While sustaining an injury due to reckless driving by a non-commercial driver may be equally as devastating as suffering an injury from the negligence of a commercial truck driver, the similarities stop there.
Most people are under the impression that truck wreck claims proceeds are similar to car crash injury claims, but that is not the case. Commercial truck wreck claims differ from car crash injury claims in three main aspects: damages, liability, and federal laws that apply. Consult an Orlando car /truck accident attorney in case you are not sure how to pursue your case.
Commercial Truck Wrecks Involve Greater Damages
Cars are small, and their impact is nothing compared to the size and force of a truck. Fully loaded 18-wheelers weigh 80,000 pounds when loaded. Truck accident victims are more likely to sustain severe injuries and mainly require long-term medical care. The victims’ damages are often of substantial monetary value. As such, the stakes can be high in a commercial truck wreck claim.
This means that insurance companies are going to put up a solid defense to fight the claim aggressively. While it’s almost always best for any car crash victim to consult a lawyer if you were in an accident involving a commercial truck, you must consult an experienced truck accident attorney before accepting any settlement offers from insurance companies.
Commercial Truck Wrecks Mostly Involve Several Parties
One of the most significant differences between car crash injury claims and commercial truck wreck claims is the number of parties that may be involved. In a typical car accident, the victim usually pursues a claim against the driver at fault, and the claim involves the insurance company of the driver at fault. Truck wrecks, however, can become complicated quickly. Your claim may not just be against the driver of the truck but also his employer. If the driver’s employer is different from the company that operates and owns the truck, your claim may extend to that company too.
Some other parties that may be liable include; the manufacturer of the truck, government entities, drivers of other vehicles in the accident, and any other parties who contributed to the accident due to negligence on their part. These parties are likely to have liability insurance, meaning that all those insurance companies will be involved. It is, however, uncommon for a single victim to possess claims against several parties as a result of one truck wreck. To complicate matters further, the parties involved may have cross claims or counterclaims against one another. It is, therefore, best that you hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you maneuver these complex issues should they occur.
Certain Federal & State Laws Apply Categorically To The Trucking Industry
Even a minor hit from a massive truck can transfer great force and cause fatal injuries. Due to the dangers posed by trucks, special rules have been developed at the federal and state level that are only applicable to commercial trucks. One significant example is embedded in the hours of service regulation, which stipulates that truck drivers should take frequent breaks to be well-rested. The federal government imposed this regulation upon noticing that employers set nearly impossible deadlines and deliveries for truck drivers to comply with, resulting in fatal wrecks.
Driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, if not more. When a driver of an 80,000 lbs. truck is sleepy, the outcome can be disastrous.
Many other regulations apply to the operation of commercial trucks at state levels as well as the federal level. The rules may include everything from loading the truck, cargo storage on the truck to the manufacture and maintenance of the truck.
The employers, owners, and operators of commercial trucks must also meet the requirements of hiring and training truck drivers. The parties responsible for any negligence in applying any of the rules and regulations will be legally liable should an accident occur. Commercial truck wreck claims significantly differ from car crashes injury claims, and as such, they should not be treated in the same way. Therefore, your lawyer must understand these differences and apply them to your case to get the just outcome that you deserve.
When considering the options available to you in acquiring legal representation after a truck accident, ensure that your prospective lawyer has extensive experience in dealing with truck wreck claims in particular.