Young & McCarthy LLP

Truck accidents and how they differ from car crashes

There are several obvious and not-so-obvious differences between truck crashes and car accidents that Ohio residents should keep in mind. The severity of vehicle damage and injuries is the first. The weight of commercial trucks causes a greater impact, leaving most passenger vehicles undrivable. Occupants of the latter may be left with head trauma and spine injuries and may require rehabilitative care and short- or long-term disability leave.

With this comes higher medical costs. Another difference is that more lawsuits that arise from truck accidents are wrongful death lawsuits rather than personal injury claims. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that truck crashes result in 3,000 to 5,000 deaths every year. Wrongful death lawsuits sometimes end in million-dollar settlements, but victims normally require a more experienced lawyer to be successful.

Another difference is that commercial truck drivers follow various regulations, set up by the Department of Transportation and the FMCSA, that will be necessary to understand before one can file a lawsuit. These rules cover everything from truck maintenance to hours of service and rest breaks.

Lastly, truckers carry insurance policies that are about 50 times larger than the average car insurance policy. Since the stakes are higher for insurance carriers, they will naturally assemble the best legal team they can when faced with claims.

Those who are injured in truck accidents will want to find out if the trucker was distracted, drowsy, impaired or negligent in some other way. Once victims reach maximum medical improvement, they can file a claim with legal assistance and strive to be covered for their vehicle damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses. If they are partially to blame, victims will have their damages lowered. A lawyer could negotiate on their behalf and litigate if a settlement cannot be achieved.

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