When a person is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the damages, losses, and injuries will always be much greater than if they were in an accident with a passenger vehicle. Tractor-trailers are large, heavy, and much more unpredictable on the road. And, attempting to secure compensation for injuries from a tractor-trailer accident is much more complicated than a conventional car accident.
Although a truck accident claim proceeds in much the same way as a car accident claim, other considerations come into play that don’t apply to auto accident claims. This is why it’s imperative to hire an attorney who concentrates on 18-wheeler and tractor-trailer injury cases. Following are some of the most important differences between truck and auto accident claims.
Truck accidents involve higher damages
A passenger car will always lose to a tractor-trailer in an accident, because of the truck’s size and force. Injuries from truck accidents tend to be severe or catastrophic, necessitating long-term or lifetime medical care for the victim. If an accident is fatal, the victim’s family may need to file a wrongful death action to secure compensation for the loss of their loved one. The monetary value of damages from a truck accident can be substantial, and trucking companies and their insurers will fight hard to defend themselves.
Truck accident claims involve multiple parties
In an auto accident, it’s usually one person pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. However, with a truck accident, it’s not that simple. A victim may make a claim against the truck driver, their employer, the trucking company, or any third parties who may have contributed, like the truck manufacturer or a faulty maintenance job. All of those people and companies have their own insurance companies, who will be involved as well. Further, they may all make counter-claims against each other.
Both federal and state laws apply to trucking companies
As well as Alabama-specific laws, truckers are also required to follow federal regulations pertaining to commercial motor vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, sets hours of service regulations that require truck drivers to take regular breaks to rest and sleep. Truckers are also required to take regular drug tests and have a lower limit for blood alcohol content for drunk driving charges.
Truck accident claims involve different kinds of evidence
Another big difference between car accident and truck accident cases is evidence. Some types of evidence is common to all personal injury claims, like medical records, photographs of the scene, police reports, and witnesses. However, because truck accidents tend to be so complex with severe injuries, more evidence is necessary and usually available. This can include things like expert accident reconstruction, black box data from the truck, driver logs, toxicology results, and employment records from the trucking company. Experienced truck accident attorneys know how to gather this information.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a trucking accident, ensure you work with a law firm that understands the complexities behind tractor-trailer accident claims. At Mezrano Law Firm, our attorneys have extensive experience working with victims of truck accidents, helping secure fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Call us at 205-206-6300 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment, and we can guide you through the settlement and litigation process. You can meet with our lawyers in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, and Gadsden.