Table of Contents
How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
Truck accidents can have a profound and long-lasting impact on someone’s life. The consequences of a truck accident extend far beyond the physical injuries sustained in the collision.
Truck accidents and car accidents differ significantly in their potential for severe consequences and the complexities involved. The size and weight disparity between commercial trucks and regular cars mean that truck accidents often result in more extensive property damage, catastrophic injuries, and even fatalities. Moreover, trucks have longer stopping distances and larger blind spots, making them more challenging to maneuver safely on the road. Truck accidents are also subject to specific regulations and requirements governing the trucking industry, such as Hours of Service rules and weight limits, which can impact liability and compensation.
Our truck accident lawyers at the Dashner Law Firm are equipped with the expertise and experience needed to navigate the intricacies of truck accident cases. We understand the unique challenges that arise in these accidents and conduct thorough investigations to gather critical evidence. Our dedicated truck accident attorneys can clarify your options and help you move forward with a legal claim.
The Five Critical Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents
Truck and car accidents differ significantly due to the vast disparities in size, weight, and complexity between commercial trucks and regular passenger vehicles. Here are six critical differences between truck and car accidents:
Severity of Accidents
Truck crashes are often much more severe than car crashes for the following reasons:
Weight Disparity: A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 20 to 30 times more than an average passenger car. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the force of impact is significantly greater, leading to more substantial damage to both vehicles.
High Center of Gravity: Trucks have a higher center of gravity, which makes them more susceptible to rolling over in certain situations, especially during sharp turns or evasive maneuvers. Rollover accidents can result in severe injuries to the truck driver and others on the road.
Braking Distance: Trucks require a longer distance to come to a complete stop compared to cars. The added weight and momentum make it more challenging for truck drivers to brake quickly in emergencies, increasing the risk of rear-end collisions.
Underride Accidents: In some truck accidents, smaller vehicles can become trapped underneath the rear or side of the truck due to its height. These underride accidents can cause devastating injuries or fatalities to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Multiple Impact Points: Truck accidents often involve multiple impact points due to the size and shape of the truck. This can lead to secondary collisions and more extensive damage to other vehicles on the road.
Severity of Injuries
The severity of injuries in truck accidents is one of the most significant and concerning aspects of these collisions. Due to the substantial size and weight of commercial trucks, the impact of a truck accident can lead to devastating injuries for occupants of smaller vehicles and even pedestrians. Here are some factors that contribute to the heightened severity of injuries in truck accidents:
Impact Force: The sheer weight and momentum of a commercial truck create a significantly higher impact force compared to that of a regular car. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the force of the impact is much greater, resulting in more extensive damage to both vehicles and significantly increasing the risk of severe injuries to the occupants.
Height and Underride Accidents: Commercial trucks have a higher ground clearance, which means that during a collision, smaller vehicles can become trapped underneath the rear or side of the truck. These underride accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Rollover Accidents: Due to their high center of gravity, trucks are more susceptible to rollover accidents, especially during sharp turns or sudden maneuvers. Rollover accidents can lead to severe injuries, including head and spinal injuries, fractures, and organ damage.
Cargo-Related Hazards: In some truck accidents, cargo spillage or cargo shifting can occur, leading to additional dangers. When improperly secured or hazardous materials are involved, these accidents can cause fires, explosions, or environmental hazards, resulting in severe injuries or fatalities.
Long-Stopping Distance: Trucks require a significantly longer distance to come to a complete stop compared to cars due to their weight. This can lead to rear-end collisions, causing whiplash injuries and other neck and back-related issues for the occupants of the rear-ended vehicle.
Number of Parties Involved
One of the unique aspects of truck accidents that differentiates them from car accidents is the number of parties involved. Truck accidents often have multiple parties that may share responsibility for the collision.
These parties can include:
- Truck Driver
- Trucking Company
- Truck Owner
- Maintenance Provider
- Cargo Loading Company
- Vehicle Manufacturer
Determining the liability of each party involved in a truck accident can be complex and requires a thorough investigation. It’s essential to have experienced truck accident attorneys who understand the nuances of these cases and can identify all potentially liable parties. By holding all responsible parties accountable, victims of truck accidents have a better chance of obtaining full and fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
In truck accident cases, gathering and preserving evidence is crucial to establishing liability and seeking fair compensation for the victims. Truck accidents can be complex, and evidence plays a pivotal role in determining the cause of the accident and identifying the responsible parties.
Here are some key types of evidence often utilized in truck accident cases:
- Accident Scene Evidence: Physical evidence from the accident scene is essential in reconstructing the events leading to the collision. This may include skid marks, vehicle debris, road conditions, and the positioning of vehicles after the accident.
- Vehicle Data: Commercial trucks are often equipped with electronic control modules (ECMs) or event data recorders (EDRs) that store critical data about the truck’s performance leading up to the accident. This data can provide valuable insights into the truck’s speed, braking, engine performance, and any maintenance issues.
- Driver Logs: Truck drivers are required to keep detailed records of their driving hours and rest periods to comply with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These driver logs can help determine if the driver was fatigued or violating regulations at the time of the accident.
- Maintenance Records: The truck’s maintenance records can reveal whether the vehicle was properly inspected and maintained. Poor maintenance could contribute to mechanical failures and accidents.
- Surveillance Footage: Video footage from traffic cameras, surveillance cameras at nearby businesses, or dashcams from other vehicles can provide a visual account of the accident and help establish fault.
Preserving evidence is time-sensitive, as critical evidence may be lost or destroyed over time. It is crucial to involve truck accident attorneys as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that evidence is properly gathered, preserved, and analyzed.
In Irving and Arlington, Texas, the insurance coverage for truck accidents and car accidents follows similar principles as in other areas, but there may be specific state and local regulations that apply.
Here are some important considerations regarding insurance coverage for truck and car accidents in these cities:
- Commercial Truck Insurance: Commercial trucks are required to carry higher insurance coverage compared to regular passenger vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets specific insurance requirements for commercial trucks based on the type of cargo being transported and other factors. These requirements are generally higher than the minimum insurance coverage required for personal cars.
- Liability Coverage: Both truck and car accidents involve liability coverage, which is intended to compensate victims for their injuries and property damage when an insured party is at fault. However, due to the severity of injuries and damages in truck accidents, the liability coverage for commercial trucks is typically much higher than that of personal auto insurance.
- Additional Trucking Policies: In addition to liability coverage, commercial truck insurance often includes specific policies tailored to the unique risks faced by trucking companies. These policies may include cargo insurance, which protects against damage or loss of the cargo being transported, and general liability insurance to cover other aspects of the trucking business.
- Workers’ Compensation: In truck accidents involving employed truck drivers, workers’ compensation benefits may come into play if the driver is injured during the course of their employment. This additional coverage provides medical expenses and wage replacement for the injured driver.
- State Laws and Regulations: Texas state laws govern insurance requirements for both truck and car accidents in Irving and Arlington. These laws mandate minimum coverage limits for liability insurance for personal vehicles. However, commercial trucks are subject to federal regulations set by the FMCSA, as mentioned earlier, in addition to state requirements.
You Could Qualify for Truck Accident Compensation
Truck accidents can have catastrophic consequences, leading to severe injuries, emotional distress, and financial burdens for both victims and their families. Nevertheless, if you or a loved one has been impacted by such an accident, you may be eligible to pursue comprehensive compensation to address the following losses:
Medical expenses are a critical aspect of compensation in truck accident cases, as these accidents often lead to severe and life-altering injuries that require extensive medical care.
Here are some key points to consider about medical expenses in truck accident claims:
- Emergency Medical Care
- Surgeries and Procedures
- Rehabilitation and Therapy
- Medications and Medical Equipmen
- Follow-up Appointments
- Long-Term Care
- Psychological Counseling
Wage losses are a significant component of compensation for truck accident victims, as these accidents can lead to temporary or permanent disabilities that hinder their ability to work and earn a living.
Here are some key points to consider about wage losses in truck accident claims:
- Lost Income: Following a truck accident, victims may need to take time off work to recover from their injuries. The duration of this absence can vary depending on the severity of injuries, ranging from a few days to several months or even years. During this time, victims may experience a complete loss of income, leading to financial strain and uncertainty.
- Reduced Earning Capacity: In severe cases, truck accidents can result in permanent disabilities that significantly impact a victim’s ability to work and earn at the same capacity as before the accident. This reduced earning capacity can affect their future earning potential, career opportunities, and overall financial stability.
- Benefits and Bonuses: Truck accident victims may also miss out on various benefits and bonuses they would have received if they were not injured. This includes health insurance, retirement contributions, performance bonuses, and other workplace benefits.
Out-of-pocket expenses, also known as special damages, are a category of damages in truck accident claims that refers to the tangible and quantifiable financial losses incurred by the victim as a direct result of the accident. These expenses are generally specific and easily verifiable with receipts and other documentation.
Here are some key aspects of out-of-pocket expenses in truck accident cases:
- Medical Expenses
- Rehabilitation and Therapy Costs
- Property Damage
- Transportation Costs
- Home Modifications
- Lost Income
- Travel Expenses
- Prescription Costs
- Legal Fees
Out-of-pocket expenses are an important aspect of truck accident compensation, as they directly impact the victim’s financial well-being and ability to recover from the accident. Gathering and documenting evidence for all out-of-pocket expenses is essential to ensure that victims are adequately compensated for their financial losses.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, refer to the intangible losses that truck accident victims experience, which are not easily quantifiable in financial terms. These damages address the physical, emotional, and psychological toll the accident takes on the victim’s life.
Here are some key aspects of non-economic damages in truck accident claims:
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Consortium
- Disfigurement and Scarring
- Loss of Independence
- Loss of Consortium
Unlike economic damages, which have specific dollar values tied to medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, non-economic damages are subjective and can vary from one case to another. Determining the appropriate compensation for non-economic damages requires a thorough understanding of the victim’s experience, as well as skillful advocacy by experienced truck accident attorneys.
Signs You Need An Attorney
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, there are several signs that indicate you may need the assistance of a truck accident attorney to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.
Here are some key signs that you should consider hiring a truck accident attorney:
- Severe Injuries
- Multiple Parties Involved
- Disputed Liability
- Insurance Company Tactics
- Extensive Property Damage
- Lost Wages
- Long-Term or Permanent Disabilities
- Complex Trucking Regulations
- Negotiating a Fair Settlement
- Trial Experience
If you notice any of these signs after a truck accident, it’s wise to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you pursue the compensation you need to recover from the physical, emotional, and financial toll of the accident.
How The Dashner Law Firm Can Help
- Provide Legal Advice:
- Gather Evidence.
- Identify Liable Parties
- Calculate Damages:
- Negotiate Aggressively
- Powerful Trial Presentation
Acting quickly is crucial in truck accident cases, as time-sensitive evidence can disappear, and defendants may attempt to cover their tracks. Our determined truck accident attorneys waste no time in identifying all potential at-fault parties and exploring every avenue for compensation. We leave no stone unturned to build a compelling case that proves your injuries and losses were the direct result of the truck accident. Our ultimate goal is to fight tirelessly for the maximum possible compensation, ensuring that you receive the justice and financial support you need to move forward with your life.
Contact Us Today
The time to file a truck accident claim may be limited. Get started now and contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discover your next best steps.