Four Ways Trucking Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents involving trucks like tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks are often significantly different from accidents involving only passenger cars. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, it’s important for you to know how it’s different and how a personal injury attorney with experience in trucking accidents can help.
1. Liability May Be Spread Across Multiple Parties.
Determining who caused trucking accidents is crucial in any motor vehicle accident case. In truck accident cases, it can become tricky, because there are multiple parties who may be found liable, including:
- The driver
- The trucking company
- The company that employs the driver (if different)
- The truck owner (if different)
- The parts manufacturer
- The truck manufacturer
Depending on what caused the accident, multiple parties may be determined to be at fault for the accident, which could lead to multiple lawsuits.
2. Different Factors Must Be Considered to Establish Liability.
Truck driving is regulated by law at both state and federal level by various agencies, and because of that, there are many questions to ask to determine liability that aren’t present in accidents involving only passenger cars. For example, questions to ask that might help determine liability include:
- Were all the parties listed above compliant with all applicable federal and state truck laws regarding trucking?
- Was the trucker properly licensed and adequately trained?
- Do the driver’s logs show that number of hours driven and frequency of stops were within the law?
- Does driver fatigue come into play?
- Was the truck overloaded or loaded incorrectly, or carrying dangerous cargo?
- Did the truck undergo routine maintenance and safety checks?
And so on. An attorney with experience handling truck accident cases will know what questions to ask to help pinpoint liability.
3. Damages Are Often Much Larger.
Because trucks are so big – an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the typical passenger car is a mere 4,000 pounds – they can cause huge amounts of damage, including property damage, devastating bodily injury, and death. Truck drivers and/or trucking companies carry large insurance policies to protect themselves in case of an accident, much higher than regular car drivers.
For comparison, South Carolina requires drivers carry $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily liability and $25,000 for property damage, while federal law requires a minimum of $750,000 of liability insurance for large trucks not carrying hazardous materials. Large trucks carrying hazardous materials must carry from $1 million to $5 million of liability insurance. Because the limits are so much higher, and the damage is often so severe, the amount of possible compensation for the victim is much higher than in typical accidents involving only passenger cars.
4. Truck Companies May Have Their Own Investigators for Trucking Accidents
With so much money on the line, truck companies naturally want to protect themselves. Many have their own inspectors go to the scene of the accident to investigate and gather information afterwards. Their mission is to reduce the truck company’s and/or driver’s liability, not to advocate for you. It’s important to have someone on your side during the process.
Work With an Experienced Greenville Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a truck, speak with an attorney experienced in trucking accidents like Andrew Barr of Fulton & Barr immediately. Andrew understands how trucking accidents are different and knows the right questions to ask to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Greenville office of Fulton & Barr at (864) 235-3154 to schedule your free initial consultation today.