How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Auto Accidents?
Anytime we’re driving on a road or highway, the unexpected can happen, and we could be involved in an accident. We never plan for them, so when they happen, they can be traumatic. This is especially true when you suffer serious injuries, whether your accident involved another car, a motorcycle, or an 18-wheeler.
If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you get the justice you deserve. The attorneys at The Benton Law Firm are exactly who you need by your side to hold the person that caused your accident responsible.
Whether you were in an accident with another car or a truck, the mental and emotional effects may be the same. However, not all accidents are the same.
Size and Weight Considerations
One significant difference between truck accidents and other vehicle accidents is the size and weight of a semi-truck the potential damage that results from a collision. If you’re driving a car and are involved in an accident with another car, the damage can be significant. But if you’re driving a car and are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the damage can be even more severe, and injuries are even more likely to be fatal than in an auto-to-auto crash.
A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds. When a truck that heavy collides with a car, the potential for the car to be completely crushed is high. In some cases, the truck can run right over the top of the auto, which can cause a large variety of horrible injuries for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. If you’re involved in an accident in which the commercial truck rolls over onto the top of the car, there’s no doubt that significant injury will result.
Trucking Industry Regulations
Another difference between accidents between smaller vehicles and accidents between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles is the laws that govern each type of vehicle. Because the trucking industry is a massive, multi-billion dollar industry that is responsible for the movement of much of the country’s goods, and because of the increased risk trucks pose on the road due to their size and weight, trucking companies and their drivers are required to follow specific rules and laws. These laws dictate how they are required to operate to protect themselves and every other driver that shares the roads with them.
Truck drivers must obtain a specific drivers’ license, called a commercial drivers’ license (CDL), to operate a big rig. To get this license, they must complete extensive truck driving training.
In addition, truck drivers are subject to “Hours of Service” regulations. These regulations were put into place to prevent truckers from driving while fatigued. Truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving and are allowed to drive no more than 11 hours of 14. They are required to have ten hours of off-duty, non-driving time between shifts. They are also required to maintain a drivers’ log showing their on-duty and off-duty hours. Keeping a log can help to identify whether a driver exceeded his legal driving hours and may also show whether he did so on his own or if he was required to do so by his employer.
Trucking companies are required to conduct routine maintenance and inspection of their trucks. They must keep their equipment in good order and immediately repair any item that performs poorly on inspection. That includes keeping tires in good repair, as well as maintaining other important systems on the truck, such as brakes.
Another aspect of the trucking industry that operates under specific regulations is cargo loading. There are rules for how cargo is to be secured in or on the trailer of a commercial truck. Rules include how and when tiedowns are to be used, whether they’re to be marked or unmarked, how cargo is to be placed and restrained, and a variety of others. These rules are intended to keep the cargo on the truck and in place, even should an accident occur.
Potentially Responsible Parties
In auto accidents, depending on the cause of the accident, the driver may be liable to compensate you if they caused the accident and your injuries. In truck accidents, both the employer and the driver may be found liable for the accident. If the truck driver engaged in reckless behavior, such as distracted driving or driving under the influence, they could be responsible for the accident. If the trucking company failed to properly maintain the vehicle, and that led to the accident, they could be at fault. They could also be at fault if they hired an unqualified trucker or forced the driver to operate beyond his hours of service requirements.
The company responsible for loading the cargo could be at fault if they did their job improperly, as could the company that last maintained the truck if they missed something or repaired something incorrectly and it caused the accident. There could be a variety of potentially liable parties who may have to compensate you for your accident-related injuries and losses.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident and it wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. The Dallas truck accident attorneys of The Benton Law Firm have years of experience representing clients who were injured in accidents get the justice and compensation they deserve.