How Truck Accident Lawyers Differ from Car Accident Lawyers
The clear difference between a car crash and a truck crash is the drastic size difference of the vehicles. However, what some may not realize is that the extent of damages in both cases significantly differ.
Therefore, a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with recovering compensation for general losses, like vehicle repairs and medical bills, may not be experienced enough to handle bigger insurance claims in truck accident cases. Here is how the differences between car accident lawyers and truck accident lawyers affect the outcome of a case.
Car Accidents Versus Commercial Truck Accidents
From state mandates to employer regulations, commercial truck drivers must operate on a much different scale than the average car driver. Because of this, proving liability for each type of case will require different skill sets–some of which a car accident lawyer may not be able to offer.
These differences can be discussed with an experienced truck accident attorney and are strongly recommended. Here is how car accident cases vary from truck accident cases.
The Cause of Each Auto Accident
Driving an oversized vehicle, like a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, requires special licensing to ensure that drivers are properly trained. Because trucks are long, tall, and heavy, maneuvering them is much more difficult than it is for smaller passenger vehicles.
Due to their size and threatening nature, trucking companies must adhere to different standards than the average car driver, as enforced by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Because of this, it is the responsibility of the truck driver to remain aware of blind spots, avoid sharp turns, and always allow extra room with the preceding vehicle.
If safety is neglected, the consequences can be more dire than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Whereas, a reckless car driver can certainly do damage, but not to the effect that a reckless truck driver has the potential to.
Consequences of Insufficiently Maintained Vehicles
Trucks spend longer hours on the road, operate more frequently, and drive farther distances than the average driver. As a result, trucks require consistent vehicle maintenance. When this is not performed regularly, the commercial vehicle is more prone to catastrophic truck accidents.
Common examples of trucking accidents that resulted due to poor and insufficient maintenance include, tire blowouts, engine failure, and delayed braking.
In this example, the trucking company, instead of the truck driver, could be found liable because it is the company’s responsibility to maintain the condition of their vehicles. A truck accident lawyer is aware of these state regulations and can build a case to hold the trucking companies accountable.
Severity of Damages
Size being the consistent factor, trucks are significantly larger than other vehicles on the road. Because of this, if a collision occurs between both vehicles, significant damage typically ensues.
The momentum of the impact, paired with the mass of the truck, causes victims serious injuries with greater losses than other types of auto accidents.
Standard car accidents can result in similar losses but on a smaller scale. Trucking accidents cause major devastation in the form of:
- Evergoing medical treatment
- Costly medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Mental trauma
- Pain and suffering
Number of Involved Parties
Aside from the truck driver, multiple drivers are typically involved in truck crashes. If more than one motorist is involved, then multiple insurance companies will also be involved.
This not only makes it more difficult to hold all at-fault parties liable, but it will also prolong the process of reaching a resolution. Ultimately, this will delay when truck accident victims can actually recover compensation.
Additionally, multiple parties associated with the trucking industry may also be liable. Some trucking accident cases have concluded with employers, truck manufacturers, or cargo-loading companies being fully or partially responsible for truck accidents.
Although more than one party being found liable is common in truck accidents, it is more abnormal in other car accident claims.
Types of Evidence
Most of the evidence from car accidents consists of photos from the accident scene, physical car damage, and witness testimonies. Truck accident cases also benefit from this type of evidence but require additional evidence to hold the trucking companies accountable.
Because multiple parties affiliated with the trucking company may be involved but were also not present at the actual crash site, their involvement will somehow need to be proven. Evidence that can confirm another party’s involvement may include:
- Driving record – The driving history of the truck driver can be investigated to determine if that driver has been involved in other car accidents.
- Black box data – This is an electronic logging device (ELD) that records driving time, like movement and miles driven. It also logs the driver’s hours of service (HOS), indicating if and when rest periods were taken.
- Truck maintenance reports – This is a historical record of the truck’s condition and lists all of the repairs that have been performed. It will indicate when the vehicle was last serviced, as well as any consistent functioning issues.
- Truck driver’s working hours – A log book tracks the hours worked to ensure compliance with state regulations. It’s vital to maintain safe roadways by enforcing rest breaks and preventing truck driver fatigue.
- Cargo loading manifest – This lists everything that was loaded into the truck and the type of goods, quantity, weight, dimensions, and crew members who loaded the vehicle. If something wasn’t properly secured, this log would be a good place to start, indicating who loaded the cargo.
- Hiring records – When hiring truck drivers, it is the employer’s responsibility to do a background check on all applicants, as well as confirm that the individuals they plan to hire possess commercial driver’s licenses.
All of these factors would need to be investigated before filing a truck accident claim and is something the best truck accident lawyer is well aware of.
However, personal injury lawyers who have only worked on car crash cases may not have the resources to take on cases against the trucking companies and their legal teams.
Types of Truck Accidents
Los Angeles roadways are consumed with regular traffic, especially during peak hours. Because major freeways like Interstate 405, US Route 101, and Interstate 5 neighbor the city, trucks run through frequently, increasing the potential for a commercial truck accident. The most common types of truck accidents include the following.
- Rear-ending – If a truck is tailgating or driving too closely behind another vehicle, that driver is not allowing enough space to make an immediate stop.
- T-Bones – If a careless driver is making a turn, oblivious to another approaching driver, the truck can “T-bone,” crashing into the side of the smaller vehicle.
- Underride crashes – This is when smaller vehicles get caught below the undercarriage of tractor-trailers.
- Cargo spills – When cargo is loaded improperly, the transported goods can shift around, eventually spilling onto the roadways.
Because the damage from these truck accidents is so catastrophic, they require the assistance of a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer.
How a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Legal representation will improve the chances of winning a case, but when investing in an attorney, it’s vital to ensure that they have experience in truck accidents specifically.
Experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorneys can offer their guidance in proving negligence by the trucking companies.
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care under certain circumstances, ultimately harming another party. First, truck accident lawyers will investigate the accident to identify all at-fault parties.
Then, the legal team can prove negligence by indicating that the other party owed a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and caused the accident, which ultimately led to the injuries of the truck accident victims.
A truck accident law firm that has investigated and recovered losses for commercial trucking accident cases will know how to effectively navigate the legal system and obtain maximum recovery for clients.
The Top Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a truck accident, speak with a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
At South Bay Accident Lawyers, our truck accident law firm will help you understand your legal rights and options to get you the maximum truck accident settlement.
Schedule a free consultation with our Los Angeles truck accident law firm today, so we can begin building your winning case.