Rollover Accidents

HutzlerLaw July 27, 2022

Truck rollover accidents that involve passenger vehicles are often deadly because of trucks’ size and weight. Even an empty box trailer is heavy enough to crush a passenger vehicle. A tractor-trailer truck may roll over for many reasons, including the actions of another driver, weather, or truck driver error. When traveling with trucks on the road, keep your eye on them—avoid trucks when the weather is windy or if the driver struggles with staying in their lane or is driving erratically.

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Why Big Rigs Are More Apt to Rollover

Big rigs have a high center of gravity, meaning they roll over easier than other vehicles. They also carry heavy loads. Because box trailers are tall, they are more apt to roll over, especially if loaded improperly for weight distribution to prevent shifting.

Even flatbed trailers can cause a rollover if they are carrying a tall piece of equipment. The taller the load, the higher the center of gravity, which means the load can tip easier.

These factors could cause rollovers:

  • Long or sharp corners, such as those on exit ramps.
  • Turning too quickly.
  • Losing control of the truck.
  • Trailer sway.
  • Improperly secured loads.
  • Improperly balanced loads.
  • Aggressive driving.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Low tire pressure.
  • Bad brakes and poor maintenance on the truck or trailer.

Additionally, another vehicle can cause a truck to lose control and roll over by cutting the truck off when merging.

Rollover Truck Accident Injuries

Because of the size of a tractor-trailer, vehicles involved in accidents often sustain severe or catastrophic injuries or death.

Depending on how the truck hits you, you could walk away with anything from minor to major injuries, including:

  • Bumps, bruises, scratches, cuts, and scrapes.
  • Strains and sprains.
  • Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Face and eye injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Ear injuries, including deafness, such as in the case of an explosion.
  • Simple and compound fractures.
  • Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
  • Internal injuries.
  • Road rash.
  • Thermal and chemical burns.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries.

You could also sustain secondary injuries, such as infection of open wounds, whether in the accident or because of surgery to accident injuries. Accident injuries could also exacerbate existing illnesses and injuries. The at-fault driver is responsible for the medical expenses and pain and suffering caused by secondary injuries you would not have had but for the at-fault driver’s negligence.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

In many cases, an accident victim cannot do anything after an accident. A loved one might have to contact a truck accident attorney for you. However, if you can move without causing additional injury to yourself, document the accident.

Documentation is the most important part of recovering damages after an accident. When you retain an attorney to investigate the case and represent you, they can collect evidence that could disappear. People get their vehicles repaired. If impounded, the police search the vehicle and put it out in the weather in an impound lot. Weather and other vehicles destroy what is left of the evidence at the accident scene after the police clean it up. And, in some cases, people purposely destroy evidence.

After a rollover accident with a truck, take the following steps, if possible:

  • Check on other drivers and call first responders.
  • Take photos of the accident scene from all angles. Take pictures of any damage to the road or nearby property, including fences, trees, lawns, and mailboxes.
  • Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, allow it, as this is the first step in documenting injuries that might not present immediately but manifest later.
  • Obtain the truck driver’s license, CDL, insurance, and registration information. If other vehicles were involved in the accident, obtain the same information from other drivers.
  • Obtain witness names and contact information. Include those who were passengers in other vehicles involved in the wreck.
  • Do not post about the accident on social media. Do not post on social media at all after the accident. Insurance adjusters troll social media accounts. They’ll turn an innocent dinner out with your spouse into a reason to deny your claim.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as the police release you from the scene.
  • Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner they can start investigating your case and gathering evidence to help in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, for a trial.
  • Do not give the insurance company any information other than your name and contact information, the date and location of the wreck, and your attorney’s contact information. One of the insurance company’s tricks is to twist what you say to try and deny your claim or offer you a pittance.
  • Contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. If your spouse is in the hospital and cannot contact us because of their injuries, you can contact a law firm on your spouse’s behalf.

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer

After a truck rollover accident, you should always contact a truck accident attorney. Even if the insurance company can’t prove you had anything to do with the accident, it will offer you the least amount possible.

Here’s why you need a truck accident lawyer:

  • Insurance companies are in business to make money. Thus, any claim they pay out cuts into their profits. Even if you have catastrophic injuries, the insurance company will try to pay as little as possible. That amount is often not enough to cover medical expenses, never mind additional damages you could recover.
  • Your case might involve more than one defendant. Sometimes, the truck driver is not the only one at fault—the trucking company, a truck technician, inspector, dispatcher, road maintenance crew, and others may also be liable.
  • If you have to go to court because the insurance company doesn’t come back with a fair and reasonable settlement, you will know that you have done all you can to settle, and the attorney has the information to file a court case immediately.
  • You can concentrate on recovering or taking care of end-of-life items instead of arguing with an insurance company.
  • Sometimes, more than one defendant shares liability for your injuries and losses. A truck accident lawyer investigates the accident to determine whether those other than the driver, including the trucking company, truck or trailer manufacturer, loader, dispatcher, municipality, another driver, or truck technician, share in the liability for accident injuries.
  • A truck accident lawyer discusses the accident and your injuries with experts in their fields, including accident reconstructionists and medical professionals, to aid in obtaining the compensation you deserve, including future loss of earning capacity and future medical expenses.

Additionally, you have limited time to file a claim and take legal action against the at-fault driver and, if applicable, the trucking company or others who might share responsibility for your injuries. The statute of limitations for injury accidents, including those that cause the death of a loved one, is two years.

While two years might seem as though it is a long time, it is not really. You need time for an investigation, evidence gathering, depositions, interviews with experts, and more. Additionally, insurance companies rarely give you that long to file a claim with them.

Instead of worrying about due dates, recovering enough money in a settlement negotiation, or preparing for trial if your case doesn’t settle, a truck accident attorney can take on all that worry—and ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines.

Recovering Damages After a Truck Accident

After a truck rollover accident, you can recover compensatory damages in the form of economic and non-economic damages. The law provides for compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again.

Economic Damages

Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Most accident victims recover economic damages.

Special damages, or economic damages, include:

Medical Expenses

One of the biggest parts of compensation you recover would be medical expenses, especially if your accident injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities.

Medical expenses include:

  • Doctor’s appointments.
  • Surgeries and follow-up appointments.
  • Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications.
  • Ambulatory aids, including wheelchairs, walkers, and canes.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Psychological therapy.
  • Cognitive therapy.
  • Hand controls for a vehicle.
  • Wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, grab bars, handrails, and other access aids for your home and vehicles.
  • Shower chairs and other medical equipment.

Income

You could recover lost wages from the time of the accident through the time you go back to work. If your injuries prevent you from working for the rest of your life, you could recover compensation comparable to your salary until retirement. If you lose a loved one in a truck rollover accident, you could recover your loved one’s salary through retirement.

Personal Property

After an accident, you can recover compensation to repair or replace any personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident. Personal property of value includes your vehicle, computers, cell phones, and even clothing in your vehicle. For example, if you just picked up a tux and several shirts and blouses from the dry cleaners, had your computer, cell phone, and a gift for your friend’s wedding, the compensation could cover all those items, in addition to your vehicle.

Death-Related Expenses

Suppose you lost a loved one because of a truck rollover accident. In that case, you can recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, certain probate court expenses, and a probate attorney.

Non-Economic Damages

Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages do not have a set monetary value. Not everyone who suffered accident injuries collects non-economic damages. Generally, your injuries must cause long-term or permanent disabilities, or you must have lost a loved one in the accident.

Long-term or permanent disabilities are usually those that last longer than a year or those that doctors expect to result in death.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
  • Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes, such as using ambulatory aids or taking prescriptions for the rest of your life.
  • Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family or attend family activities and events.
  • Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
  • Loss of use of a body part, such as a hand or leg.
  • Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your eyesight, hearing, or bladder.
  • Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you normally do, such as lawn maintenance, grocery shopping, home repair and maintenance, and house cleaning.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.
  • Excessive scarring or disfigurement.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a truck rollover accident, contact a truck accident lawyer near you for a free case evaluation. Let a legal team fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your losses.