You might think all motor vehicle crashes can be treated similarly. But there are some big differences between automobile accidents and accidents involving large trucks.
Trucks do more damage. An 18-wheeler can be up to 20 times heavier than a passenger car. Their size and weight make collisions more severe. Longer stopping distances, decreased responsiveness and large “blind spots” also make them more likely to cause crashes, and some trucks may carry dangerous cargo, adding to the risk of injury or death.
Trucks have different rules and regulations. Truck drivers have to obey special state and federal regulations. There are rules governing such things as the number of hours they can drive, the type of training they receive, and how the trucks are maintained. If they violate such regulations, they can be held responsible for your accident.
Evidence and investigations are different for truck accidents. A lot of written documentation is available about truck drivers, including their training file and drug/alcohol tests. Drivers also have to keep written logs of how long they drive, how long they rest, dispatch instructions, cargo weight, etc. Many also trucks have onboard technology that allow downloads of maintenance and inspection records. But the federal government only requires these documents to be kept for a certain length of time, so it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Trucking companies and their insurers often send their own team of investigators right away.
The truck driver may not be the only responsible party. In a 2-car wreck, the only parties involved are you and the other driver (and your insurance companies). But when a truck is involved, many different parties may be liable to pay damages, including the truck owner or trucking company; cargo company, shippers, or loaders (if the cargo load was too heavy or improperly loaded); even the truck manufacturer and/or maintenance/repair company (if the accident was due to improper maintenance or repair).
A wreck involving an 18-wheeler can cause long-lasting medical problems. Don’t try to take on the trucking company and its insurer by yourself. Get a lawyer who will fight for you and win the compensation you deserve. Call The Cochran Firm of the Mid-South at 901-523-1222 for a free case consultation.