Besides the obvious fact that trucks are often much larger than cars, and can therefore cause more damage, there are many other differences between accidents claims that involve trucks and those involving only cars. Here is a list of seven major differences between truck and car accident claims:
#1 The Number of Defendants: With a car accident, there is usually only one defendant, since there is typically only one person who can be held liable for the accident. But, a truck accident can involve a number of persons and entities as defendants, including but not limited to:
- The driver
- The owner
- The renter
- The lessor
- The manufacturer
- The loader
- The shipping company
#2 The Number of Cars Involved: Car accidents typically involve only two cars, sometimes even just one. However, it is not uncommon for a truck accident to involve multiple vehicles.
#3 The Amount Of Insurance Involved: The insurance implications are much lower for car accidents than for truck accidents. For car accidents, the breakdown is generally: $15,000 – $50,000 if there are non-fatal injuries, or $50,000 – $100,000 if someone dies. For truck accidents, there may be multiple insurance companies involved, and the insurance implications can range from $750,000 to millions of dollars in coverage depending on how many defendants are involved.
#4 The Cause of the Accident: Car accidents are usually only the result of driver error. In other words, they are usually only caused by a mistake that the driver made in operating the vehicle – such as speeding, failing to yield, disobeying traffic signals, etc. But in terms of a truck accident, multiple errors can be cited as having contributed to the same accident, including:
- Driver error
- Mechanical or equipment failure
- Failure on the part of the shipper
- Failure on the part of the loader
- Failure to hire the right driver
#5 The Drivers: Car accident cases deal with drivers who are amateurs, whereas truck accident cases deal with professional drivers. A truck driver must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and specific endorsements for the types of loads that he or she needs to move. Furthermore, truck drivers are expected to be trained on the specific equipment that they are operating and meet qualifications on a regular basis. Truck drivers also need to inspect their vehicles and make sure that they are in good condition. In short, there is an entirely different standard of responsibility for a professional driver as opposed to amateur drivers.
#6 The Court Where the Claim Will be Filed: Car accident lawsuits are generally only brought in state courts. On the other hand, because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern how common carriers and trucking companies can operate their business, truck accidents lawsuits have federal implications and may be brought in both state and federal courts. Also, many trucking companies travel through different counties on a regular basis—this gives us the ability to sue in a more favorable county (e.g., Philadelphia).
#7 The Complexities of the Case: Car accident cases rarely have the complexities involved in truck accident cases. Federal and state governments place stricter rules for vehicles used for commerce on the roads and highways across the nation. These include regulations governing hours of service, secure loads, logs and records, and maintenance and repair – which are different than the regulations governing maintenance and repair of noncommercial vehicles.
Because trucking is a business, the trucking company and every other defendant implicated in the lawsuit – along with their individual insurers – will act quickly to protect their interests. Therefore, truck accidents can be much more contentious and may involve multiple teams of lawyers and experts.
Free Consultation with Pennsylvania Truck Accident Attorney
Contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. if you have any questions about a recent Pennsylvania truck accident or auto accident that you have been involved in. As a trial lawyer and aggressive litigator who has deep compassion for those he serves, you can trust that everything possible will be done to help you pursue maximum compensation for damages. Call 1-800-InjuryLaw or 215-771-0430 (cell) for a free, no-obligation consultation today.