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How Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents? A Personal Injury Attorney Explains

truck accident

At first glance, it may seem that the biggest difference between an accident with another car and a commercial vehicle is size. As an experienced truck accident attorney who has handled many of these cases, I’ve learned that size difference is only the start of the story. Truly understanding these cases requires unraveling a complex web of facts and liability.

Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents: Understanding the Differences

There are two distinct differences that make accidents involving trucks more severe.

Size of the Vehicle

Truck accidents are often severe due to the differences in size and weight between trucks and standard passenger vehicles. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger car, drastically affecting its stopping distance, impact force, and overall maneuverability. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the smaller vehicle bears the brunt of the impact, often leading to catastrophic damage and serious or fatal injuries to its occupants.

Types of Accidents

The types of accidents involving trucks are also distinct. One example is the underride accident, where a smaller vehicle gets trapped under a truck’s trailer. This type of collision is particularly dangerous and often results in severe injuries or fatalities for the driver of the smaller vehicle. 

Another example is jackknifing, where a truck folds at the point where the cab connects to the trailer, creating an extremely hazardous situation for surrounding vehicles. The trailer may cross multiple lanes, sometimes perpendicularly to traffic, increasing the odds of a head-on collision or an underride accident.

Large trucks experience rollovers if cargo is loaded incorrectly or the driver speeds too fast around curves. When the vehicle’s center of gravity is disrupted, it can lead to part of or the entire truck rolling over.

The scale of truck accidents can lead to significant traffic disruptions, extensive emergency service responses, and long-term environmental cleanup, especially if hazardous materials are involved.

Legal and Insurance Complexities in Truck Accidents

The aftermath of a truck accident is not just a matter of determining fault and seeking compensation—it’s a complex web of legal and insurance considerations. 

First, because trucking is a commercial activity, multiple parties such as the truck driver, the trucking company, vehicle manufacturers, cargo loaders, and government entities may share a portion of the liability. Unlike dealing with an individual in a car accident, truck accidents introduce layers of legal complexity. The truck could have been loaded improperly, placing it off balance and making it hard to control. Maintenance failures could cause a critical part to fail, leading to an accident. It’s not unheard of for companies to push their drivers beyond legal and physical limits, leading to increased fatigue that often results in accidents.

Second, these entities often have legal teams and insurance adjusters dedicated to minimizing their financial responsibility. They often deploy rapid response teams to truck accident scenes to start building a defense immediately, a practice not typically seen in car accident cases. This is a major reason why you should contact a truck accident attorney immediately when you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident.

Third, the insurance policies involved in trucking are vastly different from those for personal vehicles. Commercial trucks must carry much higher insurance policy limits due to the potential for severe damage and injuries. While more funds may be available for compensation, accessing these funds can be a contentious and complicated process, especially if multiple parties were involved in an accident.

Specialized Legal Representation for Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are more complex than a typical car accident. This complexity is why specialized legal representation is essential for victims.

Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Landscape

A seasoned truck accident attorney brings a deep understanding of this regulatory environment. This knowledge includes critical facts ranging from the permissible weight of the truck to the number of hours a driver can legally be on the road. These attorneys know how to build a strong case by identifying relevant violations.

attorneys discussing a truck accident
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Investigative and Negotiation Expertise

Specialized truck accident attorneys possess the skills and resources to conduct thorough investigations beyond the basics. They know how to collect and interpret crucial evidence, whether it’s driver log books, vehicle maintenance records, or data from electronic onboard recorders. This evidence can be pivotal in constructing a compelling narrative for the case.

Leveling the Playing Field

Victims of truck accidents often find themselves up against large corporations and insurance companies with vast resources. These entities are adept at protecting their interests and have a strong desire to minimize their financial exposure. Their persistence can overwhelm individuals who attempt to challenge them without legal representation. An attorney experienced in truck accident law knows how to negotiate effectively with these parties, leveling the playing field and ensuring that the victim’s rights are protected and that they receive the compensation they deserve.

Ensuring a Fair Outcome

The ultimate goal of specialized legal representation is to ensure a fair outcome for the victim. This includes securing compensation that adequately covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages resulting from the accident. With a knowledgeable attorney, victims can navigate the legal system more effectively, avoiding the pitfalls that undermine their claims and ensuring their rights are upheld throughout the legal process.

Why Kane Personal Injury is the Right Choice for Truck Accidents

Truck accidents often cause devastating injuries and can change your life. Given how complex they often are, utilizing a lawyer or even a personal injury lawyer without experience in this type of accident can lead to mediocre results. When you or a loved one’s quality of life is on the line, you don’t want to settle for a “so-so” outcome. At Kane Personal Injury, we’ve handled many of these cases. We know the ins and outs, the common pitfalls, and how to help our clients receive the maximum compensation for their injuries. And we believe in our clients—we don’t take a dime unless you win your case. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today