What Is a Rollover Accident?

Accidents involving trucks can be exceptionally hazardous due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. However, among the various types of truck accidents, rollovers stand out as particularly dangerous. Rollover accidents not only pose a heightened risk of injury, but also a significantly increased risk of fatalities. With all of the semi-trucks on our highways, it is important to understand what risks these vehicles pose, and how to move forward if you are ever in an accident with one of them.

A truck rollover refers to a type of traffic accident involving a large commercial truck, such as a semi-truck, where the vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. In these accidents, the truck may overturn completely or partially, causing it to come to rest in a position other than its normal upright orientation.

Semi-truck rollovers are particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of these vehicles. They can result in significant property damage, injuries, and fatalities, both for the truck driver and occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident.

IIHS reports that 52% of truck occupant deaths in 2021 occurred in rollover accidents, which is far more deaths than either SUVs and cars saw from the same type of accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that in 2020, “overturn (rollover) was the first harmful event in 4 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and 2 percent of all nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.”

What causes truck rollovers?

Semi-truck rollover accidents can occur due to a combination of factors, and they are often the result of complex interactions between these factors.

Some of the main causes and contributing factors to semi-truck rollover accidents include:

  • Speeding. Traveling at excessive speeds, especially on curves or ramps, can increase the risk of a semi-truck rollover. The centrifugal force generated during sharp turns can destabilize the truck.
  • Sharp turns or curves. Taking curves or turns at high speeds or without reducing speed appropriately can lead to rollovers. semi-trucks have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to tipping during sharp maneuvers.
  • Overloading or improper loading. Carrying an imbalanced or overweight load can significantly affect a truck’s stability. Shifting cargo or excessive weight on one side can contribute to rollovers.
  • Inadequate braking. Braking suddenly or excessively can lead to a loss of control, especially when combined with other factors like high speed or adverse road conditions.
  • Driver fatigue. Fatigued or drowsy truck drivers may have reduced reaction times and impaired judgment, making them more likely to lose control and rollover.
  • Adverse weather conditions. Wet, icy, or slippery road conditions can reduce traction and increase the risk of a rollover, especially when combined with other factors like speed or abrupt maneuvers.
  • Mechanical failures. Malfunctions in the truck’s braking system, steering system, or tires can lead to a loss of control and potential rollovers.
  • Inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers. Drivers who lack experience or proper training may struggle to handle a semi-truck’s unique characteristics and are at a higher risk of rollovers.
  • Road design and condition. Poorly designed roads, sharp turns with inadequate warning signs, or poorly maintained road surfaces can contribute to rollover accidents, especially if drivers are caught off guard.
  • Distractions. Distracted driving, such as using a cellphone or adjusting in-cab technology, can divert a driver’s attention from the road and lead to rollovers.
  • Evasive maneuvers. Sudden evasive actions to avoid collisions or obstacles can result in a loss of control and a potential rollover.

Semi-truck rollovers are often multifactorial, meaning that several of these factors can interact to cause an accident. If you are driving near a semi-truck, and you see swaying or tipping, take cautionary measures and stay away from it.

Semi-truck accident facts

Semi-truck accidents are relatively common occurrences in Illinois. The state’s extensive highway system, coupled with its role as a transportation hub, results in a significant presence of semi-trucks on its roads. These accidents can have serious consequences due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Common causes of these accidents include driver fatigue, distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, inadequate maintenance, and adverse weather conditions.

According to the National Safety Council, “in 2021, 5,700 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, an 18% increase from 2020 and a 49% increase in the last 10 years. The involvement rate per 100 million large-truck miles traveled is up 7% from 2020, and up 22% in the last 10 years.”

As for fatalities from truck accidents, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported:

A total of 4,714 people died in large truck crashes in 2021, a 17 percent increase compared with 2020. Sixteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 68 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. The number of people who died in large truck crashes was 50 percent higher in 2021 than in 2009, when it was the lowest it has been since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. The number of truck occupants who died was 68 percent higher than in 2009.

Why is it important to have a truck accident attorney?

While it is important to have the assistance and advice of an attorney when you are involved in any accident, having one for a truck accident is even more so. Trucking companies and drivers are subject to numerous complex federal and state regulations governing their operations. An experienced truck accident attorney can navigate these regulations and determine if any violations contributed to the accident. Additionally, truck accidents often involve extensive property damage, severe injuries, or fatalities, resulting in substantial medical expenses, lost income, and emotional suffering. A lawyer can assess the full extent of your losses and work to maximize the compensation you receive, whether through negotiation with insurance companies or pursuing legal action.

Moreover, in cases where liability is disputed or multiple parties are involved (which is often the case in semi-truck accidents), an attorney can identify responsible parties and establish accountability. They are also well-versed in dealing with insurance companies, which may try to minimize payouts or shift blame. Finally, if your case requires litigation, an attorney with experience in truck accident cases can represent you effectively in court and navigate the complexities of the legal process, so that you receive the compensation you deserve.

For over 30 years, Glisson Law has been dedicated to assisting individuals harmed in commercial truck accidents. With our wealth of resources, extensive experience, and in-depth knowledge, we are fully equipped to secure the rightful compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. Our team is ready to help you. You can contact our offices by phone or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We take pride in serving the communities of Alton, Belleville, Edwardsville, St. Clair and Madison County, as well as the entirety of Southwestern Illinois and Missouri.