Common Causes, Risks, And Triggers Of 18-Wheeler Accidents

Last updated on: September 17, 2022

Truck accidents are some of the most serious accidents to occur on the roadways across the United States. In 2019 alone, over 500,000 truck accidents occured, with about 5,000 people fatally wounded and over 100,000 injured, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck accidents are serious in nature due to the massive size of these commercial vehicles as compared to much smaller passenger vehicles.

Truck accidents can occur due to a number of factors. Understanding the causes of truck accidents, their triggers and risks can help you to stay safe while navigating the roadways along large 18-wheeler trucks.

What Are Common Causes Of Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents are often due to negligence on the part of the truck driver. Liability will extend to the trucking company or the truck manufacturer in some cases as well. Common causes of truck accidents include:

Driver Fatigue

All truckers must abide by federal hours of service requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and those of the applicable state department of transportation. These regulations dictate how many hours of sleep a truck driver must observe before getting back behind the wheel, as well as rest stop requirements. However, due to economic incentives and tight deadline pressures, many truckers will exceed these maximum requirements. This can result in driver fatigue and serious accidents.

Distracted Driving

Truckers spend countless hours on the road, and all of that road time may lead drivers to engage in dangerous, distracted behavior. It is illegal for truckers to text while driving, yet many do so anyway. Other distractions include eating or drinking behind the wheel, personal grooming, or reading. Drivers that engage in this behavior can be held accountable for the damages that ensue.

Driver Inexperience or Lack of Sufficient Training

All trucking companies must ensure their drivers have a sufficient amount of training to safely take to the roads. Overlooking crucial training time can lead to careless accidents and devastating injuries, bringing liability to the employer.

Mechanical Failure

Federal and state regulations also govern the maintenance of trucks. Failure to regularly inspect and maintain the vehicle can result in serious accidents. The trucking company, the truck driver, or the manufacturer could all be held accountable when parts on a commercial truck fail, leading to an accident.


Exceeding the speed limit is not just dangerous but can be deadly; particularly when a large truck is involved. The black box within the truck that caused your injuries will offer vital information as to the speed at which the truck was traveling when the accident occurred. This will be strong evidence of the negligence, and thereby fault, of the truck driver.

What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries damage the body’s muscles, ligaments, or tendons. One of the most common soft tissue injuries after a motor vehicle accident is whiplash. Whiplash is often caused by the rapid motion that occurs in the head and neck after a collision. Whiplash can also affect the spine. Neck pain, headache, and blurred vision are some of the symptoms of whiplash.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common injury resulting from a truck accident. The impact of the car crashing into other vehicles or stationary objects can propel a victim’s body parts into the dashboard, steering wheel, windows, or windshield. This force can result in mild to severe bone fractures.

Cuts and Scrapes

When you are involved in a truck accident, many objects can fly into the air and hit you. For instance, your GPS, cellphones, or coffee mugs inside the vehicle can cause cuts if they fly at you with enough force. Though most cuts and scrapes can be minor, some may require more intense procedures such as stitches. Your airbags can also be a cause of cuts and scrapes.

Head Injury

Head injuries are perhaps the most disastrous of truck accident injuries. Head injuries can occur when your head hits the window or steering wheel of your car. Though head injuries would be fine it only led to superficial damages, if you received closed head injuries, this can lead to more devastating consequences such as concussions and permanent brain damage.

Chest Injury

Chest injuries, like head injuries, can be merely superficial. This means just bruises or scrapes. However, internal damages can occur as well. Broken ribs are common in severe car accidents. Often broken ribs can occur because the chest hits the steering wheel at a tremendous force.

Sharing the road with trucks and 18-wheelers

Sharing the road with 18-wheelers can be intimidating. However, understanding what you can do to minimize your personal risk can help. Here are some practical tips when it comes to sharing the road with trucks:

  • Stay alert.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Avoid the truck’s blind spot.
  • Pass on the left.
  • Change lanes wisely and cautiously.
  • Dim your brights.
  • Signal well in advance of shifting lanes.

What Do I Do After Being Involved In A Truck Accident?

To obtain full compensation for your damages, it is important to follow these steps and preserve your claim. The early stages immediately following a truck crash are the most important.

Avoid Admitting Fault

Even if you think that you may have been fully or partially responsible for the truck accident, do not admit fault because you may not be aware of all of the factors that caused or contributed to the wreck. Such an admission may be used against you in future proceedings, especially if you later wish to hold someone else accountable for your losses.

At the initial collision scene, you may not be aware of what was going on inside the other vehicle, what traffic laws the other driver might have broken, or what other circumstances might have transpired in the seconds or minutes leading up to the crash. A subsequent investigation may later reveal that the other driver failed to yield to you, was texting at the time of the incident, or ran a stop sign. Unfortunately, if you already accepted fault for the accident, you may have a difficult time pursuing damages.

Call the Police

One of the first steps in any car crash is to inform the authorities of the crash. This ensures that officers and first responders will respond to the crash and that you receive treatment for any injuries. You should provide as much detail to the police as possible about the other driver, including the vehicle they were driving and any witnesses to the crash.

Gather Evidence

Physical evidence is extremely important in accident and injury cases; many courts appreciate plaintiffs who can present them with physical proof and evidence to support their claim. 

After a truck accident, call the police, even if the damage appears relatively minor; the responding officer will likely draft a written accident report, which is important because it documents when, where, and how the accident happened. After the police create the report, ask how you can obtain a copy later, when it becomes available.

After a truck accident, do your best to document the scene as soon as possible and as thoroughly as possible on your own, and avoid leaving out any essential details. The best way to document the scene of a truck accident is to take photos or videos with your mobile device. Taking notes and describing the accident in written form can also help you recall the specifics of the accident later on in the litigation process.

Seek Medical Attention

There are many things that a driver can do after a truck accident to help lessen the burden of the collision. Regardless of the type of accident, involved drivers should always first check to see if anyone is hurt, even in minor fender benders; always check yourself and your passengers first. After you have ensured that the people within your vehicle are safe, you can then move to check on the people in the other involved cars; if anyone is hurt, immediately call for medical assistance.

Prompt treatment for any kind of injury is crucial, as many injuries can greatly affect the way your body moves and functions. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. A medical professional may be able to help you mitigate the overall effects of your injuries.

If you are involved in a car accident, it is imperative that you see a medical professional to evaluate your injuries. Even if you do not have any apparent injuries, you should still visit a healthcare professional to avoid developing subsequent injuries later. A healthcare professional will be able to thoroughly inspect your body and assure you that you have no serious injuries.

In addition to the obvious health benefits, visiting a healthcare professional may also have some legal use as well. If visited, a doctor will create an official medical report of your injuries. If you later wish to pursue your legal options, you may be able to use these medical documents as proof to the court of your injuries.

It is important to your claim that you demonstrate that you have made a good faith effort to recover and address your injuries as quickly as possible. If you were injured in a car accident and need help gathering evidence that will strengthen your case for seeking compensation for your injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer; they will be able to give you reasonable advice for what to do after a wreck. Once hired, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer will be able to help you assess your injuries accurately and file a claim accordingly.

Speak with a Truck Accident Lawyer

Dealing with the legal consequences of a truck accident can be exhausting. Partly because insurance companies can be difficult to handle, especially if they don’t want to compensate you completely for your damages. A collision attorney knows how to speak and negotiate with insurance companies, potentially making the process go much more smoothly for all involved.

Winning compensation for losses incurred during an accident helps victims recover from an accident more quickly. If you are interested in potentially getting the highest compensation possible for your damages, an attorney may be able to help you. Once hired, a professional accident attorney will be able to help you determine fault, navigate the filing process, assess your damages, and negotiate with the involved insurance companies. They’ll also take your claim to court if a fair settlement with an insurance company cannot be reached.

Contact Zinda Law Group’s Truck Accident Attorneys

At Zinda Law Group, our truck accident attorneys have helped thousands of crash victims get their lives back on track after an injury. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and pursue maximum compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys.