic, or when the truck swerves over the center line into the oncoming traffic.

Jackknife Accident

A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of an 18-wheeler swings out of line from the cab. This motion causes the trailer and cab to fold together at an angle, like the blade of a pocket knife. Jackknifing typically occurs when the driver brakes the truck too hard, a truck turns around a tight bend, or a truck loses traction on a slippery road surface.

A jackknife truck accident can be devastating because the trailer could sweep across multiple lanes. Vehicles could also get pinned or crashed between the cab and the trailer.

Cargo Spills or Shifts

Nevada trucking companies and truck drivers must ensure that cargo loads are well-balanced and secured. An unbalanced cargo or one that moves around in the trailer in transit can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, particularly when traveling downhill, uphill, or turning corners.

Side-Swipe Accident

This type of truck accident involves a truck colliding with the side of another automobile. Side impact accidents usually occur when a truck driver changes lanes without checking his or her mirrors and blind spots or signaling. They can also occur if a trucker drifts out of his or her lane due to distracted driving, drowsy driving, or drunk driving. People sideswiped by trucks often sustain severe chest and head injuries because there’s less metal on the sides to protect them from the force of the impact.

T-Bone Accident

This type of truck accident involves the front of a truck ramming the side of another vehicle or another vehicle running into the side of a truck. T-bone accidents often occur in intersections when the trucker runs a red light or stop sign or fails to yield to traffic while making a left turn.

Rear-End Accident

A rear-end accident happens when the front of a truck rams the rear of another automobile. Rear-end accidents may occur when a trucker is following another vehicle too closely or when another vehicle moves into the truck’s front blind spot. Distracted truck drivers may fail to notice the forward vehicle brake or slowing traffic ahead.

Under Ride Accident

An under ride accident occurs when a passenger vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a truck. These types of accidents mostly occur when a vehicle rear-ends the back of the trailer or when a truck attempts to change lanes when there’s oncoming traffic. An under ride accident can prove deadly for individuals in lower-riding passenger vehicles, which can get stuck underneath the trailer of a truck.

Wide Turns

Truck drivers must swing widely in narrow intersections to complete a right turn without clipping the curb. However, motorists in the adjacent left lane may be caught by surprise because they may not expect the truck to suddenly veer into their lane. Motorists in opposing lanes may not expect to see the truck’s cab directly in front of them. Wide turn accidents occur when drivers fail to make sure their path is clear of traffic before turning.

Rollover Accident

Rollover accidents happen when a truck tips over onto its side. These accidents may be caused by unsecured or unbalanced cargo loads, brake failures, tire failures, or unsafe maneuvers.

Why Do Truck Accidents Occur?

Truck accidents are often caused by truck drivers’ irresponsible behavior and trucking companies’ negligence. The most common causes of truck accidents in Elko include:

Distracted Driving

Truck driving can be monotonous work as drivers spend long hours on the road. Drivers often try to multitask while driving, making it easy to succumb to dangerous distractions such as eating and drinking, interacting with screens, talking to passengers, or using their cellphone.

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy or fatigued driving is a major concern for the trucking industry. Even with numerous regulations mandating regular rest time for truckers, many routinely fail to get quality sleep, which endangers everyone on the road.

Fatigued truck drivers are impaired in a manner that mimics drunkenness. They struggle with poor motor control, bad decision-making, limited attention span, and trouble judging speed and distance. These deficits can easily result in a deadly truck collision.

Driver Impairment

The use of alcohol and illegal drugs is a real issue among truck drivers. Long hours, relatively poor health, and isolation can easily force a trucker to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to stay awake during long hours on the road. Intoxication can interfere with a driver’s abilities and increase the risk of a catastrophic truck accident.

Inexperienced Drivers

Driving a semi-truck or another large commercial vehicle is a skill gained through experience. Many inexperienced and teen drivers get into serious accidents every year because they lack the maturity and experience needed to operate large vehicles. When a trucker is unfit to drive, he or she is not likely to recognize dangerous situations. He or she is also more likely to engage in distracted driving, drowsy driving, and aggressive driving.

Speeding

Speeding substantially increases the odds of a deadly collision because it makes it difficult for a driver to control the truck. The speeding driver has longer stopping distances and shorter reaction time if he or she recognizes a hazard. Speeding is a leading cause of traffic accidents in Nevada and accounts for a third of traffic fatalities.

Failure to Yield

Failure to yield is a common cause of intersection accidents in Elko. It occurs when a truck driver fails to slow down or stop to allow a driver with the right of way to proceed. Truckers fail to yield because they are inattentive, distracted, or impaired, or because they miscalculate how quickly another vehicle will make a turn or get through an intersection.

Adverse Weather

Failure by a truck driver to slow down adequately for icy conditions, rain, fog, sandstorms, or other extreme weather can result in serious accidents.

Mechanical Issues

If a semi-truck’s parts are defective, a driver can easily lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident. Failing to properly maintain a commercial truck is the most common cause of equipment failure, even though truck companies are required to perform pre-trip inspections and regular maintenance. Mechanical failure can also be caused by manufacturing mistakes.

Common types of mechanical problems that lead to truck accidents include:

  • Brake failure
  • Steering problems
  • Worn or defective tires
  •  Faulty trailer attachments
  •  Malfunctioning rear or side lighting

Improper Loading

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outlines proper loading and load securement regulations. Unfortunately, truckers and trucking companies do not always follow these rules. When they act negligently, unstable or overweight trucks and shifting loads can lead to roadway damage, equipment failure, and accidents.

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in Nevada?

Establishing liability in truck accident cases is usually complicated. There might be multiple parties involved beyond the driver. However, determining the liable party is key to filing a successful truck accident claim. A Nevada truck accident lawyer can help you identify the liable parties in truck accident cases. These can include:

Truck Driver or Trucking Company

Truck drivers have a duty to protect the safety of the public. If they breach that duty because they were distracted, speeding, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they could be found to be legally liable for the accident. In many cases, however, trucking companies are held responsible if the driver was acting within his or her scope of employment.

The trucking company can also be held liable for an accident if it can be proven that they failed to maintain their fleets, hire qualified drivers, and ensure their workers comply with FMCSA regulations.

Truck Maintenance Company

The truck maintenance contractor could be held responsible for a truck crash if they’re found to have been negligent in their work. Liability could come in to play if they failed to inspect the truck properly or identify a defect that should have been reasonably noticed.

The Cargo Owner or Loader

If the cargo loader fails to adequately inspect the cargo and make sure that it is well loaded, he or she could be held liable for property damage, injuries, and other losses incurred when the cargo causes an accident.

Truck Manufacturer

In some cases, truck accidents are caused by a defect in the design or manufacture of a truck or its components. The truck manufacturer could be liable if a defective part of the truck caused the truck crash. If the trucking company was aware of the defect but chose to ignore it, they can be liable as well.