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What Are the Differences Between Truck and Car Accident Claims

January 12, 2024
Truck and Car Accident Claims

Take one look at the aftermath of a truck accident, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how they differ from your average passenger car accident. A fully loaded trailer can weigh up to 40 tons, or 80,000 pounds — far heavier than any sedan, which weighs about two tons on average.

Weight isn’t the only thing that separates truck and car accident claims. A truck accident lawyer can explain what makes these cases unique and how to approach your claim to pursue compensation after a truck accident.

Truck Accident Injuries Can Be Very Serious

Semi-trucks are some of the heaviest and bulkiest vehicles on the road. When a big rig collides with a passenger car, the outcome is often predictably severe.

As a truck accident victim, you might have multiple broken bones, organ damage, internal bleeding, and even a brain injury. These injuries are much more serious than those from typical car accidents.

There May Be More Than One Liable Party

With a car accident case, there’s usually just one other party, so you’d make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

But for a truck accident, several parties could be liable: the trucker, their employer, loading crews, maintenance workers, and even government entities that failed to maintain the roads.

The driver’s employer could be liable if it:

  • Hired drivers without doing a background check
  • Didn’t train its drivers
  • Failed to conduct maintenance on or repair its trucks
  • Told the cargo loading crew to overload the trailer
  • Forced, or even allowed,  the driver to work longer than legally allowed
  • Allowed drivers to operate their trucks while distracted by things like phones, laptops, or other mobile devices 

If multiple parties were involved in your accident, it’s possible to file a claim with each party’s insurance company to pursue damages. This can become complicated, so consider hiring a truck accident lawyer to help you.

Truck Accidents Require Knowledge of State and Federal Laws

Legally, truckers aren’t allowed to drive as many hours as they want per day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes the dangers of allowing truckers to drive while fatigued and sets limits on how long they can work and when they must take breaks.

It’s important for your lawyer to understand FMCSA laws because the trucker who hit you (or their employer) may have violated them.

The Truck’s Black Box May Yield Vital Clues

Semi-trucks have a special computer called a black box, also known as an event data recorder. These computers record everything that happens before, during, and after an accident.

The black box can reveal:

  • Sudden braking
  • Swerving
  • Speeding
  • Aggressive acceleration
  • The driver’s routes
  • How long the driver worked that day

Black boxes sound like excellent evidence, and you’re right about that. The trouble is that trucking companies know this too, which is why some erase or record over the data. Your lawyer can subpoena the black box to prevent such actions.

Trucking Companies Are Savvy Opponents

When you make a claim against a trucking company, you’re going up against a giant insurance company and a team of aggressive lawyers. Their job is to help the trucking company pay as little as possible.

The trucking company’s lawyers and insurance company will try to pin the fault on you. If you’re in a state with a 50% or 51% comparative negligence rule, such as Texas, this could spell trouble for your case.

Your attorney understands the opponent’s tactics and comes well-prepared to beat them at their own game.

Hire a Law Firm That Fights for Your Rights

If you’ve had a truck accident, don’t leave your settlement up to chance. Call a truck accident lawyer from Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. at (800) 433-2408 for a case evaluation.