When it comes to personal injury cases, not all accidents are the same. The circumstances surrounding a trucking case differ significantly from the circumstances surrounding your typical car crash case. It is essential, if you are involved in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle or tractor-trailer, that you know the differences and understand the challenges that arise out of each type of case.

The parties involved

In a car crash case, the liability usually rests with the driver who caused the accident or his or her employer, if working. However, in a trucking crash injury case, the liability can extend far beyond the driver to the driver’s trucking company, the owner of the truck, the shipper of the load, the broker, and the truck driver’s employer. There can also be claims made against the manufacturer of the truck, the contractors used to maintain the truck, and sometimes, more than one trucking company is responsible for the actions of the driver. This is very important because typically, in truck crash cases, the injuries are far more severe, so it is important that your find all of the possible insurance coverage from all of the possible parties.

The rules and regulations that apply

There are rules and regulations that apply to truck drivers and their companies. For instance, trucking companies that are engaged in interstate commerce will typically be governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. Each state also has its own commercial motor vehicle regulations. The rules that apply to truckers include such matters as hours of service, maintenance of the vehicles, drivers’ qualifications, the securement of their load, planning of the route, and much more. When a trucker or his company fails to comply with regulations, the outcome of the trucking injury case can be quite different than if they followed all of the rules.

Seriousness of the injuries

Because a truck is thousands and thousands of pounds, trucking accidents often result in far more severe and even deadly injuries. It is important to have an attorney who understands how to prove complicated injuries such as brain injuries and serious orthopedic injuries.

Insurance coverage

Trucking companies are required to carry much higher insurance than a car driver. This is, again, because the severity of the injuries is usually so much greater in a trucking case. As there could be many parties involved, there can be several insurance plans that would apply to the case. It is incumbent that you have an attorney that understands how to uncover all of the insurance that is possibly available if you sustain a serious injury in a trucking crash.

Investigation and evidence

It is very important, when you are involved in a trucking accident, that you contact an attorney immediately. This is because it is vital that evidence of the crash be preserved. Things like drivers’ logs, maintenance records, computer downloads, surveillance footage and witness statements must be taken and preserved immediately. Sometimes, in a serious trucking case, the attorneys must hire expert witnesses in accident reconstruction, trucking regulations, trucking practices, and various other disciplines. You want to make sure you hire an attorney that understands the necessity of getting out there and investigating immediately, while also having an attorney who is willing to spend the time and money necessary to prove your case.

In summary, everyone on the road must follow the rules of the road. However, trucks operate in a different manner than cars, and they are much harder to operate. It takes much longer to stop a truck than a car, and trucks don’t operate the same way in adverse weather conditions. Understanding these differences, along with the differences above, is important if you want to pursue your trucking injury case. 

Jill S. Bollwerk
Helping St. Louis area residents with personal injury, workers' compensation & insurance appeals/disputes.