As Houston injury lawyers, we handle all types of motor vehicle accident cases, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, auto-pedestrian accidents, and semi-truck accidents. While the facts of each case make each victim’s situation unique, there are major differences between a truck accident and a car accident that does not involve a big rig. Keep reading to learn about the four main ways a semi accident is different from a car accident.
How Big Trucks Make Roadway Accidents Different
Truck Accidents Cause More Severe Injuries
Commercial big rigs can weigh 80,000 pounds or more depending on their size and the load they are carrying. When something of that size hits something much smaller, it does so with great force and impact. Semi-truck accidents thus cause significant and costly property damage to anything in their path, but this type of damage is the least concerning. Because of the power of a truck accident, the resulting injuries are often much more severe than car accident injuries and can include back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, head and brain injuries, internal injuries, seat belt injuries, paralysis, and even death. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most common truck accident injuries.
Semi Accidents Involve Commercial Defendants and Complex Liability Issues
Determining who is liable in a semi accident is one of the most important pieces of a truck accident claim. Trucking accidents involve many individuals and at least one company or agency depending on what type of trucker drives the vehicle – but usually more than one commercial defendant. Your lawyer will need to investigate all potentially liable parties, including the truck manufacturer, the agency who hired the truck driver, the truck driver’s employer, the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck owner, the cargo loader, the shipping company, any outsourced vendors handling work related to the truck and its cargo including dispatchers, drug testing facilities, maintenance companies, and even government agencies. Most car vs car accidents only involves the drivers of those passenger vehicles and their insurance companies. Compare that to the list of potential parties above and you will understand why a semi accident is so different from a car accident.
18-Wheelers are Governed by Federal Regulations
Because large commercial trucks share the road with other motorists, members of the trucking industry are subject to complex regulations designed to keep the public safe. Commercial trucks are usually involved in interstate deliveries and are thus required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation. This subjects the trucks and their drivers to hundreds of federal regulations that do not apply to the average passenger vehicle driver. These federal regulations include a variety of requirements for the qualifications of drivers, driving hour restrictions, rules for weight and cargo, requirements for repairs and maintenance of semi-trucks, and more. There are specific regulations that apply to trucking companies as well as additional regulations that apply to truck drivers. Only an experienced truck accident lawyer will be familiar with all of the applicable rules and regulations that apply such that they can review your case and identify areas to investigate further to prove negligence.
Different Evidence in Truck Crash Cases
While some auto accidents can be complex, all trucking cases are more complicated than passenger vehicle collisions. This is largely because in a semi accident case, specific evidence needs to be procured, analyzed, evaluated, and incorporated into the overall litigation strategy for a claim to be successful, including but not limited to:
- The truck driver’s personnel file, including hiring documents, qualification documents, supervision documents, and training documents
- The truck driver’s driving log or other records of hours of driving/work/service
- Maintenance records and inspection reports for the semi-truck
- Drug and alcohol screening records for the truck driver
- Bills of lading
- Cargo records
- Accident reports
- Electronic logs kept in electronic logging devices or ELDs
- The black box GPS data
- Witness testimony
- Tire marks or other significant impact marks on the road at the accident scene
- Accident scene photos and/or videos
- Data from electronic onboard recording devices or EOBRs
- The truck driver’s driving record
- The truck driver’s medical history
- Cell phone records for all mobile devices carried by the trucker, both work and personal
- Truck company compliance history
Houston Semi Accident Lawyers
Houstonians cover a lot of roads and highways every single day in their cars, but no one should die on their daily commute because of negligent trucking companies and dangerous truck drivers. Our team of experienced trial lawyers holds the trucking industry accountable for the role its vehicles play in fatal car accidents by taking on victims’ cases and fighting for their legal rights. If you or a loved one is a victim of a big rig accident, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Contact the Houston semi-truck accident lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. to learn more about how we can help you and your loved ones.