Truck accident cases are different from car accident cases in many ways. First and foremost, the damages caused by commercial vehicles are often more significant than those caused by a typical car accident. Large vehicles like trucks have much weight, and the accidents produce severe property damage and severe injuries.
In addition, when truck accidents involve a commercial vehicle like a big rig or cargo-carrying semi-truck, the settlement case might involve multiple parties. Complex state and federal laws regulate truck drivers and commercial vehicles. So, handling these cases might also be complex. The following are the main differences between truck accident cases and car accident cases:
Truck Accidents are More Dangerous than Car Accidents
It is true that truck accidents are more dangerous and cause more property damage than car accidents. There are numerous reasons why truck accidents are more dangerous than car accidents. According to statistics, research shows many unique causes of truck accidents. Specific causes are linked to the nature of the trucks. These factors include:
Many truck companies pressure their drivers to meet the deadline for cargo delivery. So, the truck drivers exceed the speed limit to meet the deadline. Overspeeding put the truck at a high chance of committing a truck accident. In car accident cases, the driver has no pressure to meet certain delivery deadlines.
Trucks travel across the country and on roads they have never traveled before. According to studies, 20% of all commercial truck accidents result from drivers who are unfamiliar with the roads they are traveling on. Due to the shortage of truck drivers, many truck companies tend to hire inexperienced truck drivers increasing the chances of committing a truck accident.
Truck drivers travel across the country and cover long distances. The drivers exceed the legal number of driving hours outlined by federal laws. Also, truck drivers can quickly become tired and try to operate the trucks while impaired to remain awake. Impairment and driver fatigue increases the chances of committing a truck accident.
When a truck is loaded with a load weighing 80,000 pounds, this load is about the weight of 30 average cars. So, the importance requires twice as much distance a car driver would need to stop a car.
DUI Laws for the Truck Drivers are Different
The law in California has stricter DUI laws to govern commercial vehicles than non-commercial driver vehicles. The legal limit for many drivers is a BAC level of up to 0.08%. However, this is not the case in commercial vehicles. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%.
The commercial driver's license holders guilty of DUI will have their licenses suspended or revoked in addition to facing criminal and civil penalties. They also risk losing their licenses if they are guilty of DUI while driving with a passenger.
Trucks Leave Greater Damages
Since trucks can leave significant injuries and damages, the victim has the right to seek substantial damage amounts than in car accident cases. Many truck accident cases are handled through settlement, and the court considers treatment and medical costs, among other expenses. Settlements are common since the insurer fears losing the case in trial. However, a few cases are not settled through negotiation and proceed to the court.
Above all, you must hire a knowledgeable truck accident attorney. The attorney can demand both noneconomic and economic damages. The economic damages include the tangible costs the victim suffers. They include:
- Lost wages
- Medical treatment costs
- Replacement or repair costs
- Lost future earnings
- Medical equipment and home modification
Alternatively, the noneconomic damages do not have quantifiable value. They include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Remember, the accident may also result in the death of your loved one or family member. In this case ,you require compensation for the wrongful death. The responsible party must cover funeral and burial expenses, among other costs.
Under rare cases, punitive damages could also be applicable. The damages are, however, far more challenging to obtain. Punitive damages are only awarded by the court to punish the defendant for their negligent behavior. If you are a truck accident victim, you must work with an experienced truck accident attorney. The attorney will help you include all the injuries suffered in your compensation claim.
Due to the tractor-trailer combination, the truck causes severe injuries in case of an accident. A standard car weighs 5,000 pounds, while a typical truck weighs 80,000 pounds when loaded. So, the force involved in the trucks can smash a car and lead to catastrophic injuries.
Since the injuries are significant, the commercial carrier requires more insurance coverage. The law requires the truck driver to pay around $750,000 in liability insurance. Since the injuries involved in truck accidents are severe, you want to work with an aggressive truck accident attorney to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Remember, the attorney you work with will determine the possible outcome of your case.
The Evidence in Truck Accidents is Different
When it comes to any accident, the victim has the right to obtain evidence relating to the accident using their mobile phone cameras. The accident scenes are cleared immediately after the accident. So, keeping the pictures of the accident scene is crucial.
The same police report you can use in motor vehicle accidents is critical regarding truck accidents. Cell phone records could be essential in cases where the driver was distracted. Note that different types of evidence are only applicable in truck accidents. They include:
- Drivers qualification and training file
- Truck inspection records
- Document on hours of service
- Drug screening
- Delivery documents
- Downloads of onboard system
- Bills lading
- Weight tickets
- Freight instructions
The victim of the accident needs to keep the evidence they gather properly. They will require more evidence when filing a lawsuit. Under a car accident lawsuit, you only need limited proof compared to the necessary evidence in a truck accident case. If you are the victim, you want to speak with your attorney immediately after the accident. The attorney will guide you on what to do and ensure you gather the necessary evidence.
Trucks Have More Expensive Insurance
Since the damages and the injuries in a truck accident claim are severe, insurance for the trucks can be far more expensive than what people pay for their cars. It also means the policy limits are far greater than in other motor vehicles.
With the huge amount of money in the accident claim, truck companies do everything possible to shift the blame, minimize the payout, or even deny the payment. So, you must work with an aggressive attorney when filing your claim. The attorney will ensure you obtain your compensation.
It is Tougher to Fight the Truck Companies and their Insurance Companies because of the multiple parties involved in a truck accident. Every player is desperate and wants to avoid their responsibility. The freight companies want to lower the insurance rates. The truck drivers know that a lot of traffic violations mean they will lose their jobs soon. Alternatively, the insurance company wants to pay the minimum compensation.
The insurance companies usually have their response team and will move to the scene within hours of the accident. They often want to gather enough evidence as early as possible to ensure they do everything possible to skip the liability.
The injured victims in a truck accident need an experienced truck accident attorney to handle the truck accident case. Hiring inexperienced truck accident attorneys is a recipe for disaster. Experienced attorneys hotly contest truck accident cases, and the truck company pays significant money. Since the damages are great, the stakes are also higher. So, if you are an accident victim and seek compensation, do not handle the legal process alone. You want to discuss everything honestly with your attorney to identify the responsible party in the accident.
Truck Accidents Involve Multiple Defendants
Victims of truck accidents can obtain compensation for their injuries and damages after filing a personal injury lawsuit. But the liability surrounding the trucks is complex. Although many victims assume the driver is responsible for the accident, the case may include multiple defendants. Since state and federal laws govern the trucks, the potential defendants in the case may be the truck owner, vehicle manufacturer, and truck maintenance company. The following parties are held responsible for a truck accident:
The Truck Company
The truck company may be responsible for a truck accident. The trucker is usually not the only party responsible for the accident; the trucker driver and the employer also share the blame. The truck company is responsible for hiring competent and experienced truck drivers. Before hiring, the company should provide all truck drivers with proper training and background checks. Therefore when the truck company fails to perform all these duties, the trucking company can become responsible for the accident.
Although truck drivers are not always the ones to blame after an accident, they sometimes act recklessly and cause truck accidents. For example, operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, violating traffic laws, and distracted driving are some of the negligent ways the truck driver can cause an accident. When the driver causes an accident, it must be established whether the driver is an independent contractor or hired by the truck company. That will help the defendant know whom they will file a lawsuit against to recover their damages.
Another party that might be held responsible for the truck accident is the loading company. It is common for the truck company and the truck drivers to use a third party to unload and load the cargo. The cargo must be loaded and fixed properly. If the cargo is improperly loaded, the cargo risks falling out of the truck. When the cargo is off balance, the truck driver might find it difficult to control the vehicle.
The Truck Owners
The truck owner may either be a company or an individual. Also, the driver could be the truck owner. In addition, a truck company may lease a truck from a different company. Therefore, the person who owns the truck could be held responsible for any truck accident if they do not keep up with the vehicle maintenance, including engine, steering, brakes, and air, among other integral parts. You want first to identify the truck owner before you handle the truck accident case. Your attorney can help you in the process of identifying the owner of the truck.
Truck and Part Manufacturers
Truck manufacturers can be held responsible for accidents when they make defective trucks. Unfortunately, your words are not enough when filing a lawsuit. You must prove the truck manufacturer made a defective truck. It is tough to prove the truck manufacturer made a defective vehicle. It is more likely that you will struggle to recover your injuries after the crash. So, following the case might be complex.
Another common cause of truck accidents is defective parts and mechanical failures. Therefore when a truck accident occurs, the manufacturers and the part manufacturers can be held responsible. It means the part manufacturers will compensate the victims for the damages and injuries. Although many truck accidents occur because of mechanical problems, the following factors may indicate the accident was a result of defective parts:
- Brake failure
- Brake failure
- Steering system failure
- Transmission failure
- Defective trailer hitch
- Defective lighting
Proving the part manufacturer is responsible for the accident might be a complex process. In a truck accident lawsuit, you might work with an attorney and expert to help you determine whether the initial cause of the accident was mechanical issues. Also, the expert will investigate whether the part manufacturer has a record of supplying defective parts.
Ensure you work with your attorney throughout the legal process. Remember, no one will accept the fault of the accident quickly. The vehicle manufacturers will do everything possible to skip the liability.
The Local Government
Do you know that the roads' nature can result in a truck accident? Accidents involving the government are complex to handle. For example, do you know the government agency responsible for maintaining the roads? How do you file a lawsuit against a government agency? Examples of road conditions that might lead to truck accidents include:
- Missing guardrails
- Poor signage
- Faulty road design
- Debris on the road
While many of the above factors could cause a truck accident, proving the government should have prevented the accident can be challenging. First, you need to identify the government agency responsible for maintaining the roads. You must also show the government agency had enough warning to address the road condition but failed to do so. Again, you must also prove the road condition is directly linked to the accident.
That's why handling the truck accident case becomes complex. The process might worsen when you try to handle the legal process independently. Due to the multiple parties involved in truck accident cases, ensure you work closely with your attorney.
When preparing your lawsuit, it is essential to go to your attorney with a hint or idea of the liable party. Ensure you answer your attorney's questions politely and explain everything honestly. You might be surprised to learn more than one factor contributed to the accident.
Passenger Vehicle Drivers
As per the law, the passenger drivers need to give the commercial trucks plenty of room and respect. With the heavy loads on the trucks and the truck's weight, the trucks cannot stop on a dime. They even take much distance before they stop because of the heavy load. Passenger drivers who do not give the trucks enough room when passing may attract accidents since the trucks cannot slow down immediately to avoid an accident.
Statute of Limitation for Truck Accidents
The statute of limitation serves a critical legal purpose. It protects organizations, government entities, and people from frivolous or unwise lawsuits. Even when someone is compelling a lawsuit against the truck employer or driver, their memory may fade. Similarly, the defendant may lose essential evidence.
California's statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit against the fault party is two years. If you fail to file the case within the stipulated time frame, the court will not entertain any request for the damages faced during the accident. You want to speak with your attorney after the accident and ask them any legal questions you have. Also, consult with them about the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident case claim.
Contact a San Diego Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
The impacts of a truck accident can leave the victim with significant injuries and property damages. Were you hurt in a commercial vehicle accident? You want to seek legal help as soon as possible. An aggressive truck accident attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process.
At San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys are highly qualified and experienced in handling similar cases. We have handled numerous truck accident cases and ensured our clients obtain fair compensation. Therefore if you seek to file a lawsuit in San Diego, CA, we are here. Contact us today at 619-478-4059 and speak with one of our experienced attorneys.