Car Accidents vs. Truck Accidents
Car accidents and accidents involving large commercial trucks are both dangerous, but they differ in key respects. Accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks can be more dangerous; they may have been caused by special contributing factors, and the legal analysis around who may be held liable and how can be different than a typical car crash.
Read on for a discussion of several areas in which car accidents and truck crashes may differ. If you were hurt in an accident with a large commercial truck, make sure to retain an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer to help you with your claim.
Severity of Damage
Many car accidents are serious, to be sure, and car crashes carry a risk of lasting injury. With large trucks, however, catastrophic injury is almost a certainty. When a massive eighteen-wheeler collides with a passenger car, occupants of the car are much more likely to suffer permanent, if not fatal, injuries. Claims involving severe injuries or fatalities can be more complex and require a special understanding of the law and facts involved for any hope of a comprehensive, justifiable recovery.
Cause of the Accident
Car crashes and large truck crashes are often caused by the same factors: drunk drivers, drowsy drivers, distracted drivers, speeding, and other negligent behaviors. Semis and other large trucks carry their own special risks, however. Truck accidents require thorough investigation to determine whether factors specific to large trucks contributed to the accident, including:
- Unbalanced or unsecured load
- Untrained or unqualified driver (negligent hiring or negligent supervision)
- Driver fatigue caused by ignoring break periods and hours of service rules
- Decoupled truck bed
- Defective truck part
- Lack of proper truck maintenance
- Aggressive driving maneuvers, especially during inclement weather conditions
Rules and Regulations Involved
Car drivers and truck drivers are both responsible for following the rules of the road: speed limits, rules about passing, seat belts, use of turn signals, right-of-way rules, etc. Truckers are subject to several additional regulations, however. For instance, truckers are subject to additional rules concerning licensing and safety training, weight and balance of cargo, hours of operation between rest breaks, and other matters.
If a trucker violates those rules and they cause an accident, their flouting of the trucking regulations is strong evidence of negligence, and it could even lead to punitive damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable
Car accidents and truck accidents also require different legal analyses. Different parties may be liable for your injuries, depending upon a variety of circumstances, and truck accidents can be especially complex in determining the appropriate party to sue.
In both car and truck accidents, the individual driver may be held liable for their own negligence. Likewise, the manufacturer of the vehicles involved may be held liable if a car or truck defect contributed to the accident. If a road hazard contributed to the crash, such as a faulty traffic light or an unfilled sinkhole, a government agency might be to blame.
Under most circumstances, that’s the end of the analysis for car crashes. With truck accidents, however, there are additional parties who may likely hold some responsibility for the harm you’ve suffered. Truckers typically work for a freight or delivery company. Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees taken during the course of their work, which means you likely have a claim against the trucking company. Freight companies are also responsible for their own negligence that may have contributed to the accident, such as failure to train drivers, failure to maintain their vehicles, failure to hire qualified truck drivers, etc.
In a truck accident, you may also have a claim against third parties involved in the delivery. If a third-party contractor loaded the truck improperly, for example, which caused the driver to lose control on the road, then that contractor might be liable.
Call Today for Advice and Representation After a Houston Car or Truck Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident in Houston, Corpus Christi, or Texas statewide, call on a team of diligent and successful litigators dedicated to helping injury victims get significant compensation to help them deal with the harm they have suffered. Call 713-303-8543 now for a free initial consultation. We don’t charge any fee until after we are successful in recovering compensation for you.