How Do Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents?
In 2018 alone, 5,096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in America, resulting in 4,951 deaths.
No matter how careful a driver acts on the road, an accident can happen. In fact, it is estimated that the average person will be in four accidents over the course of a lifetime, regardless of fault.
But what about truck accidents? In 2018 alone, 5,096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in America, resulting in 4,951 deaths. Compared to 2009, the number of deaths have increased nearly 46%. While less common than car collisions, truck accidents can be more complex.
Truck Collisions Can Be More Severe
Truck accidents, when compared to standard car accidents, are often more severe. Due to the large build of trucks and semi-trucks and cargo capacity, impact in a collision can be much greater than that of a car. The impact of a truck collision can cause severe property damage as well as cause life-long and serious injuries.
“Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries,” notes truck accident attorney S. David Rosenthal, “Victims of truck accidents may suffer from chronic pain and a decreased quality of life.” Examples of common injuries sustained in truck accidents include neck injuries, whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, seat belt injuries, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, or even wrongful death.
Liability Can Be More Complicated
Determining liability in a truck accident case can be complex. Often, there are various parties involved in a truck collision that may be held accountable. The trucking company, truck driver, insurance company, maintenance company, shipper or loader of the truck cargo, or auto part manufacturer are all possible liable parties in a truck accident.
To discover the responsible party after a truck accident, it may require the help of an experienced attorney. Hiring a professional can help recover evidence from the scene, including trucking logs, employment paperwork, and police reports.
The Causes Often Differ
While car accidents are often caused by human error, like driver inattention, truck accidents tend to be caused by other factors. Truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Mechanical failure due to faulty equipment or improper maintenance
- Lack of truck driver training
- Severe weather conditions
- Truck driver medical conditions (such as sleep apnea)
- Roadway problems
- Truck driver fatigue
- Improperly loaded cargo
Truck Accident Settlements Are Often Larger
After sustaining serious injuries or property damage due to a truck accident, a victim is able to recover compensation through a truck accident claim. Due to the more severe nature of a truck accident, injury settlements tend to be larger.
There are three types of recoverable damages in a truck accident claim: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages refer to measurable financial amounts that a plaintiff can recover, including reimbursement for medical bills, medications, property damage, and lost wages.
Non-economic damages differ in that they are more difficult to quantify and refer to the loss of joy of living; these damages can include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, humiliation, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium. Punitive damages, while uncommon, are a recoverable type of damage that aim to punish the liable party for intentional wrongdoing.
Preventing Truck Accidents
Nobody wants to be involved in an accident, especially during a global pandemic. While not all accidents are avoidable, there are things driver can do mitigate the chances of a truck accident:
- Avoid “no zones”
- Allow more space than you would a standard car
- Use caution if a truck is turning
- Be predictable
- Move quickly
- Don’t drive distracted, drunk, or drowsy
Many accidents are avoidable. By driving defensively and being aware of all motor vehicles on the road, trucks and cars alike, you can help prevent a collision.