A collision involving an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle is often significantly different than a crash involving two passenger vehicles. A commercial vehicle’s sheer size, weight, and heavy cargo often cause severe injuries and catastrophic damage. The number of parties and insurance policies involved also makes these collisions markedly different from other crashes.
Below, we’ll review how truck accidents are different from other auto accidents and discuss how Spiros Law, P.C. can help if you were involved in one.
What is the Difference Between Truck Accidents and Other Accidents?
Truck accidents are different from other auto accidents in three notable ways:
One significant difference between truck accidents and other auto accidents involves liability. When a typical traffic accident between two cars occurs, determining liability is often straightforward. If one car rear-ended the other, then the driver in the back is usually liable.
However, there may be multiple at-fault parties when a truck accident occurs, and a full, comprehensive investigation will be needed to identify all liable parties. If there is more than one responsible party, you also might have to deal with multiple insurance companies. As you can imagine, the claims process can quickly become complicated.
Commercial truck drivers are bound by federal regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Truck drivers must complete pre and post-trip inspections and abide by the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations. An investigation will be necessary to determine whether a truck driver abided by all federal rules and regulations before the accident.
Truck accidents tend to result in some of the most severe traffic-related injuries. While the average passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds, commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. When a truck collides with another vehicle, the sheer force of the impact can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
Many truck accident injuries are so severe that they fundamentally alter the victim’s life forever. Accident victims who sustain severe injuries could face massive medical expenses and long-term care costs. Many victims of catastrophic injuries are unable to work again or may be unable to carry out all of their job duties as they did before.
Because truck accident injuries tend to be so serious, settlement amounts tend to be higher.
To prove that a driver, the trucking company, or another party was negligent and caused a truck accident, you will need to demonstrate four key elements:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care to keep you from harm
- The at-fault party breached that duty through negligence
- The at-fault party’s negligence led directly to the accident that caused your injuries
- You suffered quantifiable damages as a result of the accident
If you were injured in a truck accident, it is highly advisable to retain an attorney. An attorney will have the necessary skills to help you prove your case.
Who is Liable for a Truck Accident?
When a truck accident occurs, you might assume that the driver is the at-fault party, but there may be others as well. Potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver – If a truck driver causes an accident through negligence, then they may be liable for the accident. Negligence can take many forms, including fatigued driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, recklessness, tailgating, and other careless behaviors.
- The truck company – In some cases, the truck company might also be partly liable for a truck accident. For example, if the truck company pushed a driver to exceed their hours of service limits and then the driver became fatigued and caused a crash, the truck company could be liable. The truck company could also be responsible for an accident if they failed to provide the truck driver with adequate training, hired an inexperienced driver, or failed to maintain and inspect the truck properly.
- Cargo loaders – If a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly, it can come loose and cause a truck accident. If the truck has an open trailer, unsecured cargo can even fall from the truck and impact other motorists. If a truck accident occurs due to unsecured cargo, the cargo loaders could be held responsible.
- Third-party maintenance companies – If a third-party company was responsible for inspecting and maintaining the truck, they could be responsible if a parts or systems failure caused the crash that injured you.
Other possible liable parties include defective part manufacturers, the owner of the cargo, and more
Contact An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Today
Were you injured in a truck accident? If so, the Kankakee truck accident attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. have the experience and resources necessary to help you seek the compensation you are entitled to.
If you hire us, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, gather evidence to support your case, identify all possible sources of compensation, document damages you incurred, and aggressively pursue a settlement on your behalf. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, we will not hesitate to take your case to court.
Call us today at (815) 929-9292 for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your case.