Commercial Truck Accidents are Just Different – Here’s Why

June 28th, 2019 by Guajardo & Marks, LLP

Drivers of all vehicle types know just how dangerous big trucks can be. We share the road with commercial vehicles all the time. Even if you’ve never had the misfortune of being involved in a crash with one, it doesn’t take much effort to imagine how catastrophic it could be.

Anytime a big rig merges into your lane without realizing you’re there, you get a sense of what would happen if the truck collided with your vehicle. We’ve all seen what happens when a massive truck hits a smaller vehicle; it’s almost always bad news for the driver of the smaller vehicle.

In other words, crashes involving large trucks are different. They’re more likely to result in serious injuries, but they’re more complicated in other ways, too. When someone is injured in a crash with a large truck, they’ll quickly discover that there are many challenges when seeking the compensation they are entitled to.

Why are commercial vehicle accident cases so unique? That’s the question we are going to answer. First, we must examine why collisions with large trucks present unique challenges to motorists.

Commercial Vehicles Pose a Real Threat When Drivers Aren’t Safe

Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than passenger cars. They’re also a heck of a lot bigger. The distance between the ground and the bottom of the truck is a potential death trap if the smaller vehicle is trapped in an under-ride crash.

Because of large trucks’ weight and size, they are more difficult to operate. Large trucks can require 40 percent more space to come to a complete stop, and that’s if the weather is good and the truck’s brakes are well-maintained. Trucks require more space to perform turns. They have bigger blind spots than other vehicles. As you can see, driving a truck isn’t an easy task, and it’s vital that anyone operating a commercial vehicle be well-trained and skilled behind the wheel.

When truck drivers aren’t up to the task of safely operating their vehicles, every motorist they share the road with is in danger of being involved in a serious accident. Unfortunately, truck drivers are often pushed to the brink of exhaustion. Though commercial vehicle operators are supposed to adhere to a strict time requirement that dictates how many hours they can drive in a given period, many are constantly struggling to meet demands on limited time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were considered to have been fatigued when their crash occurred. This is likely a low estimate; fatigue is difficult to measure, especially in the aftermath of a serious accident. Because of the long distances they travel and the time they spend behind the wheel, truck drivers are more susceptible to fatigue and are more likely to cause serious damage when involved in a crash.

After a Crash, Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases are Complicated, Too

So, we can see clearly why large trucks present unique dangers on our roads. We can also see why they cause significant damage to other vehicles, but why should that have any impact on what happens after a crash?

The answer lies in the fact that when you’re involved in a collision with a large truck, you aren’t just involved in a crash with another driver like yourself — you are involved in a collision with a business. As you can imagine, these businesses factor crashes into their bottom line. Trucking companies know that there is always a possibility that a driver will be involved in a wreck with another vehicle, and these companies are very prepared for that eventuality.

It’s not unheard of for a trucking company to send a representative to the scene of a crash to solicit signatures from other parties involved in a crash to mitigate their liability. Trucking companies, along with their legal representatives and insurance companies, can be quite aggressive in the wake of an accident. This is a good time to introduce the importance of hiring an attorney to handle your accident claim following a collision with a commercial vehicle.

Large truck accident attorneys know the tactics used by trucking and insurance companies. They won’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by these companies. Your attorney will also know how the process works. They’ll be able to stand up against trucking companies and insurers on your behalf. A commercial vehicle accident attorney also knows the specific laws governing commercial vehicles and commercial vehicle drivers.

Commercial Vehicle Law Also Introduces Complexity to an Accident Claim

We’re all subject to the rules of the road, but drivers of commercial vehicles have even more laws that apply to them. Not only are there federal laws like the Hours of Service Rules, which dictate how long a driver can stay on the road in a given period, there are also laws in each state that apply to the size requirements of commercial vehicles and to the requirements of drivers allowed to operate commercial vehicles.

So, there are many state and federal laws an attorney must be familiar with when handling a case involving a commercial vehicle. Here again we see the importance of having an attorney who has handled cases involving large truck accidents. The learning curve is steep in these cases, and you want to be sure your attorney is familiar with the process.

Don’t Get Taken Advantage of After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Yes, these crashes are very scary, costly and sometimes painful. But if your crash was caused by a careless commercial vehicle driver, you are owed payment for the many costs you’re facing. You don’t want to be treated unfairly by trucking companies or insurers.

You’ll be best served by contacting an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney to handle your case. Your attorney will stand up for your rights to be sure you are given the compensation you deserve. Make sure you don’t speak to any insurance company representative that isn’t your own. Refer them to your attorney and say nothing else.

At Guajardo & Marks, we handle big cases, including those involving commercial vehicles. We know that these cases present unique challenges, and we’ve built our practice to thrive in these situations. We know trucking laws, and we know how to get our clients the compensation they’re entitled to.

Our commercial vehicle accident attorneys stand up for the rights of our clients. If you or a loved one has been involved in a large truck accident, we encourage you to reach out to our team to schedule a free consultation. Let us hear more about your case, so we can offer you our initial assessment and help you explore your legal options.

Contact the large truck accident attorneys at Guajardo & Marks today by calling our firm or filling out our online contact form.