How is a Truck Accident Different from a Car Accident?
30,000 people die on the highway every year in the United States and 1 out of 7 of those deaths involve an accident with a large commercial truck. You might think that an accident involving a large truck would be a lot like a regular car accident, but they’re actually quite different.
If you have an accident with a large truck, one of the biggest differences is that you’re not going to be dealing with just one person. When you have an accident with another car, you typically only have to deal with the driver of the other car. Truck accidents, on the other hand, can involve a lot more people and it can be more complicated to determine fault.
Since truckers are working for another person or company, their employer is inevitably going to get involved. There are several circumstances in which the employer could be at least partially liable for the accident, such as if they neglected to keep the truck in roadworthy condition or if they allowed a driver with a questionable driving background to work for them. An employer may also have lawyers and/or an insurance company trying to pressure an injured person into accepting a settlement, which is just one reason why it’s important to talk to an attorney if you’re ever in an accident involving a commercial truck.
Even more people could potentially end up being involved with a truck accident case. If the the accident was caused by a defect with the truck itself, the truck manufacturer could end up being held liable. Or if the truck was loaded by another company and was loaded improperly, in a way that could have contributed to the accident, that company may be at least partially on the hook. When trucks jackknife, it’s often caused by a truck’s front brakes being disabled or de-powered, in which case the party responsible for doing that would be involved. And, of course, it’s entirely possible that the driver is at at least partially at fault.
The weight of an average car is about 3,000-4,000 pounds, but a fully-loaded truck can easily exceed 10,000 pounds. Because commercial trucks are so much larger than regular cars, they’re capable of causing more extensive injuries and much more property damage. Rollover accidents can cause way more damage to other vehicles and private property than a car can. If an accident crushes a truck’s battery, it has the potential to start a diesel fire. Brake failure is a very common cause of truck accidents and when a truck’s brakes fail, its size and weight make it harder for it to lose momentum, increasing its path of destruction.
Since trucks are capable of causing so much damage, the costs related to trucking accidents are also much higher than car accidents. The average cost of a non-fatal truck accident is $62,000 and the average cost of a fatal truck accident can be over $3 million.