Commercial Truck Crashes vs. Car Accidents: Key Differences

Both truck and car accidents can wreak havoc, and leave those involved injured or even dead. If you have been involved in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve compensation. There are key differences between these types of accidents that can greatly change the way they are handled, however. Learn more about these differences and how they can affect your claim for compensation.

Severity of Accidents and Injuries

Auto accidents can frequently be minor, and may not even cause injury. Due to their large size, commercial trucks are typically responsible for much more severe accidents. The injuries sustained in an accident involving a truck are often life-changing and catastrophic, if not fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 20,000 people were killed in truck accidents in 2012, and 2.09 million were injured.

The Defendants

In a car accident, you usually will only have one defendant involved in the case. In a truck accident, you may be suing the driver, their employer, the renter of the truck, and the manufacturer of the vehicle. Your legal action becomes far more complicated if your accident involves a truck. There will be multiple parties whose liability will require investigation, and often court battles are lengthy and expensive.

In addition to multiple parties to deal with, each will have their own insurance that you will have to fight with. The company, driver, and renter of the truck may each have a policy that can be involved in the claim, and sorting out your settlement can be far more complex than when a single party and a single insurance policy is involved. You will need the help of an attorney who has experience with truck accidents to guide you through your case. They should have the knowledge to handle multiple parties, lawyers, and insurance policies. They also should know how to advocate for the highest settlement figure, or be able defend your case to court if they cannot acheive a reasonable settlement for you.

Federal and State Regulations

Truck drivers are governed by specific federal and state regulations that limit how long they can work, how long they must rest, how fast they can drive, how much weight they can safely haul, and a number of other factors involved in their jobs. If they are found to be breaking any of these regulations when involved in your accident, it can be much easier to prove negligence. However, proving just which party is responsible for the infraction can introduce new difficulties. Drivers may be pushed by companies to work longer than safe or haul overweight loads. They may also speed to make tight deadlines or alter records to reflect legal hours when working beyond them.

Drivers are only allowed to work for 14 hours before they must rest for 10 hours. Known as Hours-of-Service, this regulation is designed to keep over-tired drivers off the road. It is still possible for tired truck drivers to be behind the wheel if they were unable to rest during their rest time or needed to drive a long distance to the terminal to start their work. Drivers may also be pressed to work beyond the allowable time.

Maintenance is a requirement for commercial trucks, but some companies may forgo or limit proper care to save money or time. Repairs and regular inspections are necessary for safe operation of heavy trucks. If trucks are not appropriately maintained, it is possible that the truck may have dangerous break downs or failures. Even with proper repairs, mechanical failures can occur. If proven that regular operating conditions caused the truck to become unreasonably dangerous, the manufacturer of the vehicle may be liable for the accident.

Many trucks carry on-board logging systems, including Hours-of-Service logs, cameras, and black boxes that record braking activity and speed. The information from these systems can be examined for information that a regulation was violated, and this action lead to the accident. Cameras may be examined for driver activity, such as distracted driving, or traffic and weather conditions that contributed to the accident.

Uncovering evidence that regulations have been broken takes skill and dedication. Your attorney will look for discrepancies or other signs of altered records, examine on-board log systems or camera footage for causes of the accident, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to build your case. It is difficult to take on commercial trucking companies on your own, but experienced legal representation can help you succeed in your claim.

Business Interest

Commercial trucking is a business and accidents cause a disruption of business. You can expect that any cases involving a commercial truck will move quickly as the company tries to minimize the damage to profits experienced in the wake of the accident. They will prepare their defense quickly and have lawyers on retainer for the very purpose of handling accidents

Both truck and car accidents can wreak havoc, and leave those involved injured or even dead. If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve compensation. There are key differences between these types of accidents that can greatly change the way they are handled, however. Learn more about these differences and how they can affect your claim for compensation.

Severity of Accidents and Injuries

Auto accidents can frequently be minor, and may not even cause injury. Due to their large size, commercial trucks are typically responsible for much more severe accidents. The injuries sustained in an accident involving a truck are often life-changing and catastrophic, if not fatal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 20,000 people were killed in truck accidents in 2012, and 2.09 million were injured.

The Defendants

In a car accident, you usually will only have one defendant involved in the case. In a truck accident, you may be suing the driver, their employer, the renter of the truck, and the manufacturer of the vehicle. Your legal action becomes far more complicated if your accident involves a truck. There will be multiple parties whose liability will require investigation, and often court battles are lengthy and expensive.

In addition to multiple parties to deal with, each will have their own insurance that you will have to fight with. The company, driver, and renter of the truck may all have a policy that can be involved in the claim, and sorting out your settlement can be far more complex than when a single party and a single insurance policy is involved. You will need the help of an attorney who has experience with truck accidents to guide you through your case. They should have the knowledge to handle multiple parties, lawyers, and insurance policies, as well as settling for the highest compensation available, or taking your case to court if they cannot get a reasonable settlement for you.

Federal and State Regulations

Truck drivers are governed by specific federal and state regulations that limit how long they can work, how long they must rest, how fast they can drive, how much weight they can safely haul, and a number of other factors involved in their jobs. If they are found to be breaking any of these regulations when involved in your accident, it can be much easier to prove negligence. However, proving just which party is responsible for the infraction can introduce new difficulties. Drivers may be pushed by companies to work longer than safe or haul overweight loads. They may also speed to make tight deadlines or alter records to reflect legal hours when working beyond them.

Drivers are only allowed to work for 14 hours before they must rest for 10 hours. Known as Hours-of-Service, this regulation is designed to keep over-tired drivers off the road. It is still possible for tired truck drivers to be behind the wheel, if they were unable to rest during their rest time, or drove a long distance to the terminal to start their work. Drivers may also be pressed to work beyond the allowable time.

Maintenance is a requirement for commercial trucks, but some companies may forgo or limit proper care to save money or time. Repairs and regular inspections are necessary for safe operation of heavy trucks. If trucks are not appropriately maintained, it is possible that the truck may experience dangerous break downs or failures. Even with proper repairs, mechanical failures can occur. If proven that regular operating conditions caused the truck to become unreasonably dangerous, the manufacturer of the vehicle may be liable for the accident.

Many trucks carry on-board logging systems, including Hours-of-Service logs, cameras, and black boxes that record braking activity and speed. The information from these systems can be examined for information that a regulation was violated, and this action lead to the accident. Cameras may be examined for driver activity, such as distracted driving, or traffic and weather conditions that contributed to the accident.

Uncovering evidence that regulations have been broken takes skill and dedication. Your attorney will look for discrepancies or other signs of altered records, examine on-board log systems or camera footage for causes of the accident, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to build your case. It is difficult to take on commercial trucking companies on your own, but experienced legal representation can help you succeed in your claim.

Business interest

Commercial trucking is a business and accidents cause a disruption of business. You can expect that any cases involving a commercial truck will move quickly as the company tries to minimize the damage to profits experienced in the wake of the accident. They will prepare their defense quickly, and have lawyers on retainer for the very purpose of accidents that involve one of the company’s trucks. It is important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible to begin your own case. Legal representation is necessary in these cases, so be sure that your team is experienced, skilled, and prepared to take on your difficult case.

Have you been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck? Don’t face your case alone. Our NYC truck accident attorneys are dedicated to helping injured clients receive their deserved compensation. We have the know-how to represent cases against multiple parties, and we will work with you to build a personalized case that gives you the best chances of settling your case to your satisfaction. Contact Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP to begin your case with a free case consultation.

Categories: Truck Accidents