What to do after a Truck Accident

Truck accidents are much more likely to result in very serious injuries and fatalities due to the sheer size of a large commercial truck. There can also be a number of defendants in a truck accident, making it much more complex than a “normal” auto accident with two passenger vehicles. Because of this, it can be extremely beneficial to speak to a Petersburg, VA truck accident attorney following a truck accident.

The state of Virginia had 830 traffic fatalities in 2019, yet according to a 2021 study, Virginia actually ranks low on the “worst drivers list.” Virginia tied with Connecticut and Illinois for the number 45th spot, with an overall score of 28.2 based on:

  • A low number of DUI arrests per capita
  • A low number of accident fatalities per capita
  • Less than 10 percent of uninsured drivers across the state

If you have been involved in a truck accident in Petersburg, VA, speaking to an experienced attorney from Tronfeld, West & Durrett can truly make a difference in the outcome. After you ensure you are safe and attend to any medical conditions, contact us is one of the first things you should do after a truck accident. We will fight hard for you—for your rights, for the medical care you need and deserve, for a fair settlement, and for your future.

For answers to your questions with a truck accident serving Petersburg, call:
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Types of Injuries Caused in a Truck Accident

Semi-trucks are significantly larger than passenger vehicles, therefore, a truck accident can leave those in the smaller vehicle with grave injuries. Injuries affecting the spinal cord or brain can permanently impair normal abilities, preventing you from ever returning to your normal life and day-to-day activities. Catastrophic injuries caused by a Petersburg, VA truck accident include:

Catastrophic injuries have severe and lasting effects that can affect your personal and professional life. Medical treatments and rehabilitative therapies can become a way of life. You could require frequent hospitalizations, multiple surgical procedures, time spent in a rehabilitation center, assistance in your home, special medical equipment and assistive devices, and much more. These may be ongoing for the remainder of your life.

Following a catastrophic injury, you may have to miss a significant amount of work while you are in the hospital or recovering at home. You may not ever be able to return to work, meaning you will be unable to provide for yourself and your family.  Severe injuries quite often come with severe, chronic pain. Pain management can be difficult, and the pain may last for a lifetime. Finally, a truck accident, in and of itself, can be traumatic. Those involved in a truck accident may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), requiring psychological or psychiatric treatment. Adjusting to lifelong pain and/or a disability can result in depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental and emotional issues.

Types of Truck Accidents

A collision involving a commercial truck differs substantially from an incident involving a passenger vehicle; this weight differential influences their braking, turning, and acceleration dynamics, necessitating a distinct approach to driving.
Due to their size and power, a collision with a truck is more prone to inflict severe injuries upon occupants of other vehicles such as cars or bicycles. Commonly, we see these types of truck accidents:

  • Jackknife accidents: Jackknife accidents occur when a truck’s cab and trailer fold in on each other, resembling the angle of a partially open jackknife. These accidents can be severe and often result in significant property damage and injuries
  • Rollover accidents:  Rollover accidents happen when a truck tips over onto its side or roof, often due to factors such as speeding, sharp turns, or unbalanced cargo.
  • Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when a truck collides with another vehicle while traveling side-by-side. 
  • Underride accidents: This type of accident occurs when a smaller vehicle slides under the trailer of a truck, often resulting in severe damage and injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
  • Override accidents: In an override accident, a truck runs over a smaller vehicle, often due to the truck’s inability to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Blind spot accidents: Trucks have large blind spots, and accidents can occur when a truck driver fails to see a vehicle in these blind spots while changing lanes or making turns. This typically is the cause of improper lane changes, which causes the vehicle collision. 
  • Rear-end accidents: These occur when a truck collides with the rear of another vehicle. Given the significant weight and size of trucks, these accidents can result in substantial damage and serious injuries, especially at high speeds or in congested traffic conditions.


According to the 2022 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report, there were 6,910 crashes in the state, with 274 of them involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Out of these CMV accidents, 41 were fatal, resulting in 375 deaths. Here are some key statistics about large truck accidents in Virginia based on the available data:

  • Total truck accidents in 2022: 2,981
  • Truck accidents resulting in fatalities: 60
  • Number of injuries related to the truck crash: 844
  • Improper lane changes and following too closely were the major causes of all truck accidents
  • Only .2% of all drivers were impaired with alcohol consumption as a condition they were in at the time of the crash

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Truck Accident Statistics in Virginia 2022

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Leading Causes of Truck Accidents

When it comes to truck accidents, a deep understanding of the causes behind the incident is paramount in constructing a robust legal case. Some of the causes can be: 

  • Speed-related accidents: Accidents that occur due to the truck driver exceeding speed limits or driving too fast for conditions, leading to loss of control or inability to stop in time.
  • Alcohol or substance-related accidents: Incidents where the truck driver is under the influence of alcohol or other substances, impair their judgment and reaction times, and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Distracted driving dangers: Analysis of mobile phone use and in-cab distractions.
  • Fatigue and hours of service violations: Investigation into cases involving driver fatigue.
  • Improper loading of cargo: Improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to become unbalanced, leading to rollovers or other accidents.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance: Poorly maintained trucks can cause accidents due to equipment failure, such as brake failure or tire blowouts.
  • Road conditions: Poor road maintenance, construction, and confusing traffic signals can cause accidents.

While there are many different factors involved in truck accidents, negligent hiring practices are a factor that is not talked about very often. Trucking companies employ hundreds of thousands of truck drivers across the United States. Trucks are essential to our nation, as they move freight from one place to the next. Trucking companies are required to hire drivers using specific hiring procedures as a means of avoiding hiring drivers with a poor driving record, or one that is not sufficiently trained. Unfortunately, in an effort to get drivers on the road quickly, many trucking companies skip steps in the hiring process.

Perhaps there was no thorough background check done on the driver. The trucking company may even know the driver is not properly qualified but need drivers so desperately they ignore a flawed background check or lack of training. Basic driver qualifications vary from state to state, but almost universally, drivers must be twenty-one years old, able to speak, read, and understand English, must possess a valid CDL license, and must have the physical ability to handle very long hours behind the wheel. Individual trucking companies have their own requirements as far as physical requirements. As an example, some trucking companies will not hire a truck driver with high blood pressure, while still others require a physical fitness test.

Training may be shortened in order to get truck drivers on the road. A truck driver’s training is meant to ensure he or she has the ability and skill necessary to maneuver a large truck within limited spaces. Drivers must also be both mentally and physically able to sit behind the wheel for up to eleven hours a day (If you have ever driven for eleven hours in one stretch, you know just how physically and mentally demanding it is). Truck drivers who will be transporting hazardous chemicals must undergo additional training. This training is for the safety of other drivers on the roadways and must never be skipped over.     

Other Factors Involved in Truck Accidents

According to policyadvice.net, the following facts are true regarding truck accidents:

  • Although many people believe impaired truck drivers cause the majority of truck accidents, impairment is not actually one of the top causes of truck accidents.
  • Aggressive driving on the part of truck drivers—while not a top cause—is still a factor in some truck accidents (approximately 5 percent).
  • Mechanical defects that cause truck accidents usually involve tires or brakes.
  • Many truck accidents are caused by excess speed on the part of the truck driver. Due to the massive weight of a semi-truck, it can take twice the distance to stop the truck quickly as for a passenger vehicle.
  • Driver fatigue is a significant cause of truck accidents, since truck drivers spend an inordinate time behind the wheel, and often do not sleep well even when they aren’t driving. A severely fatigued driver can be just as dangerous as an impaired driver.
  • As many as half of all truck accidents occur on major roads other than interstates and freeways, with only about 15 percent of all large truck accidents occurring on rural roads.
  • Most semi-truck accidents occur between noon and 3 p.m.
  • Only about 16 percent of all truck accidents occur on weekends, while Thursdays tend to be the day of the week with the most truck accidents.
  • Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, including truck drivers. We are a nation of multi-taskers—a habit that is significantly more dangerous when we are behind the wheel. Since truck drivers are under so much pressure to deliver loads in a timely manner, they often eat entire meals while driving, change radio stations, read maps or GPS devices, talk to a passenger, talk on their phone, text, or watch what’s going on by the side of the road instead of what’s in front of them. Distracted driving causes accidents, whether among passenger vehicle drivers or truck drivers.

Seeking Compensation after a Truck Accident

As local attorneys, we are well-versed in the complex landscape of personal injury claims arising from truck accidents, always intending to maximize compensation for victims. We can help you navigate the following process:

  • Navigating the legal terrain: Successfully seeking compensation necessitates adept navigation of the legal terrain.
  • Calculating damages: Determining the full extent of damages is a meticulous process. We delve into economic and non-economic losses.
  • Advocacy and support: Our approach to seeking compensation combines steadfast advocacy with unwavering support.

Virginia Trucking Laws & Regulations

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, new statewide bridge weight-restrictions were posted a few months back. The state has a number of requirements as far as vehicle size, weight, and equipment requirements. As examples:

  • The maximum length of a truck excluding the load is 40 ft.
  • The maximum length including the semi-trailer is 48-53 feet.
  • There are no length restrictions on combinations
  • The maximum width of all vehicles is 102 inches, excluding mirrors and school bus warning devices.
  • Trucks may not have more than one trailer attached.
  • Overweight or oversized loads must have a special permit to travel in the state of Virginia.
  • There are special restrictions for hazardous material loads.
  • Certain bridges and tunnels have additional restrictions (trucks over 13 ft. 6 inches high are prohibited on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, the Downtown Tunnel, and the Midtown Tunnel, and tractor-trailers wider than 8 ft. are prohibited on the downtown tunnel on I-264.
  • Certain federally maintained highways in the state of Virginia prohibit trucks and other commercial vehicles such as the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwest Virginia, George Washington Memorial Parkway in the DC area, Colonial Parkway in Williamsburg, and Skyline Drive in northwest Virginia.

How Tronfeld West & Durrett Can Help Following a Petersburg, VA Truck Accident

There are so many facets to a truck accident that it really needs an experienced Petersburg, VA truck accident attorney to properly sort it all out. You do not want to be left severely injured with no money to pay your medical expenses or lost wages. Since there can be a number of defendants in a truck accident, having a knowledgeable Petersburg, VA truck accident attorney can be a critical component of your claim. Beyond the fact that an attorney will handle negotiations with your insurance company—as well as all other legal matters—giving you the time you need to heal from your injuries and try to get your life back on track. Find extensive information on large truck incidents.

Having a highly experienced Petersburg, VA truck accident attorney from Tronfeld, West & Durrett can truly make a difference in the outcome of your truck accident claim. Attorneys Jay Tronfeld and Wiley Latham help people just like you each and every day. We believe in our clients—and we will believe in you in the same way. Contact Tronfeld West & Durrett today.

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