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Category Archives: Truck Accidents


Tractor-Trailer Crash in Newark Leads to Fatality and Serious Injuries

Newark Tractor-Trailer Crash Leads to Fatality and Serious InjuriesA fatal tractor-trailer crash occurred in Newark, Delaware that left one fatality and several victims with serious injuries. On Tuesday evening, around 4:45pm, a tractor-trailer operated by a driver from North Carolina struck three vehicles before overturning on I-95. A 61-year-old man from Middletown, Delaware occupied the first car and became fatally injured at the scene of the tractor-trailer crash. Two other vehicles were forced off the road and went down an embankment. The one SUV carried a woman who incurred serious injuries and her child who is in critical condition while the other driver and tractor-trailer driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

In some truck accidents, the driver may lack enough experience or training to adequately maneuver the vehicle on congested roads. Many tractor-trailer drivers work long hours and may be dealing with driver fatigue, which adversely affects their driving abilities. Accidents involving tractor-trailers oftentimes will result in serious injuries or even fatalities for the drivers and passengers.

If you or your loved ones became hurt in a truck accident, call our New Castle truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as in municipalities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, from our offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.

Truck Drivers Encounter New Distractions

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers discuss new distractions for truck drivers. Among commercial truck drivers, distracted driving is the second leading cause of fatal crashes. Hands-free cell phone use is often touted to prevent drivers from becoming dangerously distracted behind the wheel, yet, it may also be interfering with safe driving. One recent study found a surprising and risky connection between hands-free phone use and other distracting behaviors.

According to research conducted by trucking technology company, Lytx, nearly one-quarter of drivers who engage in one risky driving behavior engage in other dangerous driving behaviors at the same time. That includes drivers who opted to use their phone hands-free. Lytx cautions that when hands-free chatting is combined with other habits that interrupt the driver’s attention and concentration, drivers increase their risk of a crash by 100 percent.

How Distractions Affect Driving

Drivers may not realize how quickly reaching down to grab something in the passenger seat or adjusting the radio can cause a crash. In as few as two or three seconds of a driver looking away from the road, they can veer out of their own lane into oncoming traffic.

Common driving distractions include:

  • Adjusting dashboard dials and controls
  • Eating and drinking
  • Looking behind the driver
  • Personal grooming
  • Smoking

When a truck driver attempts to do multiple activities at once, the risk of a distracted driving accident increases exponentially. Because distraction is not only about what the driver’s hands are doing, it is also about where their mind is; Lytx stresses that hands-free devices are not a perfect solution. Drivers who are concentrating on their hands-free phone call are not focused on the life and death decisions they make when operating a multi-ton vehicle. They are more likely to speed, tailgate, and make sudden stops while they are deep in conversation.

Preventing Distracted Driving Truck Accidents

Knowing how dangerous multi-tasking can be for truck drivers, owners and operators are taking steps to raise awareness about hands-free distractions and other hazards, which include:

  • Avoid eating or drinking behind the wheel
  • Hold off on communicating with dispatchers until stopped
  • Encourage calling or texting before driving

The unfortunate reality is, if you are the victim of a distracted driving truck accident, you are much more likely to be seriously hurt than if you were hit by a passenger vehicle. Commercial trucks bring more force into an accident. That force is absorbed by your body, increasing the likelihood of devastating head, neck, and spine injuries. To prevent distracted driving accidents, every truck driver needs to fully focus on operating their vehicle.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims Injured in Truck Accidents

If a distracted driving accident with a commercial truck left you with life-altering injuries, it is time to speak with a Delaware truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We work tirelessly to hold reckless drivers responsible and pursue the damages victims deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online today. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.

What Causes the Increase of Truck Accidents During the Summer Months?

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers discuss an increase of truck accidents during summer months. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls summer one of the most dangerous times of the year on the nation’s roads because of the rise in traffic accidents. That rise in accidents includes those involving tractor trailers and other large trucks. Motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks are more likely to result in devastating injuries to all involved. With some of the largest tractor trailers weighing upwards of 30,000 pounds, the sheer impact of a collision with a vehicle this size can be catastrophic.

The following are common causes of summer truck accidents:

  • Tire Blowouts: Hot temperatures affect a tire’s performance. As tires heat up, they build pressure, which potentially causes a dangerous blowout. Owners and operators should check tire pressure frequently to ensure it is always within manufacturers’ specifications.
  • Inexperienced Drivers: Summer means school is out and more teens and young adults are on the road. Novice drivers may not yet understand how to safely navigate around large trucks and end up cutting them off or following too closely. Without enough space and time to slow to a stop, the risk of a truck accident increases significantly.
  • Overheating: Engines are more likely to become overheated during the warmer months. Drivers are advised to ensure their trucks are always well-maintained, making sure their coolant levels, radiators, and thermostats are ready to withstand the summer heat.
  • Pedestrians: Walkers, runners, and cyclists enjoy getting outdoors and soaking up the summer sun. However, they may not be alert and attentive to nearby traffic. Large trucks have difficulty avoiding an accident when a person suddenly enters their path, increasing the risk of serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians involved in truck accidents.
  • Potholes: After winter snow and spring rain are gone, potholes are often left behind. These deep pits and gullies are accidents waiting to happen, especially for multi-ton trucks traveling at high speeds. Trucks that get caught in potholes can experience tire blowouts, lane departures, and tip-over accidents, risking the lives of those traveling around them.
  • Road construction: In many parts of the country, it is simply not practical to complete road work in cold weather. Many non-essential construction projects happen in the summer to avoid winter precipitation. Roadside equipment and changes in traffic patterns create new hazards that make truck accidents more likely to occur.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Clients Injured in Summer Traffic Accidents

Any individual on the receiving end of a truck accident may end up with serious, life-threatening injuries. At Rhoades & Morrow, our Delaware truck accident lawyers help you move forward to physical, emotional, and financial recovery. We will fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation today. With locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including those from Elsmere and Seaford.

Truck Accidents Caused by Blind Spots

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers discuss truck accidents caused by blind spots. There are certain areas on all vehicles where drivers cannot see the cars that surround them. These areas are called blind spots. While automakers are developing warning systems to alert drivers of the presence of objects in blind spots, the technology has not yet been perfected. Each year, nearly 840,000 accidents in the United States are caused by blind spots, causing about 300 deaths per year.

Truck drivers primarily rely on their oversized rearview mirrors to see as much traffic around them as possible. They carefully monitor the presence of vehicles in their vicinity, especially when they are maneuvering lane changes, accelerating, or decelerating.

New Regulations Address Backing Hazards

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration established a code setting minimum requirements for vehicle rear view mirrors. It requires two mirrors, one on each side of the vehicle located on the outside to reflect traffic around the truck. The code was recently revised to require video monitoring technology that displays the back of the vehicle. The mandated technology was introduced over time and must now be installed in new vehicles. The change is expected to minimize the risk of death and injury from backing accidents.

Side Crash Hazards Remain Significant

Blind spots on the sides of a truck are more problematic when driving. Also referred to as no zones, there are significant areas located along both sides of the truck where mirrors cannot detect vehicles. Drivers should be mindful of the truck’s blind spots and avoid them when possible. If a driver chooses to remain in a truck’s blind spot for an extended period and ends up colliding with the truck, they could be found partially responsible for the accident.

Legal Standards to Prove Negligence

Due to the high risk of death or serious injury from truck accidents, truck drivers are held to a high standard of care. Failure to exercise reasonable care to avoid harm to others is illegal. The standard for establishing negligence involves proving that the driver had a duty, breached that duty, caused an injury, and resulted in damages. Often when a truck driver causes an accident, their employer can be held liable under a theory of vicarious liability. In this case, the accident must have been caused by a negligent act by the driver while driving for the employer’s interests.

Employers can also be held directly liable if they know or should have known that their employee should not have been driving. Certain examples include a driver having poor vision or a drinking problem.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Victims Injured in Truck Accidents

If you or someone you know was involved in a truck accident, the Delaware truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can analyze your case and gather important details and evidence surrounding the accident. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Elsmere and Seaford.

Truck Rollover Accidents

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers discuss truck rollover accidents. Truck accidents involving rollovers have the potential to cost someone their life. Others could be left with serious injuries and an unfortunate impact on their finances. A truck rollover accident happens when a truck swerves to avoid a head on collision and turns onto the side or on top of the vehicle.

This type of accident can be fatal for drivers in both vehicles, and involves the truck potentially rolling several times before stopping.

How Often do Truck Rollover Accidents Occur?

Some 15,000 trucks are involved in rollover accidents each year, according to recent statistics, and many factors can contribute to them. These include fatigued or distracted drivers, poorly loaded equipment, and curved roadways.

Investigating the Accident

After a rollover crash, you will need to have the accident investigated in order to determine whether any of these factors played a part in the accident:

  • Faulty brakes: Overloading a truck can negatively affect its brakes and brake pads, due to too much weight on them.
  • Tire blowouts: The excess weight from overloaded cargo may also cause tires to burst.
  • Poorly trained truck drivers: Companies are responsible for properly training their drivers. Failure to do so may lead to fatal accidents.

Proving Negligence

If another driver caused your rollover accident, it was most likely due to improper loading of cargo. In order to prove negligence on the part of the other driver, you must be able to determine who was negligent in loading the cargo.

When proving negligence, you are also responsible for proving the following:

  • Duty: All drivers have a duty to make sure they are operating their vehicles with care. However, there are times when outside forces that are out of your control contribute to rollover accidents. These forces include roads that have not been maintained, a car manufacturer who has sold a defective car without the driver’s knowledge, and a mechanic who has neglected to thoroughly maintain a vehicle.
  • Breach: There are two types of breaches – A negligence per say breach, which is when someone breaks a law; and a common law breach, which is when a person fails to do the reasonable thing in a given situation. As the plaintiff, you are responsible for proving that the other party has somehow breached its duty to you.
  • Causation: Causation requires proving that the defendant’s breach either directly or indirectly caused your rollover accident.
  • Injury: After proving breach and causation, you are then responsible for proving that your injuries resulted from the accident. This can be difficult, because the defense could argue that your injuries were preexisting.

The Argument of the Defense

If you were behind the wheel of the vehicle, the defense may try to argue that you either caused the accident or contributed in some way. They may also try to argue that a third party caused the accident. The purpose of doing this is to limit their liability as much as possible.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims Involved in Truck Rollover Accidents

If you were involved in a truck rollover accident, then you need a lawyer who can get you the compensation and peace of mind for your injuries. Delaware truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow represent victims involved in truck rollover accidents. Our experienced lawyers will fight to get you justice and help you through the process step by step. For a free consultation contact us online or contact us by phone at our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.

Tips for Preventing Truck Accidents

Bear Truck Accident Lawyers provide tips for avoiding truck accidents. For many drivers, navigating around and beside enormous tractor trailers can be nerve wracking. Their size, speed, weight, and power make them intimidating to drivers in smaller passenger cars and vans.

When a car collides with a large truck, the results can be devastating. Truck accidents leave victims with broken bones; head, neck, and spinal injuries; and may even prove to be fatal.

Safely Sharing the Road with Trucks

Traveling alongside these colossal trucks takes a bit of caution and patience, but it can be done safely.

Here are some things to remember when sharing the road with 18-wheelers and the like:

  • Give trucks their space: Tractor trailers require more time and space for every maneuver: accelerating, braking, passing, and turning. Be mindful of this when traveling near or around trucks. Experts recommend a following distance of around four seconds behind trucks.
  • Merge with care: Give truck drivers enough room to slow down when merging in front of them. Do not merge in front of a truck when traffic is slowing to a stop. This will force the truck driver to slam on the brakes, which could be disastrous for you or someone too close behind them.
  • Pay attention: Distracted driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When your eyes are off the road and your hands are off the wheel, you lose control of your vehicle and are unable to avoid a crash.
  • Use your signals: Alert nearby trucks when you are going to merge or turn. Engage your turning signal earlier than you usually would to give truck drivers enough notice to stop or pass you.
  • Stay out of their blind spots: Many truck accidents occur because truck drivers cannot see vehicles in their blind spots. Avoid traveling around 20 feet in front of the truck and 30 feet behind the truck, in order to remain as visible as possible. A good rule of thumb to remember is if you cannot see the truck driver’s side mirrors, they probably cannot see you.

Trucks and Cars Must Share the Roads

Commercial trucking is big business. Nearly 12.5 million commercial trucks and busses racked up nearly 300 million miles across the United States in 2016 alone. That same year, more than 10 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes on U.S. highways involved a tractor trailer or bus. And most of these fatalities were passengers in the other vehicles.

While these statistics may be daunting, they are just another reason why all drivers need to take extra caution when driving near tractor trailers. With care and common sense, we can all travel safely and avoid car accidents with trucks.

Bear Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Are Truck Accident Victim Advocates

A collision with a commercial truck is rarely just a fender bender. Truck accidents can leave victims with devastating injuries. Bear truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow hold negligent parties responsible for truck accidents. This may include the truck owner, operator, manufacturer, loader, or shipper. We collect the crucial evidence and documentation essential to prove liability for your injuries, so you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Before you talk to any insurance companies, call 302-834-8484 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today. With offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, we represent clients in Elsmere and Seaford, and throughout the great state of Delaware.

High Wind Truck Accidents

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers discuss high wind truck accidents. When high winds strike, the vehicles that are impacted the most are trucks. Their large size essentially transforms them into sails that catch the wind and can result in the truck being blown over or off the road. A truck accident caused by wind may cause catastrophic injuries to the occupants of nearby passenger vehicles and some accidents may be fatal.

Truck drivers are used to spending their days on the road in different weather conditions, but they have a responsibility to be aware of upcoming weather events that may present a danger to themselves and those around them. While they cannot control the weather, they can choose not to drive through dangerous conditions. Tractor trailers that are empty present a grave risk in high wind conditions as an empty trailer makes the truck much more susceptible to a rollover.

Causes of High Wind Truck Accidents

There are many factors that contribute to a high wind truck accident. Truck drivers and trucking companies are highly regulated and must meet strict federal and state safety standards that include the following:

  • Regular maintenance of equipment, such as brakes and tires, to prevent breakdowns under harsh weather conditions.
  • Proper loading of trailers to ensure the load is balanced and cannot shift under high wind conditions.
  • Compliance with speed limits because the size and weight of a truck requires increased stopping distances over that of a passenger vehicle. Speed must always be adjusted for the weather conditions and high winds may require the driver to pull over, however, many companies push their drivers to get to their destinations at any cost.
  • Hours of service, the number of hours a driver may work before taking a rest break, is strictly regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They must log their hours, which are kept on record by the trucking company. Drivers who do not comply with regulations are at risk for drowsy driving, leaving them less likely to recognize sudden weather changes.
  • Distracted driving, whether the driver is eating or using a cellphone, is highly dangerous.

Failure to comply with safety regulations can constitute negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company. If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation, but be aware that liability in a truck accident can be complicated. The driver, the owner of the truck, and the trucking company will attempt to shift blame away from themselves to avoid paying damages. Working with an experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC Assist Victims of Truck Accidents

Holding a truck company liable for your injuries can be an uphill battle. Contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow, LLC who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve, so that you can concentrate on your recovery. Call us at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation about your case or contact us online. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we assist injured victims throughout the state.

Delaware Highlights Concern for Unsecured Cargo

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on unsecured cargo.Motorists face road hazards from large trucks, and one of the major contributing factors to truck accidents is unsecured cargo. In recent years, the rate of motor vehicle accidents on Delaware roads that are caused by the loss or shifting of cargo has increased by 250 percent. This frightening statistic is one of the main reasons why the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware State Police, and AAA Mid-Atlantic recently teamed up to promote Secure Your Load Day. Originally a grass-roots movement, Secure Your Load is a yearly event that raises awareness for highway safety and focuses on trucks having secure loads while on the road. It is a national awareness campaign to reduce road debris and save lives.

If not secured properly, truck cargo can shift, become unattached from the truck, and fly off into the road. This can be highly dangerous and fatal for other drivers.  Delaware State Police Sergeant Richard Bratz said that “Unsecured loads and road debris crashes are preventable with just a few minutes of time. All items need to be securely fastened to the vehicle.” Bratz is also the State Police Public Information Director.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a federal government agency that regulates the operation of commercial motor vehicles, with the goal of reducing wrecks involving larger trucks and buses. The agency has rules that apply to cargo securement devices, acceleration and deceleration, tie downs, anchor points, and working load limits. There are additional restrictions for distinct types of cargo, such as logs, metal coils, pipe, and other items.

Road Debris Crashes and Causes

According to AAA, hazardous road debris led to over 200,000 accidents in four years. These include when another vehicle runs over road debris and crashes, contact with hazardous cargo, and being hit by items as they fall off a truck.

These incidences might be attributed to careless driving or negligence by the truck driver or the company they work for. Oftentimes, the drivers are tired or pressured to make delivery deadlines and do not take the time for proper safety measures or inspections. Others could be driving under the influence or traveling at unsafe speeds. Cargo securement devices must also be tested and inspected and replaced if not functioning correctly. Unsecured loads are illegal, with fines capping off at $5,000. However, there are only 16 states that include jail time as a possible sentence.

Preventing Road Debris Crashes

Secure Your Load Day is an excellent resource for educating truck drivers and trucking companies. Drivers who share the road can protect themselves by staying away from trucks that are carrying cargo. It is also smart to watch for unsafe driving behaviors such as swerving, speeding, or switching lanes quickly or without warning. These trucks should also be avoided and reported to highway police immediately.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims of Unsecured Cargo Crashes

If you are the victim of an accident that involves a truck with unsecured cargo, our experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help with your case. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. With office locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients from the surrounding areas.

Truck Underride Guards May Prevent Serious Injuries

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers weigh in on truck underride accidents and how underride guards may help reduce serious injuries. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly half of fatal car accidents involving a truck and passenger vehicle are due to so-called “underride.” During an underride accident, a passenger car slides under the trailer, putting the occupants in considerable danger.

To prevent serious and fatal truck accidents, two United States senators introduced a bill at the end of last year that would require all trucks to be outfitted with side underride guards.

Underride guards are safety shields designed to cover the open space between the undercarriage of the tractor trailer and the road below, preventing smaller vehicles from sliding underneath. IIHS crash tests of one type of reinforced side guard proved it was strong enough to stop a car traveling 35 miles an hour from going under the truck during a collision.

During the IIHS underride guard tests, a midsize car struck the back of a 53-foot trailer. The recommended side underride guard bent, but stopped the car from sliding under.

When the test car struck the underside of the truck with the metal skirt currently installed on many trucks, the impact sheared off the top of the car completely. The metal shields used now on most trucks are designed to increase aerodynamics, not necessarily prevent underride collisions. In a real-life crash, had the car been occupied, the passengers would have likely sustained fatal injuries.

Tractor-trailers and Back Underride Guards

In the late 1960’s, actress Jayne Mansfield was killed when her car slid under a semi-trailer.  Despite calls for legislation to have all trucks fitted with rear-underride guards, also known as a Mansfield bar, the federal government did not require them until 1998.

Trucks currently are required to have metal rear guards, but they are not always strong enough to stop a car from sliding under. In 2001, the IIHS asked the government to improve rear underride guards, but not much has been done since.

Some big trucking lobbyists oppose any legislation, because of the added expense underride guards will cost owners and operators. They also say side underride guards have not been sufficiently tested and proven effective in the event of a crash.

Currently, three major U.S. cities require side underride guards on city-owned or operated trucks to save the lives of passengers in cars around them, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. Underride guards are required to be installed on trucks in Japan and multiple nations of the European Union.

Some studies estimate side guards can potentially reduce serious and fatal injuries in nearly 90% of car and truck crashes. Until they are required by law, drivers and pedestrians are still at risk of serious injury in a collision with a tractor-trailer.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Hold Careless Drivers Accountable for Dangerous Underride Accidents

If you sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, contact the Delaware truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Our highly-experienced team of personal injury lawyers fights for compensation for your injuries for medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington to serve residents throughout Delaware.

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

In Smyrna, Delaware, a tractor-trailer crash occurred which claimed the life of a woman. Around 6 am, on Monday morning, the fatal truck accident took place when a tractor-trailer, which was trying to make a right turn from US 13 onto Brentford Road, struck a sedan on the left side. Upon impact from the tractor-trailer crash, the sedan, which was driven by a woman from Clayton, Delaware, slammed into a pole and then overturned. The woman succumbed to her fatal injuries at the scene of the accident while the 73-year-old tractor-trailer driver from Maryland incurred no personal injuries during the crash.

Accidents involving tractor-trailers usually bring about injuries or potential fatalities for passengers and drivers. Due to the size and girth of the truck, even experienced operators may find it challenging to maneuver the vehicle safely when turning or traveling down a road. Unfortunately, serious accidents may result from driver fatigue or truck drivers who may not be given enough training.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact our Bear truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 or contact us online to see how we can assist you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.