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How Commercial Truck Accidents Are Different Than Other Car Accidents

No matter the circumstances, getting into a car accident can leave you feeling rattled. But when that accident involves a commercial truck, it can be even more intimidating and cause more — and more serious — injuries than a crash with a passenger vehicle.

Because of its size and weight, a commercial truck can cause significantly more damage and lead to confusion about which party you should seek to recover damages from. A commercial truck driver is also required to follow different rules of the road than a regular driver is, which you may be unfamiliar with and which may limit your ability to recover damages.

A Texas truck accident lawyer can help you wade through the differences to make sure you get the recovery you deserve. Here are just a few of the differences between commercial truck accidents and other car accidents that can come into play in your personal injury case.

Larger Vehicle Size

Most passenger cars weigh between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. A commercial truck, on the other hand, can weigh around 80,000 pounds. When a vehicle that size collides with a passenger car, it’s bound to cause a lot more damage to the smaller vehicle. 

Different Rules of the Road

Because truck drivers are responsible for such large vehicles, they are required to follow different rules than drivers of other vehicles. Commercial vehicle drivers must follow hundreds of regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation. They must meet certain qualifications to get a commercial driver’s license, and they must take actions like regularly maintaining their vehicles and completing logbooks detailing their drive and rest times each day. These regulations aim to keep both the truck driver and other drivers on the road as safe as possible, but accidents still happen. 

When they do, trying to determine both the cause of the accident and what, if any, regulations were violated by the truck driver can be complicated. 

Increased Property and Physical Damage

The sheer size of a commercial truck makes it likely to do more damage, both to your car and anyone in it. There’s a good chance that your vehicle will experience extensive and costly damage when it’s hit by a semi truck. 

Injuries sustained in an accident with a truck can be much more severe than those resulting from an accident with another vehicle. Depending on how fast the truck was going, how it hit your vehicle, and other factors, you could experience broken bones, a back injury, or a traumatic brain injury. The impact can even be fatal. 

The extent of your injuries can lead to costly medical bills, long-term rehabilitation, and missed work. A semi-truck accident lawyer can help determine what types of damages you can recover after an accident, and they’ll pursue the responsible party to get you as much as possible. 

Bigger Insurance Policies 

Insurance policies carried by truck drivers are worth much more than those held by car drivers. This is because of the amount of damage a truck can do when it hits another vehicle. 

Insurance companies will do anything they can do to reduce their client’s liability and avoid paying out a large claim. Navigating the complexities of trucking insurance policies and negotiating with a ruthless claims adjuster is not always easy to do, which is where a truck accident lawyer near you can help. They know how to handle claims adjusters and are familiar with the details of trucking insurance policies to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Vicarious Liability

When an accident happens while a truck driver is on the clock, you may be able to seek recovery from the trucking company itself. This is known as vicarious liability, and it holds the company responsible for any accidents that occur while drivers are carrying out their regular work duties. That means that if a truck driver hits your car while they are on a route or just pulling out of a gas station to start their shift, there’s a good chance that the trucking company is responsible under the law. 

That also means that you can likely recover more in damages than you would be able to in a typical car accident — and that you’ll have to deal with aggressive tactics of the trucking company. An experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer can go after the appropriate parties and make sure that the insurance company doesn’t avoid paying out the settlement to which you’re entitled. 

Dangerous Cargo

Commercial trucks often haul dangerous cargo. When a truck is carrying hazardous or flammable cargo, accidents can be even more dangerous. If cargo isn’t properly secured to the truck, it can fall into traffic and cause accidents. 

The type of cargo, failure on the part of the truck driver to secure it, and whether the cargo itself contributed to your injuries are all taken into consideration when determining the cause of the accident and what you can recover.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

The differences between commercial truck accidents and other car accidents can make it difficult to figure out who is liable and how much negligence played a part. When you’ve been in an accident, the last thing you need to worry about is going after the right party and which regulations the truck driver violated.

A truck accident lawyer can handle these and other details of your case so you can focus on your recovery. Experienced attorneys are well versed in federal and state regulations regarding commercial drivers, and they can evaluate the circumstances of your accident to determine who you can hold liable and what you can recover in damages. They’ll work diligently to negotiate with trucking companies and insurance companies to get you reimbursed for your injuries and any other compensation you deserve.

Schedule a Free Consultation with FVF

Experiencing an accident with a commercial truck can be traumatic, no matter how serious the resulting injuries are. Our compassionate team of semi-truck accident lawyers takes the time to go over all aspects of your case with you during a free evaluation so you can get the answers and relief you deserve. Contact us today to talk to an experienced Austin truck accident lawyer who can help.

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FVF

Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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