According to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), large trucks were involved in approximately 415,00 police-reported crashes in 2020. Among the collisions reported, 4,444 were fatal crashes, and 101,000 were injury crashes. It is a well-known fact that truck accidents are more dangerous than car accidents for a number of reasons.
Collisions involving a large truck and a car commonly result in life-altering health issues or fatalities; they are almost never minor vehicle accidents. This article will discuss the differences between truck accidents and car accidents.
When you schedule a free consultation with Judd Shaw Injury Law, our knowledgeable attorneys can clarify these differences for you.
Types of Truck Accidents
There are seven types of truck accidents that may occur. Since trucks often weigh far more than average-sized cars, they can curve and land in different ways when involved in a collision.
The most common types of truck accidents are:
- Head-on collisions occur when the front of a truck collides with the front of a vehicle moving in the opposite lane. Truck drivers often have deadlines to meet and take long-hour drives that may lead to reckless or negligent driving. A driver may lose control while driving and drift into oncoming traffic.
- Rear-end collisions occur when the front of a large truck collides with the rear end of the vehicle in front of it or vice versa. The enormous size and weight difference between a large commercial truck and a standard car can tragically result in passenger vehicles being crushed upon impact.
- Jackknife accidents arise when large trucks with hinged joints between the tractor and trailer make improper turns or brake suddenly. The resulting force causes the trailer to swing wide around its pivot point, resembling a folding knife. The sliding trailer could collide with neighboring cars and haul them along as the truck skids through traffic.
- Sideswipe collisions happen when the side of a large truck swipes against the side of another vehicle driving in the same direction. Sideswipe collisions occur when drivers fail to carefully inspect their blind spots before changing lanes or merging into traffic.
- Rollover accidents occur when truck drivers make abrupt bends or drive too quickly for the conditions. The trailer may flip and roll the entire truck onto one side, creating a dangerous and potentially fatal threat to everyone on the road.
- Cargo spill accidents happen when poor cargo loading causes a truck’s goods to spill out the back onto the road. If the cargo is loaded or secured incorrectly, it might fall off the truck and cause major crashes with other drivers.
- Underride accidents arise when smaller vehicles become trapped beneath the undercarriage of a large truck’s trailer. These collisions occur when trucks come to a sudden halt and approaching automobiles get trapped beneath the trailer.
Other Types of Auto Accidents in General
Four common types of auto accidents occur daily throughout the US. Oftentimes, loss of control is the cause of an auto accident. This might be because of the driver’s negligence or the negligence of another motorist in a different vehicle. Loss of control can take place at an intersection or on a highway, resulting in several types of auto accidents.
The following are the four most common types of auto accidents:
- Head-on collisions occur when a vehicle collides with the front end of another. You may find yourself in a head-on collision if you drive the wrong way on a one-way street or because of poor judgment when overtaking another vehicle.
- Rollover accidents describe an accident where a vehicle flips onto its side or rolls multiple times. This type of wreck leaves no time for drivers and passengers to react. There is a possibility of passengers being ejected from the vehicle as it flips or tumbles.
- T-Bone accidents happen when the front end of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, forming a T. Intersections and traffic lights are where this accident occurs most. It is important to follow the traffic lights and look out for drivers who may ignore these rules.
- Single-vehicle accidents occur when a vehicle collides with another object, such as a tree, animal, or telephone pole. Single-vehicle crashes may be caused by drivers swerving to avoid an accident, falling asleep at the wheel, or losing control while speeding.
What is the Difference Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents?
The most obvious difference is the size of commercial trucks versus the average car. Since commercial trucks transport more passengers or heavier cargo, impact with a truck is often fatal or causes near-fatal injuries. Below are some common differentiating factors between truck and car accidents.
1. The extent of injuries and damages
Truck accidents cause severe injuries that require more monetary compensation. Many truck crashes result in serious injuries like brain trauma, bone fractures, spinal injuries, and paralysis. The amount of compensation you can seek is determined by the circumstances of your case.
Some expenses you can request compensation for include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation and treatment
- Lost wages, salary, or earning potential
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment in life
If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you can seek compensation for wrongful death and medical expenses incurred while that person was hospitalized. However, you may not be the only one hoping to receive a settlement.
Truck accidents often drag multiple vehicles into the disaster, so there may be many people seeking compensation. An experienced truck accident lawyer is usually prepared for these scenarios. He or she can help you establish a case to get what you’re entitled to as soon as possible.
2. Complications in determining liability in truck accident cases
Determining liability in truck accident cases is more complicated because several parties are involved. Most of the time, car accident victims have to negotiate with a fellow driver or two and their insurers. However, a truck accident victim may have to deal with the truck driver, the driver’s employer, the cargo owner, truck parts manufacturers, or even the government.
Figuring out where the negligence lies in a truck accident can be quite a challenge. It will be difficult for you to figure out who is at fault all on your own. A truck accident attorney from Judd Shaw Injury Law can investigate on your behalf and work to ensure you receive compensation. Dial 1-866-909-6894 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
3. Insurance coverage limits for truck accidents
Since trucks are large and carry heavier cargo, truck insurance limits are much higher than those of auto insurance. Large trucks transporting passengers or heavy or hazardous goods are responsible for far more fatalities.
In response to such incidents, the trucking industry has enacted regulations. Each state in the United States has its own liability coverage laws. Car insurance covers three different aspects. These are bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident, and property damage coverage per accident. Each of these damages has a car insurance limit ranging from $2000 to $100,000.
The FMCSA specifies the insurance limits for public liability, cargo insurance, and surety bonds for truck accidents. Bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration are all covered under public liability insurance. The public liability insurance limit ranges from $750,000 to $1,500,000 while cargo insurance limits range from $5,000 to $10,000, with a $75,000 surety bond. Where passengers are involved, the minimum limit for freight is $5,000,000.
4. Regulations in the trucking industry
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides several standards for truck drivers and trucking businesses. These regulations address a variety of trucking concerns, including:
- The need for drivers to obey all road safety rules
- The maximum number of hours of service for truck drivers
- The hiring policies for trucking companies
- The regular maintenance of logbooks
These extensive laws and regulations can complicate truck accident cases. If you have been involved in a truck accident, you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you navigate these laws and simplify your case.
4. Higher compensation for truck accident victims
Since car accident lawsuits are usually straightforward, you may be inclined to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer as soon as it is made. However, you should not be afraid to dispute the offer if it is insufficient to compensate for your losses. A personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and help you secure fair compensation.
Truck drivers have more support than regular drivers, so truck accident claims and lawsuits may feel more intimidating. The truckers may receive backing from their employers and the owner of the cargo. Unfortunately, the trucking company’s goal is to offer the victim the lowest settlement possible. In this instance, the most efficient approach may be to fight the insurance carriers rather than the company itself.
Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Are you unsure what to do following a truck accident? Our New Jersey truck accident attorneys are committed to helping truck accident victims recover from their injuries and receive the compensation they deserve. Although truck accident cases might be more complicated than auto accident cases, our personal injury attorneys work efficiently to deliver results.
The Judd Shaw Way includes our pledge to you that you will receive the best service possible at every stage of the legal process. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck accident, schedule a free consultation with our New Jersey truck accident attorneys today. We serve clients across the nation and are ready to help you find the best resolution to your case.