The Difference Between Commercial Truck Accident and Passenger Vehicle Cases
Working with experienced truck accident lawyers in Phoenix can help open your eyes to the important differences between these crashes and typical passenger vehicle cases. The legal team at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. has decades of experience handling truck-related claims since our firm’s start in 1957. We have an excellent grasp on the law and know exactly how to provide top-quality legal assistance. We’ll start by offering a free case evaluation to discuss what you should know about a truck accident claim, including what separates them from other types of auto accident lawsuits in Arizona.
Commercial trucks can weigh 80,000 pounds or even more with oversized-load permits. In contrast, the average passenger vehicle weighs between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. In the initial impact between a truck and a car, the smaller vehicle almost always bears the brunt of the collision. Large trucks can crush or completely obliterate passenger vehicles in auto collisions.
Passenger vehicle occupants run a high risk of suffering catastrophic and fatal injuries in these crashes, while the risk to the truck driver is much smaller. The most common injuries in truck accidents include fractured bones, traumatic amputations, burn injuries, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and internal organ damages. Truck (and bus) accidents injured 1,442 people and killed 26 others in Arizona in 2016.
The majority of passenger vehicle accident claims involve just one at-fault party – the other driver. Unless the driver was an on-duty employee or delivery person at the time of the accident, injured victims will only have the individual driver to blame. Insurance claims in these cases are relatively simple, seeking damage recovery from the driver’s insurance company. Commercial trucking accident liability is very different. Many parties may be liable in truck accident cases, including:
- Trucking company. Since the passing of certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, trucking companies cannot escape liability by leasing its trucks and using independent contractors. Federal law will hold trucking companies legally accountable for accidents involving their trucks and drivers if the driver or company caused the accident.
- Cargo loaders. Employees of a cargo-loading company or warehouse may be liable for lost load accidents. Failure to properly secure goods on the bed or in the back of a commercial truck according to federal securement rules could result in lost loads on the roadway. These incidents can cause multi-vehicle pileups and fatal crashes. The trucking company or cargo loading team could be liable for these accidents.
- Truck part manufacturer. Sometimes truck accidents occur due to truck part failures. The trucking company or truck owner could be liable if failures happen from lack of vehicle maintenance. However, the part manufacturer might be responsible if it produced a defective or dangerous truck part. Tire blowout and brake failure truck accidents often involve product liability claims.
Understanding liability in your particular truck accident case might take help from a team of personal injury lawyers. Investigators may need to return to the scene of the crash, analyze the procedures at the trucking company, interview eye witnesses, and hire experts to help explain how the accident likely happened.
Finally, legal differences separate trucking accident claims from other car accident cases. Trucking accidents often involve federal common carrier laws under the FMCSA. For example, commercial truck drivers require special training and licenses to operate large vehicles. Truck drivers must also follow federal rules such as hours of service regulations and electronic data logging. Passenger vehicle accidents, on the other hand, are less likely to involve federal laws.