Any accident can yield serious, even life-changing injuries. And after a crash, victims often believe they need to follow a simple procedure to get compensated: they exchange insurance information with the other driver, contact an attorney, and negotiate a fair settlement. However, truck accidents are different. They are almost always more complex and require special attention.
Here are the main differences between car crashes and truck accidents and why they aren’t treated the same.
Truck Accidents Are More Dangerous
A fully-loaded tractor-trail can weigh more than 80,000 pounds—nearly twenty times as much as a low-weight passenger sedan and fifteen times more than a Dodge Ram. In an accident, the semi-truck will always win.
Even at low speeds, a semi-truck can destroy a smaller vehicle. Often, people who walk away from a truck crash are lucky to be alive.
But even if they survive, they may still suffer serious injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Some injuries can take months or years to recover from, leaving an accident victim unable to return to work—or, in some cases, the simple routines of daily life.
Truck Accidents Are More Complicated
When you get hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, you can file a personal injury claim to get paid for your medical bills, lost income, and emotional pain and suffering. While you still have to prove that the other driver was at-fault before receiving a settlement or winning a judgment, it is usually not difficult to determine liability.
However, semi-truck accidents are different. While a semi-truck driver will typically share some blame for an accident, you may also have to pursue other parties for damages, including:
Sometimes, a trucking company’s negligent practices contribute to an accident. Since most semi-truck companies generate their profit by delivering cargo to third-party companies or contractors, they are often under immense pressure to meet certain deadlines. Trucking companies can pass this down to their drivers by coercing them into operating under unsafe conditions. They may also cut corners by ignoring federal safety regulations such as regular vehicle maintenance inspections.
A cargo shipper or receiver.
Cargo shippers and receivers, rather than the truck driver, are usually responsible for loading goods, produce, or industrial materials onto a trailer. While the semi-truck driver is still obligated by law to check that their cargo is safely secured, a poor job on the part of the shipper or receiver can make them potentially liable.
A parts manufacturer.
If a mechanical part’s failure contributed to your accident, the manufacturer may be held partially liable for your injuries.
Semi-truck accidents are usually more complex than car accidents because the logistics industry is held to a very stringent set of safety rules. These rules are set at the local, state, and federal levels, and they impact semi-truck drivers as well as their employers and the companies with which they do business.
Truck Accident Settlements Can Be More Difficult to Negotiate
When it comes to truck accident settlements, there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that trucking companies are required by law to carry large insurance policies. These policies are usually much larger than their private counterparts. Since trucking companies have big insurance policies, accident victims have a better chance of receiving the funds they need to recover from their injuries.
But the bad news is that trucking companies, and their insurers, have a lot of experience defending themselves against claims. Even small logistics businesses likely have a legal team on stand-by—and if they don’t, their insurer certainly does.
Once you file an injury claim against a truck driver, their employer, or another related business, the industry’s lawyers will begin doing everything they can to minimize their clients’ responsibility and diminish the value of your claim.
Have You Been Injured In A Missouri Commercial Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a Missouri truck accident you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 314.200.1229 to schedule a free consultation. We help pedestrian accident victims throughout the state of Missouri including Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Kirksville and Cape Girardeau.