Did you get hit by a tractor-trailer? These terrible accidents differ from regular auto crashes, but they can be viewed as the same by people who don’t know this unique law area.
If a truck hits you and you have massive injuries, you’ll need to know why these lawsuits are different from car accidents. Truck accident lawyers have unique skills and experience you can rely on to obtain the best settlement. Keep reading to learn more, and remember to find an experienced truck accident lawyer near you for optimal case results.
Big rig and auto crashes differ because specific laws regulate truck accidents that are irrelevant in auto mishaps. The FMCSA or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates all commercial vehicles that move from state to state, including tractor-trailers.
The FMCSA establishes many rules that restrict how trucking companies can operate. For example, federal hours-of-service regulations limit how many hours truck drivers can drive in a row and how many days they must take off per week.
For example, HOS rules state that truckers may only drive 11 hours in a row after taking 10 hours off duty. If a trucker or trucking company violates these rules and gets in an accident, they may have to pay significant financial damages.
Unfortunately, some lawyers don’t subpoena companies’ HOS records, which can reduce your possible settlement.
More Potentially Liable Parties
Truck accidents are almost always more complicated than auto crashes. Truck crash liability can fall on a company, not just an individual. Some of the companies that can be blamed for a truck crash include the trucking firm, broker, shipper, suppliers, or distributors.
Some inexperienced lawyers might not understand all of the potential liability in truck accidents. When someone has severe injuries, unskilled lawyers can leave thousands of settlement dollars on the table and not know it.
Tractor-trailers weigh at least 10,000 lbs, which is about four times the size of many cars. Plus, big rigs can be up to 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded. These reasons are why such crashes can lead to nastier injuries and are more likely to be fatal.
Big rigs are also more likely to be in crashes with several vehicles because of their massive size and weight. But some trucking businesses violate the law with heavier weights, which may make the impacts even worse.
More Insurance Liability
Truck accident settlements and verdicts can be big bucks, which is why trucking companies must carry more liability insurance by federal law. The FMCSA states that trucking firms must have at least $750,000 for liability coverage. Some companies may carry much more, but that’s the minimum.
Second, truck companies must have an insurance policy with the MCS-90 endorsement. This requirement means the insurance carrier is liable to the public. It’s intended to ensure that enough insurance is in place in case of severe injury or death in a trucking crash.
This endorsement often prevents the insurance company from making otherwise-valid defenses in a lawsuit.
For example, the company cannot deny coverage if a particular truck driver is not written on the policy. Such requirements prevent the insurance carrier from ducking out of their financial obligations.
Different Crash Dynamics
It isn’t just mass and weight that makes big rig wrecks different from auto crashes. These other factors influence the dynamics of the accident:
- Center of gravity: Big rigs are taller than passenger vehicles, so the truck bumper can miss the car bumper entirely, which can worsen injuries.
- Cargo issues: Truckers can have cargo imbalances that can cause different accidents.
- More than two axles: Many commercial trucks have more than two axles, and some have incredibly different braking systems.
Remember that these terrible accidents are another universe from many car accidents. You need to have an attorney skilled and experienced in these crashes, so you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.