Truck accidents and car accidents can have similar causes, but the results are often far different. A number of factors make truck accidents far more complicated that most car accidents. If you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck, you should know these key differences.
In many car accidents, those involved may walk away unharmed or with only minor cuts and bruises. This is very rare in trucking accidents. Due to the sheer size and weight of most semis, the damage caused by accidents with them is more serious, and the injuries sustained can frequently be catastrophic or fatal. In 2015, a total of 3,852 people were killed in accidents with a truck, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In these accidents, 69% of the deaths were occupants of cars, and 15% of these deaths were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
When dealing with a car accident, it is likely that the only insurance companies involved will be yours and the other driver’s company. In truck accidents, there will be multiple insurance policies involved. It is likely that the trucking company, driver, and the owner or lessee of the truck will each have a policy involved in the accident. Determining the liability of each party can be a nightmare, so an experienced truck accident attorney is mandatory to have on your side.
Like insurance policies, there will be multiple parties involved in the accident. The trucking company, driver, manufacturer, and owner or lessee may all have liability in the accident, depending on the situation. Proper maintenance can reduce the chances of accidents, but mechanical failures can arise from poor maintenance or faulty manufacturing. Failures can also be contributed to by a careless or inexperienced driver. Records of onboard devices may show that the truck driver was breaking regulations by speeding, driving recklessly, or working beyond the legally allowable time. There are dozens of factors to be considered in an accident, which can take a great deal of knowledge to uncover and evaluate.
State and Federal Regulations
Commercial trucks are subject to a number of state and federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)create and enforce regulations that control the load weights, time behind the wheel, and other laws to keep trucks safe on the road. If these regulations are broken in the event of an accident, records of these violations can be used to assign liability in your case. Drowsy truckers are a danger on the highway, but tight deadlines and strict punishments can push truckers to remain behind the wheel beyond what is safe. Even if they are within their legal hours, the driver or company may be liable for the accident if it can be shown that the driver was on the road when they were too drowsy to drive. Your attorney may also look over records and logs for speed violations, unusual braking activity, or altered service hours.
Negligence can be difficult to prove, but when a truck is involved, there is more than one party that can be proven negligent. Drivers should be specifically trained and licensed to haul certain loads, and have an understanding of safety procedures for heavy, oversized, or volatile loads. Maintenance must be performed and the company, owner, or lessee of the vehicle must ensure that all standards are met. Companies must assign loads to drivers with the correct qualifications to haul the load.
Because of the complexity and severity of trucking accidents, it is important to contact a qualified truck accident attorney for help. They should have the necessary knowledge and skill to investigate the cause of your accident and assign liability to the many parties involved. Time is important in trucking accidents, as many companies maintain lawyers to immediately investigate and document accident scenes. Begin building your case as soon as possible for the best outcome.
Foley & Foley has offered compassionate legal advocacy since 1974 to clients in Western and Central New York. Our team of Palmyra truck accident attorneys is dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you through this difficult time. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.