Omaha Trucking Rollover Accident Attorney
Big-rigs and semi-trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on Nebraska roadways. These vehicles utilize high-powered engines to tow massive trailers which can contain a variety of heavy equipment, material, and even flammable chemicals. Drivers may travel across multiple county and state lines to meet tight deadlines, often becoming fatigued or distracted. When they lose control, several devastating accidents occur, but one of the most deadly is a trucking rollover.
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The force and energy involved in a rollover accident can cause catastrophic injuries to drivers in passenger vehicles, and even worth injuries for motorcyclists. Often, multiple vehicles are involved if the accident occurs on a major Nebraska highway like I-80, either from being struck by the rolling trailer or from colliding with an overturned truck. If you or someone you loved was injured in a rollover accident, contact the Omaha trucking rollover accident attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our legal team can launch an in-depth investigation to determine if you have a case and how to pursue compensation. Call us at (402) 505-8234 to learn what options are available to you.
When a truck overturns and rolls onto its side, many different, devistating accidents can occur. First, the truck can become overturned due to an initial collision with another vehicle, such as a rear-ending, T-Bone collision, or head-on crash. Second, the truck can jackknife, meaning the trailer has swung to the side of the truck and has crashed into one or more vehicles. This can ultimately lead to the rollover, which can lead to a series of collisions with the vehicles in front of the trailer as well as any oncoming traffic that cannot avoid hitting the truck. Even if a driver manages to avoid a collision with the trailer, they may swerve off the road, leading to serious injuries.
Rollovers can lead to several different injuries, depending on the speed at which your vehicle was hit, how heavy the trailer was, and the angle of the accident. A rollover accident can lead to:
- Crush injuries if the trailer rolls over your vehicle, which can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Orthopedic injuries and spinal cord injuries from the impact
- Soft-tissue damage and internal trauma
- Serious lacerations and even amputations if a limb is crushed in the rollover
- Paralysis or other disabilities as a result of the trauma
Any one of these injuries can lead to weeks, months, or even years of recovery. You may be in shock after an accident and feel hopeless, not even sure why these catastrophic injuries happened to you. However, rollover accidents are not random occurrences and a line of fault can be traced to several sources.
Rollovers are often the product of negligence, generally because the driver lost control of the vehicle. Sometimes, this is because they were reckless, while other trucking drivers were completely in control and abiding by all laws at the time of the crash. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, the rollover could have been due to:
- Drug or alcohol abuse: The driver may have a substance abuse issue that led to them driving while intoxicated. Drugs and alcohol can severely impact their ability to control a big-rig, and that loss of control can cause them to swerve dangerously and overturn the vehicle.
- Fatigue: Similarly, drowsy drivingis another major issue that truckers face. Federal regulations outline strict hours of service that require drivers to abide by specific rest periods before traveling for long periods of time. If they break these regulations, they can become fatigued and fall asleep at the wheel, resulting in a rollover.
- Poor driving conditions: Rain, snow, and poorly maintained roadways can all make it difficult for a driver keep their vehicle from swerving. This is especially dangerous when trucks are traveling at high speeds, which is why drivers are expected to drop their speed significantly during adverse weather.
- Overloaded trailers: Trucking companies may push drivers to take on extra products or materials to maximize the profits of a delivery. For tanker trucks, this can be especially dangerous. These overloaded trailers and tanks may have a weight distribution problem. When the materials in the trailer or tank slide from side to side, the truck can become unbalanced and may tip over. The contents may spill out or the force the trailer to slide across the roadway, causing devastating damage.
- Mechanical failures: The internal mechanisms that allow a semi-truck to pull a massive trailer must be routinely inspected and repaired. If the brakes are damaged, they can lock up, leading to a jackknifing and subsequent rollover. In turn, under- or over-pressured tires can explode if they hit a road hazard, leading to the truck overturning. These mechanical failures can be attributed to the driver, if they owned the vehicle and were responsible for repairing it, to the trucking company or repair shop who manages the vehicle.
While some conditions are out of our control, such as rogue weather, many rollovers are the product of human error, which can be traced back to several individuals or groups.
While your immediate assumption would be that driver error is the main cause of rollovers, trucking accidents are far more complicated than they first appear. Multiple parties are often involved in operating a trucking route, from the driver to the company overseeing the vehicle or products being transported to the mechanics who service the truck. Each have a duty to abide by national and state trucking regulations and ensure the vehicle is always safe to be on the road. When they fail to do so, serious injuries can occur.
Truck Drivers: No surprisingly, truck drivers and driver error are the primary cause of rollovers, resulting in 78% of all rollovers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If they allow themselves to become fatigued, speed, have a substance abuse problem, or become distracted, they can lose control of the truck and cause it to overturn.
Trucking Companies: Trucking companies are often driven by profits, which means fulfilling as many orders as quickly and efficiently as possible. This may lead a supervisor to push a driver to break the hours of service and risk becoming fatigued or overload a trailer beyond federal weight restrictions. In some cases, the company may hire drivers who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse and are an unfit to driver.
Mechanics and Manufacturers: Lastly, large trucks experience significant wear and tear over their lifetime, which can add up drastically. These vehicles require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure all components are functioning properly. If a repair shop ignores an issue with the brakes or a manufacturer does not issue a recall on a defective part, they could be found liable for any accidents injuries that occur due to issue.
Determining how a rollover accident occurred and who caused it requires an in-depth investigation. You will need to review the driver’s record, check for a history of violations, analyze maintenance reports, review black box data, and discuss the case with a variety of experts to prove liability and negligence. To do that, you will need the aid of a skilled attorney who can handle all the legal matters while you focus on recovering.
The pain, suffering, and trauma involved in trucking accidents can be heartbreaking. In addition to your physical trauma, you may suffer emotional distress after the rollover and the subsequent medical costs you have to deal with during recovery. Taking on a trucking accident claim can prove too much for one person to handle on your own. Luckily, the legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. is available to review your case.
Our Omaha truck accident lawyer has the experience and knowledge to properly evaluate if negligence occurred in your accident and can pursue a detailed claim on your behalf. Do not let a reckless driver or trucking company get away with destroying your life. Instead, bring your case to us and focus on recovering. Call us at (402) 505-8234 to discuss your case.
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