How Trucking Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
September 29, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Truck Accidents
Large truck accidents cause thousands of traffic deaths and traumatic injuries each year. In 2021, approximately 154,993 people were injured, and 5,788 died in commercial truck accidents in the United States. Over 6% of fatal truck accidents occurred in Florida.
Sharing the road with semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other large vehicles can be dangerous. Trucking accidents differ from car accidents in several ways. Some of those differences can make being involved in a truck accident more costly than being involved in a typical car accident.
Five Differences Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents
Other than the apparent difference in the size and weight of the vehicles involved in the accident, trucking accidents differ from car accidents in these ways:
The Trucking Company Could Be Liable for Damages
In most car accidents, the drivers are the only parties involved in the claim. Occasionally, you might have a government entity, car manufacturer, or other third party involved because their negligence contributed to the cause of the car accident.
However, trucking companies are typically named as liable parties in a truck accident case. A truck company is responsible for many things, including but not limited to:
- Using reasonable care to hire truck drivers with experience and a safe driving record
- Enforce federal and state trucking regulations, including limits on hours of service
- Implementing procedures to inspect, repair, and maintain the trucks
- Conduct drug and alcohol screenings required by law
If the trucking company is negligent, it can be sued for damages caused by a truck accident. However, the trucking company could also be liable under vicarious liability. An employer can be held legally liable for its employee’s negligent acts if the employee acted within the scope of their job.
Holding the trucking company liable in a truck accident claim significantly increases the money available to pay your damages.
Trucks Have Larger Blind Spots
Truck drivers have a duty to check for traffic, people, and other obstacles when turning, parking, changing lanes, and making other maneuvers. However, trucks have much larger blind spots that can extend all the way down the side of the truck.
Because of the large blind spots, driving next to a large truck can increase the risk of being involved in an accident. Likewise, cutting in front of a truck can cause a truck crash because it takes trucks much longer to stop than cars.
Drivers who cut off a truck could face allegations of contributory fault, which could significantly reduce the amount of money they receive for their personal injury claim.
Federal and State Trucking Regulations May Play a Role
Federal and Florida trucking regulations could impact a personal injury case involving a commercial truck. Individuals and companies are required to obey trucking regulations and rules. Many of these rules are designed to reduce the risk of accidents and make trucks safe on the road.
Violations of trucking regulations might be used as evidence to prove fault in a truck accident case. For example, a truck driver exceeds the maximum driving hours set by the FMCSA in the days leading up to a truck accident. A Miami truck accident lawyer might use the violation as evidence to support allegations that the truck driver’s fatigue contributed to the cause of a truck crash.
Catastrophic Injuries Case Permanent Impairments
All traffic accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments. However, there is a much higher risk when a large truck is involved in the crash.
A passenger vehicle can’t withstand a collision with an 80,000-pound semi-truck. The truck will likely crush the vehicle, severely injuring or killing the occupants. Furthermore, truck accidents often involve multiple vehicles, which also increases the risk of traumatic injuries.
Future Damages Can Be Substantial
When a truck accident victim sustains permanent impairments, they might require long-term nursing and/or personal care. The person might be unable to work or experience a substantial reduction in their earning capacity. Depending on the severity of the impairment, the victim may also experience a significant decrease in their quality of life.
The future damages for a truck accident could total millions of dollars. Therefore, trucking companies and their insurance providers aggressively investigate and fight truck accident claims, searching for ways to reduce their liability. Therefore, you might face allegations of blame and failing to mitigate damages.
Experienced Miami truck accident lawyers understand these tactics. They expect the companies to use these tactics and prepare to fiercely fight to defend you against these allegations.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You deserve compensation for all damages caused by a truck accident. Working with a lawyer as early as possible in the case gives you a better chance of receiving fair compensation for your damages.