Truck accidents and car accidents are both terrible events that no one should have to experience. At the same time, they’re an unfortunate reality of modern life. While both types of accidents can result in serious injuries and fatalities, there are significant differences between the two. Understanding these differences can be crucial for victims of truck accidents, as well as their families and loved ones.
Aside from the practical differences, truck accidents can involve additional legal complications compared to car accidents. Consequently, if you have suffered because of a truck accident, contact an experienced attorney today.
Car vs. Truck Accidents: Five Key Differences
It isn’t that hard to imagine the difference between a truck accident and a car accident. That said, semi-truck accidents are significantly more dangerous compared to car accidents. And they have other distinguishing characteristics.
Difference #1 – Size and Weight
The most obvious factor that makes truck accidents different from car accidents is the size and weight of the vehicles involved. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a semi-truck can have a gross weight of up to 80,000 pounds, while the average car weighs only 2,000 to 4,000 pounds. As a result, truck accidents are often much more severe and can cause catastrophic injuries. Fatalities are also far more likely.
Difference #2 – The Complexity of Investigation
Accidents involving semi-trucks are generally much more complex to investigate than car accidents. For one, there is the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks. Second, there are often several corporate parties involved in the operation of a semi-truck. There’s the truck driver, the trucking company, and the truck manufacturer. You may also have to consider several other parties, such as maintenance providers or loading companies. All of these parties will have different insurance policies and legal responsibilities, making it difficult to determine who is at fault. Furthermore, it is possible that the actions of multiple parties combined to cause the accident. By contrast, you generally only have to contend with one or two other parties in a car accident.
Difference #3 – Federal Regulations
While relatively few federal regulations affect regular cars, semi-trucks are subject to a litany of strict federal regulations. These regulations govern all kinds of issues, including:
- The maximum weight and size of trucks;
- The number of hours drivers can spend on the road;
- How trucking companies should preserve records;
- The minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers; and
- The inspection, repair, and maintenance of semi-trucks.
Violations of these regulations are often a major contributing factor in truck accidents. In addition, violation of these regulations can have a decisive impact on the outcome of a legal case. However, you’ll need to retain an attorney who is familiar with these regulations.
Difference #4 – Severity of Injuries
Truck accidents often result in more severe injuries than car accidents. In addition, severe injuries are more common in truck accidents than in regular car accidents. Victims of truck accidents may suffer from a wide range of catastrophic injuries and disabling injuries, including:
- Spinal cord damage,
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI),
- Severe burns, and
- Crushed bones or limbs.
All of these injuries can have lifelong consequences. Even if full recovery is possible, it is quite possible you will need extensive medical treatment and years of ongoing care.
Difference #5 – Insurance Coverage
Thanks to some of the federal regulations we mentioned before, trucking companies have to carry much higher insurance coverage than your average car owner. This legal requirement recognizes the seriousness of truck accidents, and the mandated insurance amount is intended to cover damages in the event of an accident. That said, insurance companies may still try to avoid paying out claims or may offer absurdly low settlements to victims. Without the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney, you’ll find it difficult to navigate the complex world of truck insurance providers.
What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?
In any kind of accident, your first duty is to make sure everyone is safe. In a truck accident, that means making sure your passengers and the truck driver are out of harm’s way. Sometimes, this may mean moving all involved vehicles to the side of the road.
Your next step is to call the police and medical assistance. If you have injuries, you should have them treated immediately. But even if you feel fine, it is essential to get checked out by a doctor, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
Once the police are on their way, consider taking a few pictures or videos of the accident. You should also trade contact information with the truck driver. Also, ensure you get the contact information of any witnesses, as their testimony may prove vital down the road.
Next, notify your insurance company of the accident. Aside from creating a definite record of the accident, notifying your insurance company will help get the ball rolling for replacing your damaged property and paying for your medical care.
Finally, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney. An experienced attorney can provide several benefits. Specifically, they can help you navigate the legal process, deal with insurance companies, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. These efforts will boost the chances of a successful lawsuit and maximize your damages in court. It will also help you focus on recovering without having to deal with the stress of fighting for your rights.
Ready to Get the Results You Deserve? Call Gerling Law Today.
Semi-truck accident victims have legal rights and receive extensive protection under the law. Consequently, you should take action if you or a loved one have suffered because of a semi-truck accident.
At Gerling Law, we understand the challenges that come with picking up the pieces after a truck accident. Thanks to their collective decades of experience and consistent track record of success, our attorneys stand out from the crowd. On top of that, we treat our clients as individuals, not mere numbers, and we carefully explore every legal avenue in each case.
Another priority for us is to give everyone a chance at getting justice. Because of that, we work on a contingency basis, which means we won’t charge you any legal fees unless we win your case. Furthermore, our initial consultations are always free, giving you an opportunity to learn more about your case without any financial commitment. We want you to know that we’re committed to helping you navigate this difficult time in your life. Call us today or reach out to us online to learn how we can help you.