How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents
The average car weighs around 3,000 pounds. A semi-truck can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. A truck accident can, therefore, cause extreme damage and injuries. Truck accidents differ from car crashes in many ways, and distracted, drowsy, or negligent truck drivers put motorists at risk every single day. Here are some factors that make truck crashes stand out.
Given the size and weight of trucks, personal injuries resulting from accidents are often catastrophic. The risk of death is much higher when one is involved in a truck accident. Large commercial trucks require more stopping distance. A speeding truck, therefore, needs more road to stop than a car. If the driver is distracted, a catastrophic collision is more likely.
Turning is another factor in truck accidents. A tractor-trailer must carefully navigate a turn, or else it can tip over. When a large truck rolls over a passenger vehicle, it can easily crush it and everyone inside.
With a car accident, rear end, T-bone, and head-on collisions are common. The complexity of the accident increases dramatically when a truck is involved. This can make determining fault a challenge. A truck can jackknife if the driver has no time to react. Disabled brakes are a common cause for jackknifing, but determining responsibility can be tough, especially when it comes to issues with the front brakes.
Fuel fires caused by battery sparks can cause major damage. They can be avoided by protecting the battery or locating it where it’s not near a fuel source. The party responsible for locating the battery and/or maintaining it may be responsible for a share of the damages. Injuries and fatalities are also often caused by rollovers, which can be caused by speeding, fatigue, and inexperience, or even an equipment malfunction or road defect.
Truck brakes work differently than car brakes. Accidents involving brake issues may be in part caused by improperly loading the truck (overloading or uneven distribution of cargo). However, brake maintenance is crucial. If the brake drum temperature exceeds 600°F, a stop from 60 mph can overheat the brakes and cause them to fail. Driver inexperience is often a factor in brake-related truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued regulations that require large trucks to have at least $750,000 in insurance. Trucking companies must keep records on driver violations and use of alcohol or substances. A minimum period of time is set for keeping alcohol/substance test results and other records, while drivers are limited to a maximum number of work hours per day and must maintain logs of their driving time. Such information can be critical when you file a lawsuit with the help of an accident attorney.
With a car accident, one or more drivers are often at fault (in rare cases, it can be a manufacturer or passenger). Numerous parties may be liable in a truck accident, including the truck driver, someone in the passenger vehicle, or the owner of the truck company. Truck manufacturers as well as distributors, suppliers, or retailers of defective parts can also be held responsible. In some cases, the truck driver’s training and qualifications may be considered.
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