How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?
Cases involving truck accidents differ greatly from cases that involve other types of vehicles. A number of factors make truck accident litigation more complex than a car wreck lawsuit. Because of this, it is crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of your case.
The seasoned truck accident lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright have extensive experience in these complicated cases. We are intimate with national and state trucking regulations, and we are passionate about helping accident victims pursue the just compensation to which they are entitled under the law.
Below, we discuss the differences between a truck crash case and a car accident claim.
1. The Size of the Vehicles
One of the most obvious differences between car and truck accidents is the difference in the size of the vehicles involved. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and are as long as five passenger vehicles parked bumper-to-bumper.
This extra length and weight means:
- Truck accidents occur with greater force
- 18-wheelers take longer to stop than smaller vehicles
- Tractor-trailers have larger blind spots, hindering visibility and increasing the risk of a crash
The structure of commercial trucks also varies from passenger vehicles. In the event of a driver error or mechanical malfunction, the cab can move in a different direction from the trailer, as in the cases of trailer detachments and jackknife accidents.
2. The Magnitude of Injuries
A car crash can cause severe, life-altering injuries. However, the likelihood of sustaining a serious injury in a trucking accident is considerably higher. This is true both because of the speeds at which tractor-trailer wrecks frequently occur and because of the difference in size and weight between a big rig and a passenger vehicle.
Some of the catastrophic injuries that commonly occur in truck accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Burn injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Organ damage and internal bleeding
In the most tragic cases, a truck accident can result in death. If you lost a loved one in a truck wreck, you may be able to seek compensation for funeral costs, lost benefits, and other losses in a wrongful death claim.
3. Potentially Liable Parties
Car wreck claims typically involve the negligence of one or more drivers. However, that is not the case with commercial trucking accidents. In addition to the driver of the 18-wheeler, fault can also lie with:
- The trucking company
- The party or parties responsible for the truck’s maintenance
- The manufacturer of the truck, trailer, or parts of the vehicle
- The party or parties responsible for loading the truck’s cargo
Determining liability in a truck accident case is very complex. The fact that each of the potentially at-fault parties may have its own insurance company that will undoubtedly try to shirk blame and avoid paying fair settlements further complicates matters.
A truck accident lawyer must conduct a thorough investigation to determine which of the potentially liable parties in your wreck may share responsibility for your injuries. After filing your claim, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf with the various parties and insurance companies, and take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
4. The Amount of Compensation
Because of the extent and severity of injuries in truck accident claims, the amount of compensation pursued in these cases is often higher than in other auto accident claims.
Following a collision with a big rig, you may likely face significant physical, emotional, and financial losses. You may experience chronic pain and trauma from your injuries. You may be facing high medical bills and time away from work that you can’t afford. In the event that you lost a loved one in the crash, you are likely emotionally devastated and frightened about your future and the wellbeing of your family.
The truck accident attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright understand the hardships you may be facing in this difficult time. Depending on the details of your case, we may be able to help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expense
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Lost earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
5. Trucking Laws and Regulations
Tractor-trailers are commercial vehicles and subject to a number of state and federal regulations that govern their record-keeping, hours of service, and much more. Federal agencies, such as the National Transportation Safety Board investigate these often-catastrophic collisions.
These factors make litigation in commercial trucking accidents much more complicated than claims involving smaller passenger vehicles. It is crucial to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to handle every aspect of your case so you can focus on the important task of healing.
Contact Our Orlando Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been hurt in a wreck involving a truck, bus, or other commercial vehicle, contact Colling Gilbert Wright as soon as possible. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can conduct an investigation and begin building your case.
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Contact us today online or at (407) 712-7300 to discuss your case for free with an experienced truck accident lawyer. We serve Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and other areas in Florida.