No one wants to be in a vehicle accident, which is why we all strive to drive as carefully as possible whenever we venture out. While a car crash with another passenger vehicle is frightening and painful, this is compounded tenfold if you’re in a car or pickup truck and collide with a semi-truck. Not only driver or passengers go through an injury, but their mental health might also be affected by this accident. They might get PTSD regarding the accident for a long period of time.
From more serious injuries to more legal headaches, there are huge differences between crashing into a car and crashing into a large commercial vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about the difference – and how you can seek help if you’ve been in a truck accident.
Truck Crashes Can Cause More Serious Injuries Than Car Crashes
This makes perfect sense, given that a semi-truck is larger and heavier than a passenger car or truck, but you might not be aware of just how much more damage this can cause.
By law, a loaded semi-truck cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. However, this still means that they are 20 to 30 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle, which ranges from 1.5 tons for a sedan to 3 tons for a large pickup truck.
Even if the truck is going at a relatively slow speed, like 50 miles per hour on the highway, they still have tremendous force behind them, which will all barrel down on you if you’re in an accident. More than that, the added weight means they need a longer stopping time; while another passenger vehicle might be able to quickly decelerate when they realize they’re about to crash into you, a semi-truck doesn’t have that luxury, and therefore will hit you at a higher speed.
Another factor that results in serious harm for those driving a passenger vehicle is that they simply do not have the same protection as a semi-truck driver does. A semi-truck carriage is much higher than the average passenger vehicle, meaning that they will be above much of the damage. They also have a larger hood with a wider crumple zone, so there’s more cushioning between them and the collision zone.
These differences mean that a collision with a semi-truck is more likely to result in death for the occupants of the passenger vehicle; even if the driver and passengers survive, they may be left with severe injuries that may cause permanent disability and pain.
But it’s not just the crash itself that’s more complicated in a trucking accident versus a car accident: the legal issues are just as serious to consider.
Truck Crashes Have More Legal Complications Than Car Crashes
A collision with another passenger vehicle is enough of a headache, given that you need to coordinate between insurance companies and physically heal from the injury, but it becomes even worse if you’re in an accident with a semi-truck.
Firstly, truck drivers are bound by more rules than the average driver, including special licenses and qualifications: this means that there are more agencies that get involved when a trucker gets into an accident. Their company, the company’s insurance agency, and possibly even the US Department of Transportation will need to look over the accident and decide who was at fault. While government agencies won’t be concerned with recouping losses, the trucker’s company, and their commercial insurance agency have a vested interest in disproving that the semi-truck driver was at fault, and they have more resources available than the average person.
This is why you need a qualified truck accident lawyer like the team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, who understands what to look for and how to negotiate with the other parties to earn you a fair settlement. They can manage all communication with the trucking company, the transportation company’s insurance agency, and any other third parties on your behalf, and they will understand what evidence is needed to prove that you weren’t to blame. A great lawyer can make all the difference between receiving justice and earning an insignificant settlement that won’t pay for your medical bills.
What to Do if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
Firstly, as with any accident, you’ll want to call the police and be seen by medical personnel right away. This is especially true with a trucking accident, as even a minor collision can cause far more serious injuries than ever would happen with another passenger vehicle. Be sure that the doctors and nurses document your injuries right when they happen, as you’ll need to give this evidence to your lawyer.
Since these accidents can happen far from home, where you might not have an account with the hospital system as you would with your primary care physician, take careful note of the exact hospital and ask for paper records that you can send to the hospital system you typically use. Ask them to get in touch with your primary care physician and transmit the records as well, just so that you have multiple copies of this vital evidence.
Once you’re out of the hospital, your next step is to contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Most lawyers allow you a free consultation, which is a great time to ask them any questions you may have and ensure that they’re the right fit for your case. They can begin negotiation with your insurance, the trucker’s insurance, and any other third parties to ensure that you get the proper settlement.
Remember that you shouldn’t talk to insurance companies or other interested parties without your lawyer present, as they will seek information that may damage your case.
Trucking accidents are terrifying and dangerous, leaving long-term injuries, but you have recourse for justice. By consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney, you can put yourself back on the road to recovery and heal in peace.