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Truck Rollover Accidents

Commercial trucks are taller and often weigh at least 20 times more than the typical passenger vehicle. These features mean they have a less stable center of gravity and are prone to rollovers.

Truck drivers may suffer injuries in rollover accidents, but these incidents can also cause severe or fatal injuries to occupants in nearby vehicles. If you were hurt recently in a rollover truck accident, Nix Patterson’s truck accident attorneys are standing by to assist you.

How Do Truck Rollover Accidents Happen?

Truck rollovers are terrifying accidents that may occur when a trucker takes a turn too fast or makes an unsafe maneuver. The stability of a tractor-trailer depends on the center of gravity and its track width – the distance between the left and right wheels.

When a truck takes a corner too quickly, gravity pulls the trailer’s weight from the center of gravity. The faster the trucker takes the turn, the more likely the rig will skid and roll over. If you see a truck going too fast on turns or in poor weather, keep your distance to avoid being crushed in a rollover accident.

Truck Rollover Accident Statistics

Truck rollovers are common but usually preventable when the driver follows speed and safety rules. Some recent truck rollover accident statistics include:

  • Truck rollover crashes accounted for 3.6% to 4.2% of all deadly tractor-trailer crashes between 2018-2020.
  • Truck rollover crashes accounted for 3.7% to 4.9% of all truck crashes with injuries between 2018-2020.
  • Over 78% of tractor-trailer rollover incidents are because of driver error.
  • The direct cause of most truck rollover accidents is turning too fast or letting one side of the truck rise or fall too suddenly. These situations are usually due to driver error.
  • Speed is a factor in 45% of rollover incidents involving commercial trucks.

Truck Rollover Accident Causes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has studied the causes of truck rollovers. Understanding how these hazardous events occur helps them teach truckers, trucking companies, and the public how to avoid them.

In 2008, the FMCSA studied more than 200 truck rollover accidents in one of the most extensive truck crash causation studies to date. Researchers determined that the immediate cause of many rollover crashes was when the roll moment along the longitudinal axis was increased.

This phenomenon can happen when the truck is turned too quickly or one side of the rig rises or falls too fast. In some incidents, the condition of another vehicle or the truck was a rollover factor. But the FMCSA concluded that truck driver error was the most common cause of rollovers. Those driving errors included the following:


The FMCSA found in the study that in 239 rollover crashes, speed was a factor in 35%. Speed can cause truck rollover crashes in these cases:

  • Driving too fast entering or executing a turn
  • Driving too fast for sharp turns
  • Not complying with posted speed limits
  • Not slowing the rig according to added weight and height
  • Not slowing down when they know the brakes are faulty
  • Not slowing down for adverse weather or traffic


The FMCSA study also determined that inattentive driving was a common cause of rollover accidents. The study found that truck drivers losing focus on the front of the truck is the most common type of inattentive driving. If the trucker needs to make an emergency maneuver after not paying attention, the chances of an accident rise.

Loss of Control

There are many reasons a truck driver can lose control of his rig. Whether it’s a road hazard, bad weather, or driving inexperience, losing control of a big rig and rolling over can be deadly. Some other examples of driving errors that can cause rollovers are:

  • Oversteering and understeering during turns
  • Overcorrecting after a steering error, possibly causing the truck to swerve into other lanes
  • Following cars too closely
  • Inadequate reaction to other drivers on the road
  • Not downshifting to lower the speed
  • Not braking correctly

Failing to Scan Intersections

Some truck rollovers happen because the trucker does not scan the road or intersection. Scanning the road is not as crucial on the interstate because no intersections exist. But scanning the road and intersection in town on two-lane or four-lane roads is critical to staying safe. Not checking an intersection adequately can cause an erratic driving maneuver that leads to a rollover.

Improper Loading

Truckers may have little control over how their trailers are loaded. Or, they may know there is a problem, but drive anyway to keep their job. However, it is the trucker’s responsibility to do their best to ensure that cargo is safely loaded and distributed to minimize the risk of rollover accidents.

How to Prevent Truck Rollover Accidents

The FMCSA reports that 78% of rollover accidents are related to truck driver error. Truck drivers are the most critical component in avoiding these severe accidents. Some of the best ways truck drivers can avoid rollover crashes are:

  • Avoid sudden driving changes that can cause a rollover
  • Control the truckload in turns and on straightaways
  • Be aware of higher-risk areas on the road, such as sections with sharp turns
  • Stay alert behind the wheel, and do not drive tired
  • Follow the speed limit and do not follow too closely

If you are driving a passenger vehicle, giving commercial trucks as much as possible is best. Pass them quickly without breaking the speed limit, and keep your distance when a truck is making a turn.

How Much Can You Receive in a Truck Rollover Settlement?

Many factors influence how much you may receive in a truck accident settlement, with much depending on your degree of injury. What can be said is that truck rollover injury victims often suffer severe injuries, including head trauma, spinal injuries, broken bones, burns, severe lacerations, and internal injuries. The more severe the injuries, the more you could potentially receive in a settlement or verdict award. Some of the damages you could receive are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost ability to earn a living
  • Lost earnings — both present and future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Contact an Experienced Truck Rollover Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one was in a truck rollover accident with serious injuries or death, you could be eligible for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. A truck rollover accident attorney with experience in these types of catastrophic injuries can investigate your case and determine the best legal path forward.

Nix Patterson’s truck rollover accident injury team could help you obtain critical funds to accelerate your recovery and meet your other financial needs. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation, and remember — we work on a contingency basis, meaning we’re only paid if you win.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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