Is There a Difference Between Car and Truck Accident Cases?

Date: February 21, 2014
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In all likelihood, there will be a lot of differences between a truck and car accident case. The array of negligible parties and insurance coverage variances make these cases complex. While both auto accidents and truck accidents can cause injuries and even death to those involved, some factors are typical in semi-truck accidents and do not apply to other types of auto accidents.

Federal Laws Regulate Trucking Companies

To make the roadways safer, federal laws exist to reduce the number of truck crashes:

  • Truck drivers are required to obtain a special license after completing their training.
  • Truck drivers must have formal and specialized education.
  • Truck drivers must know how to load and unload their truck.

If You Suffered Injuries in a Truck Accident, You May be Able to Seek Compensation

If you sustained injuries in a truck accident and the truck’s driver neglected to have the training required by federal law, you may be able to sue the driver. If the company the driver works for did not provide its drivers with the instructions necessary to operate the trucks or the trucking company hired the driver without verifying his/her driving qualifications and credentials, you may be able to sue the trucking company itself for the injuries you sustained or any death that the accident caused.

Auto Accidents

If an automobile accident involves small cars or other vehicles, you cannot hold anyone except the driver himself/herself responsible for your injuries. There is no federal law regulating the typical driver.

Other Federal Laws and Regulations Governing the Trucking Industry

Some of the laws and regulations related to the trucking industry include:

  • Driver specific documentation and conduct
  • Truck inspections and preventive maintenance
  • Understanding how the brakes work on the truck
  • Knowing how to check the brakes
  • Drivers are required to keep a logbook
  • Appropriate transportation of HAZMAT goods
  • Routine drug and alcohol testing

 

These are just a few of the truck driver limitations put in place to keep the roadways safer.

Hours of Service Rule

The truck drivers have rules that they must follow. These rules are called the ‘Hours of Service Rules’ and are driving limitations placed on truck drivers. To keep semi-truck drivers from becoming fatigued, these rules were put into place.

The truck driver ‘Hours of Service Rule ‘states that a truck driver cannot drive or work on other tasks any longer than 8 continuous hours. Once the driver has worked these 8 hours, the driver is required to take a 30-minute rest period before driving the truck again. A truck driver can work no more than 70 hours in a 7-day period.

Driver or Company is Violating Federal Rules When Accident Occurs

If a truck driver or company is violating any of the federal rules that result in an accident, negligence may be easy to prove. In an accident that involves other vehicles, there are no violations to fall back on. This makes proving negligence and liability more challenging.

It is mandatory that truckers carry certain limits of protective insurance coverage. This is because injuries sustained in a truck accident are usually more severe than the injuries caused in other automobile accidents. The insurance money involved in a truck accident case is substantial when compared to the money in other kinds of vehicle accidents.

Because there is more money available, you may receive more damages and compensation for the injuries you sustained due to the negligence of a truck driver and/or the trucking company. A truck accident attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained in a truck accident.

Paul Oven
Paul started as a Law Clerk with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, L.L.P. while attending the University of Scranton in 1990. After completing law school in 1995, he started as an Associate in the Scranton/Moosic office immediately and became a Partner in 2000.