Though they both share the road, the differences between commercial trucks and automobiles are great, as are the differences between accidents involving each.
The average car weighs about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds, while a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. The size difference means trucks and cars will handle vastly differently, and a safe stopping distance for a car is nowhere near enough for a heavy truck. Loose loads can fall off a truck or contribute to losing control of the truck. Due to the sizable nature of trucks, they have much larger blind spots and the driver can have difficulty seeing traffic around the vehicle.
Because of the weight and size differences, truck accidents can cause far more severe injuries than car accidents, as well as a higher risk of fatality. The compensation awarded to victims is frequently much higher than in car accidents, due to the severity of truck accidents.
In car accidents, the victim will typically file a claim against the guilty driver. In truck accident claims, the liability is commonly spread between the driver, the company employing them, and even the manufacturer of the truck. Determining liability can be extremely difficult, though an experienced truck accident lawyer can help.
Semi-truck drivers are held to high standards while behind the wheel. They are federally regulated to ensure they work safely. They also are required to receive more training to obtain a commercial driver’s license. In addition to local traffic laws, truck drivers also are bound by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) laws.
While there are regulations in place for how many hours drivers can drive in between mandated rest periods, this does not mean that drivers are receiving adequate rest. Tight schedules can lead truckers to drive more than is safe or rushing to meet cargo pick-ups and drop-offs at the appointed times. It is possible for records to be falsified in order to reflect the legal regulations for drivers, when they are driving many more hours than they are allowed by law.
Legal Representation Differences
Trucking companies can afford to keep lawyers on call for when accidents occur. It is rare in an auto accident for attorneys to be present at the scene to record evidence. When a commercial truck is involved, companies will do everything in their power to prepare the case early. This can give them the advantage if you don’t have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side advocating for your rights and challenging the tactics used by the opposition. Important evidence like driver’s logs and phone records are only preserved for a certain amount of time, so it is important to seek legal representation for your case as soon as possible.
Have you or someone you love been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck? Our Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at The Beasley Firm have been fighting for the rights of victims since 1958. We are here to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to discuss your case.