Accidents between trucks and passenger cars are devastating in most cases. Why? Trucks are typically heavy-duty vehicles, and when speed and weight are factored into the equation, the damage resulting from a truck-car accident can be serious. Research shows that over 30% of truck-car accidents are fatal while over 60% of such accidents involve long-term injuries and permanent disabilities.
Personal injury law protects the rights of accident casualties in Alaska. Having said that, you should be compensated for your loss–personal property damage or bodily injuries, if you’re a victim of a truck-car accident. However, proving negligence in truck-car crashes is not easy and that’s why most people hire attorneys in Wasilla Alaska.
How Contributing Factors in Truck and Passenger Car Accidents Differ
- Intoxication is not a Major Cause of Truck Crashes
Intoxicated driving is a major cause of passenger car accidents in the U.S. but that’s not the case with truck crashes. Research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) showed that mechanical defects, unfamiliarity with new routes, and fatigue are the main causes of truck accidents. Also, reckless driving contributes to more than 5% of such accidents. The study discovered that only 0.4% of truck crashes involve substance abuse. Mechanical or truck defects mainly involve issues related to wheels and the braking system.
- The Weight of a Truck
Large trucks are way heavier than passenger vehicles, especially when loaded and the total capacity can even exceed 40 tons. In contrast, an average passenger vehicle weighs approximately 2.5 tons. Consequently, bringing a truck to a stop typically can take longer. For instance, small cars typically require roughly 300 feet to come to a stop while the latter would require roughly double the distance — 525 feet to be exact.
The cargo that a truck can carry is way more than what a passenger car can carry hence, the difference between the consequences of a car-car accident and an accident involving a truck. In other words, damages incurred in truck accidents are often serious compared to the damages that can result from passenger cars.
Trucks often carry cargo weighing hundreds of tons whereas, unlike small vehicles– a fully-loaded 18-wheeler typically weighs 20 times more than a passenger vehicle. Consequently, a collision involving the two (car and truck) will be felt more by the occupants of the passenger car.
- Level of Damage
The heavier the cargo (load) the bigger the impact in the event of a truck crash. Trucks dwarf passenger cars in size, and that’s why they cause greater damage. Besides posing threat to other road users because they require more space to operate, thanks to their size.
Common types of serious accidents caused by trucks can include jackknife, head-on collisions, rollover, pedestrian accidents, and others while injuries resulting from truck accidents can
- Spinal cord damage;
- Permanent paralysis;
- Severe burns;
- Contusions and lacerations;
- Traumatic brain injury and internal bleeding & organs damage;
- Decapitation and amputation;
- Neck injuries or trauma.
This severity of injuries is also a differentiating factor in car-car and truck-car accidents.
- Liability or Responsibility
Trucks are typically owned by businesses or government authorities–meaning several parties can be responsible in a truck-car accident, unlike in car-car accidents. The responsible parties in accidents involving a truck can include:
- The truck driver;
- The automobile driver;
- The trucker’s employer if an accident resulted from improperly loaded cargo, product malfunction (truck);
- A trucking company may be liable responsible for if the accident was caused by malfunctioning equipmenton the truck;
- Trucking companies are held liable in driver fatigue-related accidents, particularly if it’s established that the trucker worked more than the federally recommended hours for truckers.
- Compensation/ Settlement
Loss (damages) resulting from truck accidents can be severe, increasing the recoverable damages for loss incurred– bodily injuries or property damage. In comparison, recoverable damages in a car-car accident are less serious, although they can vary by case.
Plaintiffs in car-car accidents can only pursue the faulting driver or their insurance company for injuries and property damage. In contrast, a plaintiff can pursue different parties in accidents involving a large truck, including the trucker, trucking company, government authorities, and insurance companies. Also, compensation in truck accident claims can be higher than the recoverable damages in car-car accidents. However, the facts of each case ultimately affect the settlement amount in both scenarios.
Settlement in both cases should include economic and non-economic damages and the specific recoverable damages in personal injury include:
- Damages for medical costs;
- Damages for emotional trauma;
- Compensation for lost wages and opportunity to earn;
- Loss of consortium, and more.
It’s important to consult a legal professional when seeking compensation for your loss after a truck accident because you’re likely to increase the chances of getting fair compensation.