How Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a truck accident, there are some factors you need to consider that could affect your ability to recover compensation for your losses. It is wise to choose an attorney who understands the differences and has considerable experience helping accident victims achieve the recovery they deserve.
The Laws of Physics Work Against You
The first set of differences between car and truck accidents are the obvious ones. A tractor-trailer can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds while a car might weigh 4,000. In a collision, the car will be at a substantial disadvantage. In fact, even the most sturdy passenger vehicle can usually not withstand the impact of a semi. This is why the injuries in truck accidents so often prove fatal.
Because of their weight and configuration, trucks take much longer to come to a stop in an emergency. Their setup makes it more difficult for drivers to see the road and other cars around them. A truck’s blind spot can hide an entire vehicle, making every turn and every lane change a dangerous undertaking. Even if a truck driver sees an obstruction, it can take nearly twice as long to stop a truck as it does to brake to a stop in a car. Not only does the increased stopping distance make collisions more likely, it also increases the speed at which a collision occurs, which leads to greater injuries.
The laws of physics also work against trucks in other ways. Tractor-trailers pull substantial weight in a separate vehicle, and the trailer can careen out of control, causing a jackknife accident. The tractor travels in a different direction than the tractor, potentially trapping passenger vehicles in between. With a higher center of gravity, big trucks are also more prone to rollover accidents. When a truck rolls over a passenger vehicle, the lighter vehicle is going to suffer much more damage in the encounter.
More Parties Can Be Liable for the Accident
Another set of factors that differentiates truck accidents involves the issue of liability. In a car accident, the driver of the car is usually the owner and is also in charge of maintenance. In a truck accident, the vehicle may have a different owner and they may hire a company to handle maintenance on the truck. The trailer may have a different owner. There are many different people who may be responsible for the conditions that caused a truck accident, so you need to be prepared to investigate thoroughly and work to hold all responsible parties accountable.
Those who could be found legally liable for injuries from a truck accident include:
- The owner of the truck
- The driver
- The company that performs maintenance on the truck
- The company that loaded the truck
- The manufacturers of components on the truck
- A third party who created a hazardous condition
- The company that certified the driver’s credentials
While the opportunity to hold more parties accountable creates a deeper pool of resources for compensation, it also gives each party the opportunity to blame someone else, which makes the case more challenging.
Corporate Attorneys May Be Involved Right from the Start
Most trucks operate in commercial service, and many of them are used by very large corporations. These large corporations have large legal staffs. So when a situation arises that could expose the large company to liability, members of the large legal staff may appear on the scene quite suddenly to do everything they can to reduce corporate costs by reducing the potential for liability.
They may prevent the driver of a vehicle from making a statement and cleaning up evidence at the scene before potential claimants have the chance to record it. They may also try to get accident victims to say or do something that gives the company grounds to deny liability or that even shifts the entire blame for the accident onto the victim.
When you are in a position where you will be fighting against an experienced legal team to protect your rights, you need equally powerful legal representation on your side. Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC has the knowledge and experience to successfully out-maneuver corporate legal tactics to achieve fair compensation for accident victims.
Truck Accidents Can Be Very Complex
With so many parties potentially involved and so many factors that can combine to cause a truck accident, these cases are often tremendously complex. For instance, a truck owner could be liable for a range of reasons. They might have imposed unrealistic goals or set a dangerous schedule for the driver. The owner might not have properly assessed the driver’s qualifications or provided appropriate training. Or the owner might have delayed performing necessary inspections and maintenance to cut costs.
Often, it is necessary to bring in experts to assess all the factors that contributed to an accident, particularly when dealing with mechanical failures. Federal trucking regulations may also come into play, which further adds to the complexity. Moreover, because the injuries in truck accidents are often so severe, the issue of damages also becomes more complex.
Experience Matters When it Comes to Recovery After a Truck Accident
With truck accident cases so much more serious and complex than the average car accident case, it is important to be prepared to manage the additional challenges. You need a personal injury attorney with the experience, knowledge, and skill to stand up to insurance companies and corporate legal departments and achieve full recovery for those who have suffered as a result of the accident. Michael M. Day Law Firm, LLC understands truck accident cases, and we have helped victims receive compensation for the suffering and losses they have endured after devastating truck accidents. To discuss what might be possible in your case, contact us today for a free case evaluation and consultation.