By nature, truck accidents are quite different, and often far more severe, than most car accidents. Due to their sheer weight and size, accidents involving trucks tend to be more catastrophic than passenger vehicle accidents.
Read on to learn more about how truck and passenger vehicle accidents are not created equal.
Trucks Are Bigger and Heavier Than Passenger Vehicles
The United States federal government sets weight limits for trucks so there is consistency across the nation’s interstate highways. A typical big rig weighs anywhere from 20,000 pounds (lbs) to the 80,000 lbs federal limit.
Compare that to a typical passenger vehicle, which can weigh anywhere from 1,500 lbs to nearly 3,000 lbs.
You don’t have to be an expert physicist to know that a vehicle weighing 80,000 lbs will surely obliterate a much smaller vehicle that weighs about 2,000 lbs in a collision.
In fact, one study alleges that “A 1,000-pound increase in striking vehicle weight raises the probability of a fatality in the struck vehicle by 47%.” In other words, the vehicle’s weight has a critical influence on the number of collision deaths and where they happen.
Trucks Don’t Stop as Easily as Passenger Vehicles
Because of their massive size and weight, big rig trucks have a much harder time slowing down, and thus, stopping, than passenger vehicles do. In the event of an unexpected road occurrence, passenger vehicles have much higher chances of being able to slow down or stop before colliding with other vehicles.
The same cannot be said about trucks. Trucks require significantly more time and space to slow down and stop than passenger vehicles do. This is one of the reasons truck accidents tend to be more catastrophic than passenger vehicle collisions.
Accident Causes Vary
When passenger vehicles are involved in accidents, it is typically because of some form of driver error. For example, a driver may fail to yield when necessary or will take the right of way before it’s their turn.
However, trucking accidents can be attributed in-part to driver error, but there is typically also some other reason behind these sorts of accidents. Usually, the trucking company is also partially to blame for big rig accidents.
Trucking companies are typically implicated as part of the reason behind truck accidents due to equipment failure. While drivers are required to conduct pre-trip inspections to make sure that all of their equipment is in good working condition and functions properly, equipment functionality is not their sole responsibility. However, if an accident occurs due to a piece of failed equipment that should have been checked by the driver before the trip began, the liability will likely fall on the driver.
Trucking companies may be held liable for wrecks that occur as a result of negligently failing to ensure proper truck maintenance.
Compensation for Damages
The law provides that if you have been injured as a result of a truck accident, you may recover damages in order to return you to where you were physically and financially before the accident happened. It is typically not very easy to determine what these costs will amount to directly after the accident.
If you are hit by a truck driver, you have the option to sue whoever was involved in the accident in order to recover damages for your losses. Similar to car accident victims, if you’re involved in a trucking accident, you also have the option to sue for medical treatment costs, nursing home expenses, rehabilitation, domestic services, earnings losses, as well as earning capacity losses.
Due to the nature of big rig crashes, truck drivers are required to carry insurance that has larger-than-normal liability limits in order to compensate for the significant losses that tend to be attributed to truck accidents. That’s a good thing for victims because it means you are more likely to recover more of the losses you sustained than you would if truckers had average levels of insurance.
If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, you probably have many questions. Look no further than Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell, where our attorneys are highly experienced in recovering damages for victims who have been impacted by truck accidents. Don’t wait to contact our firm with your case right away. After all, it’s your health that’s on the line.
Call Templeton Smithee Hayes Heinrich & Russell today at (806) 547-2022. We represent clients in the Texas panhandle and Eastern New Mexico.