15 Nov HOW ARE TRUCK ACCIDENTS DIFFERENT FROM CAR ACCIDENTS?
How are truck accidents different from car accidents? There are some distinctions that contrast the two, which impact how they are handled and adjudicated. Truck drivers are trained drivers with specialized licensing and higher expectations under the law. As usual with anything involving legal recompense, it’s crucial to understand the differences so that you better know your rights and can aim for full indemnification.
Truck Accidents: Much More Dangerous and Costly
There are some important aspects of truck accidents that do not always present themselves in car accidents. For one thing, with a truck that is much more massive than a car (some 80,000 lbs. of total weight), a potential collision is bound to be much more severe.
Also, even though they are regulated to only driving 10 hours per day, truck drivers tend to have a lot of incentives to break that threshold. They could drive more than 12 hours depending on shipping circumstances as well as employer pressure to drive faster and increase their output. Many drivers are paid by the number of trips they make, which is one of many ways they might seek to increase their driving volume, thereby making them more fatigued behind the wheel.
Companies have very elaborate insurance policies as well, something that gives them a significant amount of leeway in their approach to driver safety and accountability. Though perhaps not intentional, this could come at the expense of non-commercial drivers who must share the roads with possibly apathetic truck drivers.
It should come as no surprise that truck accidents are more deadly, come with higher property damages, incur much more serious injuries, and more expensive medical bills. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports an estimate of about 3,000 to 5,000 truck accident fatalities each year.
One of the critical determinants for winning a legal victory involving a truck accident is proving negligence on the part of the truck driver. Your attorney has the responsibility of demonstrating that the truck driver breached his/her scope of duties in such a way as to cause an avoidable accident. Here are some of the safety duties a truck driver must perform according to FMCSA:
- Maintain a logbook of the number of hours driven (including service stops and breaks)
- Adhere to legally required maintenance requirements
- Properly load and unload all cargo (including hazardous materials)
- Never use alcohol or controlled substances
- Not drive more than 10 hours per day
This is a brief synopsis of the landscape involving truck accidents, which can be far more severe than collisions with smaller vehicles. Gruenberg Kelly Della takes seriously the mission of providing accident victims with as much guidance as possible in these difficult situations. Our team has extensive experience handling truck accidents involving drunk driving, distracted drivers, poor maintenance or vehicle upkeep, as well as fatigued drivers. If you or someone you know have recently experienced a difficult truck accident, we encourage you to contact us at (631) 737-4110 for more information.