While they may share the road, cars and trucks are very different vehicles when it comes to getting into an accident. On average, there are 500,000 truck-related accidents that occur annually in the United States, of which there are almost 5,000 fatalities. Truck accidents are known to be much more severe in nature; and, the impact of a big rig truck will be much greater than that of a passenger vehicle, causing significantly more damage to all vehicles involved. The major injuries suffered from an accident involving a semi-truck are also known to be long-lasting and potentially permanent. The severity of a truck accident when compared to an accident involving two passenger cars is probably what first comes to mind but there are many other differences that are important to understand if you are ever involved in an accident with a large truck.
Differences in Causation
There are many common causes of passenger vehicle accidents that, when being investigated, tend to be simple and straightforward. They typically involve human error – such as running a red light or changing lanes on the highway without signaling. Semi-truck accident causes are not always so cut and dry; and, while much of the responsibility can fall on the truck driver, the trucking company may also be responsible for what caused the accident.
One very common cause of semi-truck accidents is equipment failure. Semi-trucks are large and carry heavy cargo which means they need to have a variety of mechanical systems that cars simply do not have. Truck drivers are expected to perform pre-driving inspections on their vehicles to ensure the equipment is functioning properly and is well-maintained. If a truck driver skips their pre-trip truck inspection and a piece of equipment that would easily have been spotted as being faulty breaks causing an accident, the truck driver could be held liable for the accident caused by the equipment failing. If the equipment failure was due to the trucking company’s negligence, the company may also be held liable for the accident as they did not keep the truck properly maintained.
Truck Accident Injuries
All vehicle accidents come with the risk of possible injury. Trucking accidents, however, have a much higher risk of severe and life-threatening injuries when compared to passenger vehicle accidents. A semi-truck that has a full cargo load can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. A collision between the two is obviously one-sided, leaving the victims in the passenger vehicle at a much higher risk of severe injury and even death. These serious injuries are why professional truck drivers are required to carry insurance policies with higher liability limits. This means there is more financial compensation available for victims injured by a commercial vehicle or truck.
Risk of Negligence
All drivers have to pass a driving test to obtain their driver’s license. Truckers, on the other hand, have to undergo specialized training to obtain a different license that covers the type of truck they are driving as well as the cargo they are hauling. This is to meet all state and federal regulations that relate to hauling cargo across the country. Commercial truck drivers should possess a commercial driver’s license that represents their level of training and qualifies them to carry the cargo that they are currently carrying. This is important to understand because if you are in an accident with a truck driver who does not possess the proper license and qualifications for their vehicle and/or load, the trucking company they work for can be held liable for negligently hiring that driver.
Houston Truck Accident Attorneys
Truck accident victims face a complex and confusing path to seeking compensation for their injuries and suffering. Making sure the accident has been properly investigated and evaluated by experienced truck accident attorneys is key to receiving fair and comprehensive compensation for your injuries. Working with an attorney who understands the intricacies of the trucking industry will improve your chances of have a positive outcome. The truck company will have a team of lawyers ready to represent their interests and it is imperative for you, as the victim, to have someone by your side. If you or a loved one was injured in a Texas truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Houston truck accident lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. to learn more about how we can help you recover financial compensation for your damages.