In addition to the fact that truck accidents are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries, truck accidents involve very different legal concerns than car accidents. Because of this, there is a big difference between investigating and evaluating a truck accident case and a car accident case.
Generally speaking, truck accident cases are more difficult to prosecute than car accident cases, and an attorney should never treat a truck accident claim like a car accident claim.
Here is a list of 5 major differences between truck and car accident claims:
#1 The Number of Defendants: In a truck accident case, we are often suing the driver, as well as, the trucking company he works for. But, there may also be more parties involved in the claim, such as the renter, the lessor, and the manufacturer of the truck.
The broker or shipper of the cargo may have also played a role in the accident. Sometimes, brokers and shippers select cheap, but dangerous trucking companies to ship their cargo. This must also be investigated.
#2 The Amount of Insurance Involved: For truck accidents, there may be multiple insurance policies involved, such as the trucking company’s insurance, insurance on the truck specifically, and the truck owners insurance.
In addition, the insurance implications are much higher for truck accidents than for car accidents and can involve millions of dollars in coverage, depending on how many defendants are liable.
#3 The Drivers: The drivers of cars are essentially considered amateurs in the eyes of the law, whereas truck drivers are considered professionals and held to a higher standard. A professional driver must be screened and qualified by the trucking company. However, some trucking companies take shortcuts when screening drivers. As a result, they put dangerous drivers behind the wheel. This aspect of the case needs to be investigated as well.
#4 Federal and State Regulations: There are certain federal and state regulations that apply to trucks, truck drivers, and trucking companies that are not applicable to car accident cases. These regulations can determine whether or not the driver and/or the company they work for are liable for the accident and the injuries you have sustained. This includes regulations governing hours of service, the keeping of logs and records, and maintenance and repair of the vehicle.
Under federal regulations, professional drivers are limited as to the number of hours they can drive. Some companies break these rules and push the driver to past their limits. This aspect of the case must be investigated and the driver’s logs must be audited.
Also, safety regulations require the trucking company to perform regular maintenance on their trucks and to keep them in safe operating condition. Some companies cut corners when it comes to maintenance and repair. Consequently, some trucks are being operated in an unsafe condition. The truck should be inspected by someone working on behalf of the injured party before any evidence is lost.
Furthermore, some trucks must be fitted with “black boxes” that will record the speed at which the truck travels, as well as, the trucks breaking history. This data must be collected before it is destroyed.
Finally, certain types of accidents require truck drivers to submit to drug and alcohol testing following an accident. The outcome of such testing must be pursued and obtained.
#5 Trucking is a Business: This means that trucking companies will act quickly to truck accidents to protect their profits. Within hours of the accident, the trucking company will have investigators, experts, and often even lawyers on the scene to sift through the evidence and put it into a context that will suit their defense.
So, while the victims of the accident are at the hospital tending to their injuries, or at the funeral home making arrangements, the trucking company is at the scene preparing its defense.
This is very different than what happens after a car accident. Consequently, the victims of truck accidents need their own team of experts who are capable of protecting all of the relevant evidence and who can effectively build the victim’s case for compensation.
Contact An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, or if you have any further questions regarding the differences between a truck accident claim and a car accident claim, contact an experienced truck accident attorney who can answer your questions and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.