Commercial Truck Accidents and Car Accidents Are Not the Same: What Victims Need to Know

Gabriel A. Assaad
Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

On the surface, car and truck accidents can seem similar: they both usually end in injuries and cause major vehicle damages. However, when you take a closer look, you'll notice the two types of collisions have many differences. Many types of large truck accidents can occur, which pose unique circumstances for victims and those at fault. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to obtain the help you need and deserve by understanding these differences.

Injuries Are More Severe in Truck Accidents

Injuries sustained in a large truck accident are usually far worse than those in a car wreck, and often, they end lives. According to the American Trucking Associations, truck crashes are more likely to result in fatalities than those only involving cars. In 2009, 1 percent of truck crashes resulted in Trucks and Cars Traveling Together on the Roadwaysa fatality, versus .5 percent for car crashes. In large truck vs. vehicle accidents, more than 75 percent of the fatalities were motorists or passengers in other vehicles, and 15 percent were large truck occupants.

Although strong, a car’s structure doesn’t provide a huge amount of protection when involved in a collision. The smaller a vehicle is, the less structure and size it has to absorb crash energy. This often means that the passengers inside the smaller vehicle become seriously injured when they are involved in large truck collisions. Additionally, a truck typically weighs more than a car does, and in effect, can cause much more damage.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that between 2011 and 2012, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 5 percent from 3,633 to 3,802, and the vehicle involvement rate for large trucks in fatal crashes increased by 4 percent. Additionally, between 2011 and 2012, the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased 22 percent from 63,000 to 77,000.

Since motorists sustain injuries in large truck accidents that far worse than those experienced in car crashes, the amount of compensation victims are able to receive is usually much more substantial. Truck accident victims need the help of personal injury attorneys in order to get the compensation they need.

Insurance Protection Is Greater in Truck Accidents

Another reason why getting into an accident with a truck is unlike getting into a crash with a car is because of the type of insurance that is involved.

Truckers are required to carry certain minimum limits of protective insurance coverage. This is usually to cover the severity of injuries sustained in a collision. This is important for an accident victim, because it means there's more potential for fair compensation to pay for the medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time lost from work as a result of the accident.

Federal Rules Regulate Cars and Trucks Differently

If you operate a vehicle, you have to follow key factors of your state laws, including maintaining a current driver's license, purchasing adequate insurance, and abstaining from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Usually, law enforcement will check for these three things if two non-commercial vehicles are involved in an accident.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to abide by guidelines regulated by the federal government. Some of the rules include:

  • Keeping a driver’s log book
  • Taking a mandatory rest period between driving shifts
  • Performing preventative truck maintenance and inspection
  • Checking and understanding brake performance
  • Complying with routine alcohol and drug testing
  • Maintaining specific driver documentation and conduct

If a commercial truck and car accident was caused by violating any of the regulations, victims may be able to make a claim against the driver or the trucking company. Since this type of accident is far more complicated than one involving a car, it's beneficial to have a knowledgeable truck accident attorney on your side.

Get the Help You Need

Truck companies hire high-powered attorneys to defend against accident victims to avoid paying compensation. Companies also often use insurance adjusters who are trained in manipulating victims to give up their rights. But with an experienced attorney on your side, you have a greater opportunity to receive the settlement you deserve. The attorneys of Kennedy Hodges, LLP, understand the details of truck vs. car accidents and will fight for you. Schedule your free consultation by calling 855.947.0707.