A commercial truck is larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road, making virtually any collision a serious event. This is particularly true for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicycle riders who are struck by these trucks. When another vehicle or a human being sustains the full force of impact of a truck, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic. Upon collision, a driver or passenger of a vehicle may suffer from whiplash, back or neck injuries, head trauma and more. A pedestrian or cyclist may experience multiple broken bones, internal organ damage, brain injuries, and/or dismemberment.
How are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?
1. One factor that sets truck accidents apart from other types of accidents on the road is that most of the time they involve a trucking company. These companies must follow a series of rules and regulations under both state and federal law, relating to things such as the licensing and work hours of the drivers, along with requirements to maintain records on driver qualifications and performance, drug testing, and traffic and safety violations. New York State also requires companies to annually review the records of their drivers. Sometimes regulations are violated, causing danger on the roads for other drivers. Violating regulations exposes the trucking companies to liability. When there is a truck accident, these companies are often sued for negligence based on the wrongdoing of their drivers. In addition, the companies may also be liable for carelessness when hiring drivers and/or failing to follow federal and state regulations.
2. Another unique aspect of a truck accident vs. a car accident is the type of accident they can have, and the seriousness of the injuries that can be sustained. Unlike a car, due to the large size of a truck, it has the potential to jacknife. A jacknife happens when a large 18 wheel truck and its trailer skid and the trailer swings out and stops to form a 90 degree angle with the front part of the truck. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while most cars weigh approximately 4,000 pounds. If a car collides with a truck during a jacknife, the outcome can be catastrophic or even fatal. Since there is a chance of more serious injuries due to a truck accident than a car accident, trucking companies are required to carry insurance with higher liability limits. Therefore, since the insurance liability is higher on trucks than on cars, there is usually more money available for compensation to people hurt in truck accidents than in car accidents.
3. When a car accident occurs, attorneys usually collect certain type of evidence, such as witness statements, police reports, photographs of the accident, and other types of important details, However, in a truck accident, other evidence needs to be taken into consideration. An attorney needs to investigate driver evidence, which includes the driver’s qualification and driving files, hours of service documents, driver inspection records, and post-accident drug and alcohol tests. Vehicle evidence is vital too. Downloads of the on board systems, maintenance and inspection history documents, as well as information from the truck’s GPS tracking system, are all key details as to what actually caused the accident. Cargo evidence, like weight tickets, trip envelopes, dispatch instructions, and delivery documents are crucial too.
You should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can because you want them to be able to collect as much evidence as possible, before it is no longer available. At The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler, we have the knowledge and resources to properly handle your case and get you the compensation you deserve. We help people who have been injured in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Yonkers, White Plains, and throughout Westchester County, Rockland County, Putnam C