The Six Critical Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents
While truck and car accidents have similarities, some key differences make crashes with heavy commercial vehicles far more complex than car crashes.
Severity of Accidents
Truck crashes are often much more severe than car crashes for the following reasons:
Size and weight of commercial trucks: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks are around 20-30 times heavier than passenger cars, potentially resulting in devastating injuries and fatalities for smaller vehicles’ occupants.
Hazardous cargo: Commercial vehicles often carry toxic or flammable materials. When a collision occurs, dangerous cargo can spill out and cause fires or explosions, increasing the risk of catastrophic injuries or death for all involved.
Longer stopping times: Trucks take much longer than cars to come to a complete stop due to their size and weight. This can increase the likelihood of a crash, particularly when a truck driver is distracted.
Fatigued truck drivers: Truck drivers often work long hours and may be pressured by the trucking company to meet tight deadlines, which can lead to drowsy driving. This is difficult to prove, but a clear violation of established law.
Number of Parties Involved
One crucial difference between car and truck accidents is the potential number of defendants in truck accident compensation claims. Car accidents can be relatively straightforward. In most cases, a driver is responsible, meaning the victim can recover damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
However, if you get hurt in a truck accident, you could have a case against one or all of the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- A truck or truck part manufacturer
- A repair shop
- The company loading trucks
- The owner of the truck
Since there are likely numerous defendants in your truck accident claim, you may have to handle multiple insurance companies and liable parties, potentially making settlement negotiations complex and demanding. Each wrongdoer involved will have the same goal, escape liability. It is the job of trained truck accident attorneys to ensure all parties are held accountable and provide fair compensation.
Compared to car accidents, truck crash claims can be tricky to prove. You may require substantial and compelling evidence to prove another’s fault, including using technical experts and accident reconstruction professionals. Evidence you may need can include:
- Trucking company records
- Truck data recorder
- Cargo manifests
- Servicing and maintenance records
- Driver hiring and retention records
The evidence you need to prove your claim can be hard to come by without a skilled truck accident attorney who can recover crucial documents from trucking companies, repair shops, and manufacturers. The responsible parties will seek to hold important documents back to escape liability. However, since trucking companies and drivers are held to strict rules and regulations, it is vital to recover these documents to prove liability.
Truck accidents can differ from car accidents because they tend to cause extensive property damage and severe injuries, potentially resulting in high damages. Therefore, by law, trucking companies must carry significantly more insurance coverage than the average car. For example, trucking companies must generally carry liability insurance of at least $750,000.
Greater insurance coverage can help victims recover greater compensation. This is particularly true if a person is wrongfully killed in a trucking accident or an individual suffers permanent injuries requiring extensive and ongoing medical treatment.
Many car accidents, such as fender-benders in urban traffic, may only involve minor or moderate injuries. However, when you experience an accident with a heavy and sizable commercial 18-wheeler, you and your passengers are much more likely to get severely harmed.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) determined that car occupants and other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, suffer the most fatalities in truck accidents.
Victims Need Experienced Legal Representation
Car accident victims may be able to handle their claims alone, especially if they suffer minor injuries and the other party’s fault is apparent. However, for truck accident victims, handling a claim on their own can be overwhelming, exhausting, and unsuccessful.
Trucking accident cases require a high level of knowledge and experience due to the complexity of state and federal laws governing the trucking industry and the comprehensive investigations that are typically required to determine liability.
Due to the high stakes involved in trucking accident cases, it is essential that victims work with a skilled truck accident attorney who has a successful track record and experience with handling such claims. The Ammons Law Firm can help truck accident victims navigate the legal system and recover the compensation they deserve.
You Could Qualify for Truck Accident Compensation
Truck accidents can result in devastating injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardships for victims and their families. However, if you or a loved one is affected, you could qualify for comprehensive compensation for your losses, such as:
Victims of trucking accidents could be entitled to all necessary medical treatment and future healthcare costs arising from their injuries, including:
- Emergency medical care
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Ongoing care
- Medical equipment
If you cannot work due to your injuries and lose income, you could be entitled to compensation for current and future lost wages, including overtime pay, bonuses, and benefits.
If another’s negligence caused your accident, you could be entitled to recover compensation for vehicle repair or replacement expenses. You could also receive reimbursement for other personal property destroyed or damaged in the accident, such as laptops, watches, phones, and clothing.
You could also recover any incidental expenses you incur due to the accident, such as transportation expenses to and from medical appointments or the cost of hiring help with household tasks while recovering.
If you or a loved one suffered significant or life-changing injuries in a truck accident, you may receive so-called “non-economic damages,” intended to compensate for pain and suffering. In detail, such damages could include:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and anguish
- Reduced life quality
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
It is important to note that damages can vary depending on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the extent of your financial damages, the degree of fault of the other party, and others. Since truck accidents differ from car accidents, hiring a truck accident attorney can give you the best chance of a fair recovery. The Ammons Law Firm’s skilled truck accident lawyers can walk you through your options and help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Signs You Need a Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents can be significantly more complex and harder to prove than car accidents. Working with a determined truck accident attorney can take the weight off your shoulders when you need it the most. Consider contacting a truck accident lawyer from our firm immediately if one of the following scenarios applies to your truck accident:
- Your injuries are severe or life-changing
- A loved one died in the crash
- You have steep medical expenses and other financial damages
- You have some fault in the truck accident
- You are permanently disabled
- It is unclear whether you can work again
- The fault for the accident is disputed
- An insurance company has rejected or minimized your claim
How the Ammons Law Firm Can Help
Our truck accident attorneys have the experience and expertise required to handle your claim from start to finish, allowing you to concentrate on your health and recovery. We can:
- Offer legal advice and guidance
- Gather the evidence needed to prove your case
- Work with industry experts to identify all liable parties
- Calculate your damages to determine the worth of your claim
- Negotiate aggressively with insurance companies
- Present your case powerfully at trial
- Fight for you on a “no win, no fee” basis
Contacting a truck accident attorney immediately after an accident can be critical, as trucking companies or other defendants may try to cover their tracks, and time-sensitive evidence could disappear.
The Ammons Law Firm’s determined truck accident attorneys can identify all potential at-fault parties and discover all avenues for compensation. We leave no stone unturned to prove your case and fight for the maximum possible compensation.
Contact Us Today
The time to file a truck accident claim may be limited. Get started now and contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discover your next best steps.
When you or a loved one dies in a truck accident and need help recovering compensation to cover medical expenses and your pain and suffering, we can help you.