Any sort of accident can be scary and traumatic. However, those involving big trucks like semis, big rigs, and 18-wheelers are much more than this. Trucking accidents are some of the most severe accidents on the role, mainly due to the fact that normal vehicles don’t stand a chance against these massive beasts.
When truck accidents do occur, it’s a mistake to believe that they are simply like normal auto accidents. On the contrary, these types of cases can prove much more complex.
Knowing the steps to take after a car accident may not be enough when it comes to these scenarios. Below, we break down the differences between trucking accidents and normal auto accidents and what to do if these situations do occur.
Causes of Collisions
Settling disputes regarding the causes of trucking accidents are oftentimes complex, primarily because there are added possible causes of the accident. This means that determining liability in trucking accidents can be more difficult, especially without the assistance of a seasoned truck accident attorney.
Truckers have very hard jobs that require long hours and intense pressure from employers to make deliveries on time. Unfortunately, these factors often lead to devastating results.
Many trucking accidents are due to truck driver error. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a study that broke down some common causes of truck accidents caused by driver error:
- 44% involved truckers who were taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- 23% involved drivers traveling too fast for conditions
- 18% were caused by driver fatigue
Severity of Injuries
Trucking accidents do occur less frequently since there are fewer big trucks on the road than normal vehicles. However, the fatality rate in these collisions much higher than the fatality rate associated with regular car collisions.
In normal auto accidents, many injury victims sustain short-term injuries that have the potential to heal with time, such as:
- Cuts and bruises
- Whiplash broken bones
- Torn ligaments
Unfortunately, the injuries typically sustained in truck accidents are much more likely to be catastrophic. Such injuries that are commonly sustained in big trucking accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burns and scars
Truck accident injuries and fatalities are also on the rise, compared to normal auto accidents. The FMCSA reported that, in 2017, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle crashes, a 2 percent decline from the prior year. But, large-truck fatalities rose 9 percent to 4,761, an increase of 392 lives lost over the prior year.
Cost of Property Damage
The sheer size of semi-trucks makes them a greater threat on the road. This means that property damage can also be much greater than property damage sustained in normal auto accidents. When a collision such as a fender bender occurs between two normal vehicles, it may lead to some crushed metal.
However, a fender bender that occurs between a normal vehicle and a truck could completely total the normal-sized vehicle. If the driver and passengers in this vehicle are lucky enough to survive this collision, they may be stuck with thousands of dollars of property damage.
Depending on the make, model, and year of their vehicle, they could even be put back tens of thousands of dollars. Once this person recovers from their injuries, they may be without a vehicle and a means of getting to and from work. This could mean the individual has to deal with even more lost wages as their vehicle is being fixed or replaced.
Potential Liable Parties
Most accidents involving normal vehicles are comprised of just two vehicles. In most of these accidents, the drivers of the cars involved will be the potentially liable parties. Whoever is determined to be at fault, the injured party will most likely go through the at-fault driver’s insurance company for proper compensation.
Liability can be much more complex when it comes to trucking accidents. There are many different parties that could be held liable when these events occur, including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The shipper/loader
- The parts manufacturer
- Other drivers on the road
The Bottom Line: Trucking Accidents Are Complex
When it comes to on-road collisions, you probably have a higher chance of being involved in a car accident. However, truck accidents usually result in more:
- Property damage
- Injured parties
- Severe injuries
- Complex legal issues
Oftentimes, the trucking company involved in a truck collision will have its own legal team dedicated to minimizing the company’s liability in the accident. This is usually to get out of paying high amounts of damages to many different parties, as there are usually multiple people injured in these types of accidents. Because of this fact, it’s essential to get a dedicated legal team on your side of the court, too.
If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Our skilled trial attorneys are the hard-hitters you need to fight against large trucking companies and strategic insurance companies.
We will review each and every detail of your case, leaving no stone unturned. Once we identify liable parties, whether it be the truck driver, trucking company, shipment loader, or another party, we will fight hard to ensure you receive the compensation you need to financially recover.
Contact Briggle & Polan at (512) 400-3278 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Austin truck accident attorneys.