The average American drives about 13,500 miles each year. Meanwhile, the average truck driver can log well over 100,000 miles annually. Combining these two facts reveals one thing: if you’re on the road in a small car, it’s likely you’ll be sharing the road with a large semi-truck.
Since 18-wheelers weigh tens of thousands of pounds more than a regular car, they tend to cause a lot of destruction during an accident. In 2018, 4,136 people died in accidents involving large trucks. About 67 percent of them were occupants of smaller vehicles. Even when truck accidents aren’t deadly, survivors are left with serious injuries that are difficult to heal from and expensive to treat. These facts combine to make noting the difference between truck accidents and accidents that only survive smaller vehicles important.
Knowing why truck accidents are different from regular car accidents can help survivors and families discover what their options are after they’ve suffered from an incident.
The Difference Between Truck Accidents & Car Accidents
Truck accidents are different than car accidents because the recovery process after one is usually more complicated for multiple reasons.
The three primary differences relate to the following categories:
- Financial Liability
- Driver Responsibility & Federal Regulations
- Injury severity
In a car accident, only parties directly responsible for an accident are responsible. This means that liability issues usually only involve the drivers of small vehicles. All states require motorists to carry a minimum level of insurance to cover any damages to another driver’s car if they cause an accident. If negligence caused an accident that resulted in injuries, survivors can file a personal injury claim to recover the damages associated with it.
Truck accident insurance policies aren’t simple. The amount they cover is based on how much a truck is worth, what it hauls, a driver’s age, how much commercial experience they have, and more.
In a truck accident, determining liability is much more complex. Not only can the truck driver be held liable, but the trucking company can be to. The commercial trucking industry is regulated by the federal government and is required to ensure that the trucks meet federal safety standards.
Possible parties that are liable after a truck accident include:
- Truck companies
- Truck drivers
- Parts manufacturers
- Other drivers
- And more
After a truck accident, many different documents must be reviewed to ensure that the trucking company and truck driver were compliant with federal regulations. For example, if it is discovered that the trucking company failed to perform scheduled maintenance on the truck’s brakes, the trucking company can share liability for the accident. Or, if a company required a driver to work long hours, it might be liable for encouraging them to drive unsafely.
An extensive investigation is usually required to determine who is financially liable for the destruction caused by truck accidents. Often, it isn’t only one party that’s liable for an accident.
Driver Responsibility & Federal Regulations
Since truck drivers share the roads with casual drivers as they make a living, they’re held to a higher standard of driving. Every truck driver must have a special license, follow proper driving rules, and always perform all necessary safety checks to make sure they’re being safe. Complicating matters is the fact that truck driving is federally regulated since the process often involves crossing state lines.
Drivers also must respect the limitations of their truck. For example, trucks weighing 80,000 pounds need much more space to stop. When a truck driver doesn’t keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead of them, they can be liable for an accident after not being able to safely stop their vehicle.
One of the most common aspects of any serious truck accident is the severity of injuries they cause those involved to sustain. While car accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries, they’re almost guaranteed during truck accidents. This is because of their difference in size and weight when compared to other cars.
Truck accident injuries are often severe enough to receive the label of catastrophic. Legall any medically, a catastrophic injury is one that changes the rest of a person's life. These injuries require extensive treatment and have permanent repercussions that survivors must deal with. Besides being difficult medically, these injuries place a financial strain on people because of costly medical treatment and how they often force a person to lose their ability to work as they once did.
In short, truck accident claims can have significantly larger settlement amounts because they are more destructive to the health and property of the people they affect.
Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it is important that you hire an attorney that specializes in commercial truck accidents. Many attorneys are more than qualified to handle a run-of-the-mill car accident case but do not have the expertise and knowledge of trucking regulations to properly handle a truck accident case. Arnold & Itkin has the knowledge and experience to represent victims of even the most complex truck accident cases.
When we take a case, we’re prepared to devote the time, effort, and resources it requires for success. We've stood up to large insurance companies, reckless drivers, and negligent truck operators to make sure our clients have the financial stability required to rebuild their life.
Call our truck accident lawyers now at (888) 490-0442 to learn more about what we do. A consultation is free, quick, and confidential.