How Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?

Difference Between Car and Truck Accidents
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It is easy to assume that all accidents involving motor vehicles are the same. After all, another vehicle hit you; why does it matter what kind of vehicle caused the collision?

Most motor vehicle accident claims have some similarities, but truck accidents are unique. From complex issues concerning liability to the extent of damages generally involved, trucking accident litigation is complicated and multifaceted. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney with the experience and resources to handle cases involving 18-wheelers.

Below we discuss some of the major ways truck accidents differ from car accidents and other vehicle claims. If you need immediate assistance with a truck accident claim, please don’t hesitate to contact Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in Houston, Texas, and nationwide.

1. The Extent of Injuries

Any vehicle has the potential to cause serious injuries. However, the likelihood of catastrophic injury in a truck accident is much higher than it is for collisions involving other types of vehicles.

One of the major reasons injuries are so serious in truck accidents is the difference in size and weight between the different types of vehicles. A fully loaded semi truck can weigh up to 40 tons and may rise nearly 15 feet off the ground. The average weight of a standard car, meanwhile, is between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds, with a height of less than 6 feet.

Given these differences, it should come as no surprise that passenger vehicles are no match for an 18-wheeler, especially when high speeds are involved. Many truck accidents result in serious injuries such as:

Tragically, semi truck accidents also carry a high risk of fatal injury.

2. The Extent of Damages

Major injuries result in significant medical expenses and other costs. As a result, the compensation sought in truck accident lawsuits is often higher than the amounts in car, motorcycle, and other vehicle accident claims. This is especially true in cases of wrongful death arising from a semi truck collision.

Insurance companies often contest truck accident claims involving catastrophic injury or wrongful death because of the damages sought in these cases. When choosing a truck accident lawyer, it is important to find an attorney or law firm that isn’t afraid to pursue compensation on your behalf – up to and including going to court.

The insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible on your claim. Therefore, you and your lawyer should share a goal to achieve the full recovery you deserve, whether that comes from settlement negotiations or a verdict at trial.

3. Liability in Truck Accident Cases

In car accident claims, the person at fault is usually quite straightforward. One driver may be wholly responsible for the accident, or both parties might share in the blame. Even if fault is disputed, the liability generally rests with one or both parties.

Truck accident claims, on the other hand, are significantly more complicated when it comes to determining responsibility. As you might expect, fault typically begins with the driver, who may have been traveling too fast, distracted, fatigued, etc.

However, fault in big rig crashes often stems from the negligence of the truck driver as well as one or more additional parties, including:

  • The driver’s employer: Trucking companies often pressure their drivers to do whatever it takes to deliver loads on time, up to and including speeding, skipping mandatory rest breaks, and more.
  • The owner of the tractor and/or trailer: Different parties may own different parts of the 18-wheeler, and it is important to investigate both in order to determine if inadequate maintenance or repairs were a factor in the crash.
  • Companies performing maintenance and repairs: Tractor and trailer owners are responsible for keeping their vehicles in working order, but liability for a crash stemming from maintenance or repair issues may also be the fault of the mechanics or technicians who worked on the rig, as well as their employer.
  • Auto parts manufacturers: A defective part on a semi truck is an accident waiting to happen. The automaker or company that manufactured the part may be liable if a malfunction caused the rig to crash.
  • Companies that load cargo: From rollover accidents to items falling into the road, a number of accidents can occur if the cargo on a semi trailer is not loaded and secured correctly. Loading and unloading is typically handled by third-party companies at shipping and distribution centers; errors on the part of the workers or the company may make them liable for a truck accident.

Patrick Daniel Law will meticulously investigate the truck accident to determine who is at fault. Then, our lawyers will develop a strategy to achieve the full compensation you deserve, and mercilessly pursue a favorable outcome in your case.

4. Multiple Insurance Companies

The majority of car accident cases center on one defendant: the at-fault driver, as well as his or her insurance company. As a result, settlement negotiations and, if necessary, proceedings in court are fairly straightforward.

When multiple parties may be at fault for a truck accident, however, it is safe to assume that each party will be represented by a different insurance company. Each of these companies will try to minimize what they pay out, so they will all try to shift blame.

Your lawyer will handle negotiations with the insurance companies involved with the goal of attaining the compensation you deserve. At Patrick Daniel Law, our meticulous preparation enables us to execute strategic negotiations in truck accident claims and other complex litigation.

5. Truck Accident Investigations

Most car accidents will be investigated by a local police officer or a member of the Texas Highway Patrol. The officer will note violations of local and state traffic laws as part of the accident report, and may advance an opinion on who was at fault for the accident. The entire accident report may be as little as one page long.

Truck accident investigations are much more comprehensive, and the reports tend to be much more complicated. Federal agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be involved, which in turn means that complex federal regulations will come into play.

Because these investigations are so much more complex than the inquiry into a car accident case, it is crucial to find an attorney with the experience and resources to navigate truck accident litigation effectively.

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, or you tragically lost a family member in a semi truck collision, it is vitally important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced truck accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your claim and pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.

Patrick Daniel Law serves clients in Houston, Texas, and throughout the country. Please call (713) 999-6666 or contact us online for a free case review.

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