Car and truck crashes not only affect victims differently but they’re also handled differently from a legal perspective. From who’s liable to the extent of any injuries, here’s the information everyone should know about truck accident personal injury cases and car accident ones.
Car Crash vs. Truck Crash: What’s the Difference?
Ninety-seven percent of fatal truck crashes involve passenger car occupants. It makes sense that a truck crash would be more serious than a car crash. The truck’s immense weight alone means it collides with other vehicles with a far greater force than even the largest passenger vehicle.
Semi-trucks or big rigs can crush passenger vehicles, causing significant property damage, severe injuries, and death. Some reasons that truck crashes are so devasting are:
- A lack of visibility and immediate stopping power: Poor visibility is a leading cause of truck accidents, as is a truck’s inability to quickly come to a full stop. Big rigs have huge blind spots, which prevent their drivers from seeing other vehicles on the road. If a truck driver can’t see your car, you could be forced off the road or, in a worst-case scenario, crushed. Likewise, if the truck driver can’t stop in time, the rig’s higher speed and weight can mean catastrophic damage and personal injury.
- Jackknifing and rollovers: As they have a higher center of gravity, trucks are more likely to be involved in rollover accidents than passenger cars. And because most of a truck’s weight is being pulled rather than steered, a big rig can jackknife, with the trailer traveling in a different direction than the truck itself when the driver loses control.
Anyone injured in a large truck accident should consult with legal counsel who can assist in investigating the crash, identifying the responsible party, and, if necessary, holding the other party accountable.
Evidentiary Difference in Car and Truck Accidents
Evidence collection in truck and car crashes is similar and includes witness statements, photographs, videos, security camera footage, police reports, and more. With truck crashes, however, an attorney must also collect:
- Vehicle evidence, including maintenance and inspection histories, data from GPS tracking systems, and downloads of onboard systems.
- Driver evidence like a training file, driver qualifications, and post-accident drug and alcohol screening results.
- Cargo evidence, including dispatch instructions, trip envelopes, weight tickets, and bills of lading.
As existing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations only require documents to be kept for a certain period, it’s critical to speak with an attorney as soon as possible, so all relevant evidence is preserved in the case of a personal injury lawsuit.
Liability Differences in Car and Truck Crashes
Most car accidents involve the cars’ drivers and potentially an employer or owner of one or both vehicles. However, commercial truck accidents typically involve multiple parties, making things more complex. For instance, there’s the truck driver, the company the driver works for, the owner of the truck, and the relationship between the trucking company and the driver. Other parties might include shippers, brokers, or consignees.
Liability differs, too, if the truck involved had a loaded or empty trailer or wasn’t driving with a trailer at all, as the tractor and the trailer are considered separate commercial vehicles.
Get the Car Crash or Truck Crash Legal Advice You Need
You need a qualified personal injury attorney to ensure you get the compensation you’re entitled to following a truck or car crash. Peters Law Firm brings over 100 years of combined industry expertise to vigorously defend you and your rights.
If you’ve been involved in a car or truck accident, speak with one of our vehicle accident attorneys today about your next steps.