How Truck Accident and Car Accident Claims Differ

Truck on freeway

Injury claims involving common passenger vehicles are handled much differently than those involving large trucks such as 18-wheelers and semis. From understanding laws governing drivers and their responsibilities, to producing the necessary documentation to pursue compensation, there is much to be gained by retaining an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Trucking accident cases are often more complex and bound by stricter time constraints compared to motorcycle or vehicle crashes. Although tractor trailers and other commercial trucks are responsible for a small portion of Louisiana’s traffic accidents, their sheer size increases the likelihood of catastrophic and even fatal injury. Beyond the severity of injuries and property damage, here are a few other ways that truck accident claims are different.

Liability issues

Commercial vehicle drivers and trucking companies must adhere to regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pertaining to driver training, shift limits, inspections, maintenance and proper loading of cargo. If you are in an accident with a large truck, liability is not always cut and dry. If evidence shows that FMCSA regulations were ignored, the driver did not possess the correct license or training, or the truck wasn’t roadworthy, the trucking company and other entities may face legal responsibility for the ensuing damages.

In-depth investigations needed

A significant amount of evidence is needed to prove whether the truck driver or the employing company was compliant with industry standards and regulations, or whether negligence was a factor. A skilled attorney will investigate all sources of information, including but not limited to:

  • The truck’s onboard communications systems
  • Driver’s logbook
  • Maintenance history and records
  • Records of routine inspections and repairs
  • Driver’s training file and licensing
  • Dispatch instructions and bills of lading

Larger insurance policies

The legal weight for the average tractor trailer is 80,000 pounds. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs just 4,000 pounds.  When the two collide, permanent, debilitating injuries are not uncommon, and medical expenses can climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Trucking companies realize and attempt to mitigate this risk by carrying massive liability insurance policies. As a result, truck accident lawsuits typically net higher compensation awards, particularly if the victim requires months of hospitalization and medical treatment.

Trucking companies will assign senior insurance adjusters to the case, who are trained to reduce liability, regardless of who is actually to blame. 

Increased chance of fatality

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, some 4,000 Americans die in trucking accidents every year. Over the last 8 years, the number of people who died in large truck accidents has risen 30 percent. The grim reality is that a collision with an 18-wheeler is more likely to result in death compared to a crash involving two cars. The sudden loss of a loved one is horrific enough without taking on the financial hardships that can accompany this loss.

Speak to a Lafayette truck accident attorney

If you or someone you love needs assistance filing a truck accident claim in Louisiana, you need a lawyer you can count on. Attorney Bart Bernard understands the intricacies of trucking accident cases and can improve your chances of securing justice and fair compensation.

Reach out for a free case evaluation today and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™.

Additional Resources:

  1. Truckers Report, Facts About Trucks – Everything You Want To Know About Eighteen Wheelers
  2. Insurance Institute for Highways Safety, Large Trucks 2017



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