Causes of Truck Accidents

May 22, 2024 | Big Truck Accidents, Blog

The causes of truck accidents extend far beyond driver error. While this may be the most common cause, many other factors may contribute to these devastating collisions.

Understanding these causes may not help you stay safe on the road, but it could help protect your rights and seek fair compensation with the help of a truck accident attorney.


Common Truck Accident Causes

Driver Fatigue

One of the most common causes of big truck accidents is driver fatigue. Truckers are under intense pressure to meet tight deadlines and may drive for long periods without proper rest breaks. This can lead to drowsy driving, which impairs judgment and reaction time.

Impaired Driving

Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to alcohol and drug consumption. However, impaired driving can still occur due to prescription medication use or illicit substances. Intoxicated driving is a serious crime in every state, with offenders facing punitive damages, jail time, and other penalties.

Reckless Driving

Reckless behavior behind the wheel of a truck is another significant cause of accidents. This can include speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, or ignoring traffic signals and signs. Any of these actions can lead to a serious collision with devastating consequences.

Improper Turns

Due to the large size and weight of trucks, making turns is challenging. Improper turns by truck drivers can lead to accidents with smaller vehicles, especially when they fail to signal properly or make a turn that is too wide.

Equipment Failure

Trucks require regular maintenance and inspections to ensure they are safe for the road. However, sometimes equipment failures still occur due to negligence or faulty parts. Common equipment failures in truck accidents include brake failure, tire blowouts, and malfunctioning lights.

Hazardous Road Conditions

Poor road conditions frequently contribute to truck accidents. This includes slick roads caused by rain, snow, or ice, as well as potholes or debris on the road. When these road conditions result from negligent caretaking, poor signage, or inadequate warning, a big truck accident lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation from the responsible party.

Uneven or Improperly Loaded Cargo

Cargo can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unbalanced and difficult to control when improperly loaded, especially in high winds. This can lead to rollover accidents or spillage of hazardous materials, resulting in serious injuries or environmental damage.

Inadequate Training or Experience

Due to the size and complexity of large trucks, drivers require specialized training and experience. However, sometimes, drivers are not adequately trained or may lack experience in certain driving conditions. This can lead to errors or accidents on the road, including jackknifing or rollovers.

Distracted Driving

In today’s digital age, distracted driving is a growing concern for all drivers. Many states, including Colorado, have strict laws about cell phone use for truck drivers. Failure to adhere to these laws has resulted in rear-end crashes, t-bone collisions, and multi-car pile-ups.

Failure to Yield

Like any other driver on the road, truck drivers are required to yield the right of way when necessary. However, due to their size and weight, failure to yield accidents involving trucks can be particularly dangerous. These truck accidents often occur at intersections or when merging onto highways.


Types of Truck Accidents

Rollover Accident

A rollover accident occurs when a truck flips onto its side or roof, often due to high winds, excessive speed, or an unbalanced load. These accidents can result in severe injuries and fatalities for both the truck driver and other motorists.

Jackknife Accident

Types of Truck Accidents I Jackknife

A jackknife accident happens when a truck trailer swings out at a 90-degree angle from the cab, resembling the shape of a folding pocket knife. These accidents may occur when the truck driver suddenly slams on the brakes, causing the trailer to skid and lose control.

Rear-End Collision

Trucks require a significantly longer stopping distance than smaller vehicles, making them more susceptible to rear-end collisions. These accidents are often caused by driver fatigue, distracted driving, or tailgating.

Underride Accident

An underride accident happens when a smaller vehicle collides with the back or side of a truck and slides underneath the trailer. This can result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities for occupants of the smaller vehicle due to the lack of protection from the truck’s guards.

Side-Impact Collision

Also known as a T-bone collision, side-impact accidents occur when the front of a truck collides with the side of another vehicle. They are often caused by reckless driving or failure to yield.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury

TBIs are the most devastating and life-changing injuries a victim can suffer. Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head sustains a direct impact or severe shaking, resulting in damage to the brain tissue. They can lead to permanent disabilities such as cognitive impairment, memory loss, and mood disorders.

Spinal Cord Injury

The weight and force of a truck can cause severe damage to the spinal cord, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. This injury requires long-term medical care and rehabilitation, leading to significant financial burdens for victims and their families.


Whiplash is a common injury in rear-end collisions, where the sudden impact causes the head to snap back and forth violently. Unfortunately, the force is much greater in a truck collision, leading to more severe and long-lasting whiplash injuries. Whiplash is known to have delayed symptoms, making it crucial for victims to seek further medical attention even if they feel fine initially.

Broken Bones

The force of a truck accident can easily result in broken bones, which are excruciatingly painful and require extensive medical treatment. Depending on the location and severity of the break, victims may need surgery, physical therapy, or even lifelong care.


High-speed truck collisions can tear open fuel tanks, creating a dangerous situation for the truck driver and other motorists. In addition to physical injuries from impact, victims may also suffer severe burns from fires or explosions as a result of the accident.

Lost Limbs

In the most severe cases, truck accidents can result in amputations. The force of impact or getting trapped in the wreckage can cause victims to lose limbs, leading to lifelong disabilities and challenges.

Organ Damage/Failure

The impact of a truck accident can severely damage internal organs, leading to organ failure and potentially death. These injuries are challenging to detect at the accident scene, making it crucial for victims to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.

Soft Tissue Injuries

These injuries relate to damaged muscles, tendons, or ligaments ranging from minor strains and sprains to more severe tears. Due to the sudden force and impact on the body, soft tissue injuries are common in truck accidents. These injuries are not always immediately noticeable, resulting in chronic pain and long-term disabilities if left untreated.

Types of Trucks in Accidents

Big Rigs

Big rigs, or semi-trucks, are the most common type of commercial truck involved in accidents. When fully loaded, these large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and require specialized training and licensing.

Sometimes, the accidents directly result from trucker error, such as speeding or driving while fatigued. In other cases, the trucking company may be at fault for failing to properly maintain the vehicle or pushing drivers to work long hours without breaks.

There are also cases where other driver’s negligence or reckless behavior leads to an accident with a big rig.

Delivery Trucks

Delivery trucks used by private shipping companies or food delivery services may not be as large as big rigs, but their weight and size can still cause serious damage and injuries in accidents.

Common causes of commercial truck accidents include driver fatigue, distracted driving, and improper cargo loading or securing.

These accidents may involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, delivery company, and any other vehicles or pedestrians affected by the crash. It is important to consult with a truck accident lawyer to ensure responsible parties are held accountable in such a complex case.

Municipal Trucks

Municipal trucks, such as garbage or sanitation trucks, are owned and operated by government agencies. They are responsible for collecting trash and maintaining city or town streets. Due to their size and weight, these large vehicles can also cause devastating accidents.

In addition to driver negligence, municipal truck accidents can also be caused by poor vehicle maintenance or malfunctioning equipment. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a claim against the agency or department responsible for the maintenance and operation of the truck.

Government Trucks

Government trucks are any commercial vehicles owned and operated by federal or state entities, such as military or postal service delivery trucks. Like municipal trucks, they can also cause serious accidents due to driver error or equipment failure.

Filing a claim against the government for these types of accidents can be more complex than for other truck accident cases.

For example, the filing deadlines and statute of limitations may differ from state to state. It is important to consult with a truck accident lawyer who has experience handling claims against the government to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Construction Trucks

Construction trucks, such as dump trucks or cement mixers, are common in highway accidents and on construction sites. These vehicles often carry heavy loads and have large blind spots, making them more prone to accidents if not operated with caution.

It isn’t just construction trucks crashing into other vehicles that pose a threat; it’s cars crashing into them. Many construction trucks are parked alongside fast-moving traffic. Serious accidents can occur when motorists fail to navigate around them safely.

What To Do After A Truck Accident

What To Do After A Truck Accident

The overwhelming force and impact of a truck accident leaves injured victims feeling confused and unsure of what to do next.

However, taking the following steps can significantly improve your chances of holding responsible parties accountable and receiving fair compensation for your injuries:

  • Contact a truck accident attorney. A truck accident will likely result in extensive injuries and damages, making it crucial to have a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights.
  • Seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe your injuries are severe, seeking medical attention immediately after an accident is essential. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, worsening if left untreated.
  • Gather evidence. Try to gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. This can include photos of vehicle damage, skid marks on the road, and any visible injuries sustained by yourself or others involved in the accident.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report. The responding officers will create a report detailing the accident containing valuable information for your case. In states like Colorado, you may need to pay for a copy of the report, but supporting your truck accident claim is worth the cost.
  • Keep track of medical expenses and other damages. It is essential to keep detailed records of all medical bills, lost earning potential, and other damages related to the accident. This will help your attorney calculate the full extent of your losses when seeking compensation.
  • Avoid speaking with insurance companies. Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts for truck accidents, so it is important to refrain from speaking with them until you consult an accident attorney.

Begin this process as soon as possible, as there are time limits for filing a truck accident claim. While you are recovering from injuries, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help take the burden off your shoulders and allow you to focus on healing.

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard by the Causes of Truck Accidents

Understanding the causes of truck accidents helps you do more than stay safe on the road; it also enables you to protect your right to full and fair compensation when someone else’s negligence leads to injury.

If a truck accident due to driver negligence, improper vehicle maintenance, or defective trucking equipment harmed you or a loved one, contact a personal injury lawyer in Colorado for a free evaluation of your case.