How are Car and Truck Accident Cases Different?

May 17, 2023 – Paul Hammack

South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers | Hammack Law Firm | Call 864-326-3333

From the outside, car and truck accidents seem like similar motor vehicle accidents. You would assume the legal process would be identical for both types of accidents. However, they are quite different cases in terms of the legal issues that arise from them.

These differences stem from trucks being much larger and heavier than cars, which means truck accidents are often more severe than car accidents.

In this post, we will explore some key differences between car and truck accidents.

Severity of Injuries

One of the biggest differences between car and truck accidents is the severity of the injuries that can result from the size and weight differential between the two. A truck weighs several tons more than a car and thus can cause far more damage to passengers.

For example, a truck may be able to crush a car in a collision, which can lead to catastrophic injuries or even death. As a result, the damages awarded in truck accident cases are typically much higher than those in car accident cases.

Liability

Liability is another key difference between car accidents and truck accidents. In car accidents, liability is typically straightforward – one driver is usually at fault, and they will be responsible for paying damages to the other driver.

In contrast, truck accidents are much more complex due to the fact that multiple parties are often involved in a truck accident, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, and other third parties. Determining liability in a truck accident can be challenging, and it often requires a thorough investigation by an experienced attorney.

Regulations

Trucking companies and their drivers are subject to various federal and state regulations that don’t apply to regular car drivers.

To avoid accidents caused by driver fatigue or overwork, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established rules on how long a truck driver can drive in a day and how often they should take breaks. The main set of rules for truck drivers are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which set the minimum safety standards for commercial motor vehicle drivers and trucking companies.

In the case of a truck accident, it’s crucial to investigate whether the trucking company and its driver were following these regulations, as noncompliance can indicate that negligence was present.

Insurance Coverage

Trucking companies and their drivers are required to carry much higher insurance limits than regular car drivers. This is because the damages from a truck accident are typically much more significant than those from a car accident. For example, a truck accident may involve multiple vehicles and result in considerable property damage and serious injuries. As a result, trucking companies and their drivers are required to carry insurance policies with much higher limits than regular car drivers.
Expertise Required

Finally, it is worth noting that truck accident cases typically require much more expertise than car accident cases. Due to the complex nature of these cases, attorneys specializing in truck accident cases often have more experience and resources than attorneys handling car accident cases. These attorneys may work with accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and other specialists to build a strong case on behalf of their clients.

Other Factors

Several other factors differentiate car and truck accidents and help to explain the extra-complexity of truck accident cases, including:

Size and Weight

One of the most apparent differences between cars and trucks is their size and weight. Trucks are significantly larger and heavier than cars, which means that they have the potential to cause more damage in an accident.

Braking Distance

Because of their larger size and weight, trucks require more distance to come to a complete stop than cars. This means that if a truck driver is following a vehicle too closely and needs to stop suddenly, they may not be able to do so in time to avoid a collision.

Blind Spots

Trucks have more significant blind spots than cars, which means that truck drivers may not be able to see other vehicles on the road as easily. Cars driving in these blind spots may be at risk of being hit or involved in an accident, making liability a bit trickier to prove in truck accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road and may become fatigued, which can increase the risk of an accident. Car drivers are less likely to experience the same level of fatigue.

Maintenance

Trucks require more maintenance than cars, and if a truck is not maintained correctly, it may be at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. Car drivers are less likely to encounter maintenance issues that could lead to an accident.

Liability

In the event of an accident, liability can be more complex in a truck accident than in a car accident. Whereas in a car accident, there is typically one driver at fault, in a truck accident, multiple parties may be involved in a trucking operation, including the driver, the trucking company, and the cargo owner being transported.

Conclusion

Car accidents and truck accidents are two very different types of accidents that require specific legal approaches. If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is essential to work with an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. They can help you navigate the complexities of a truck accident case and work to secure the compensation you deserve.

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