Truck accidents and car accidents are both common occurrences on U.S. roads and highways, and often result in injuries and property damage.
However, the factors like more complex regulations and different insurance requirements, large truck crash injury claims can differ greatly from regular car accident injury claims in several key respects.
Heavy Vehicle = Heavy Damage
While large trucks are only responsible for a small percentage of all motor vehicular accidents, the injuries involved can be much more serious in a truck accident case, mainly because of the size and weight of the vehicles involved. A loaded semi-truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while the average car weighs roughly 3,000 pounds. Truck accident victims are more likely to sustain life-changing injuries such as head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and even death.
Lawrence Flick, a truck accident lawyer with Flick Law Firm in Kansas and Missouri, says “One of the key distinctions between truck accident injury claims and the ordinary auto accident case are the importance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRS) and similar state rules. The FMCSRS and state truck safety rules which follow them impose numerous requirements on trucking companies and truck drivers”.
Differing insurance requirements are one of these areas. Due to the likelihood of severe injuries in a truck accident the FMCSRS require trucking companies to carry insurance with higher liability limits than is typically required of drivers of passenger vehicles. Under these regulations certain defenses that an insurance company might use in a car accident case may not be available in a truck accident case.
The higher policy limits can mean that more money is available to compensate a victim in a truck injury claim. Because the stakes are higher, it can also mean that the insurance company may work harder to avoid paying the claims for value as it has more to lose.
As drivers, we all know, or should know, the basic rules of the road that all vehicles are required to comply with. The FMCSRS go way beyond that, containing rules about everything from driving and work hour limitations, rules concerning driver’s qualifications and special licensing requirements, drug and alcohol testing, inspection, and equipment requirements, just to name a some. Just as an example, there are more than 30 pages of regulations and interpretations just on the subject of special licenses required for drivers of certain large trucks and some passenger carrying vehicles.
Limits on Hours
Some other requirements under the FMCSRS are limits on the number of hours the drivers can be behind the wheel before being required to take a break, requirements that drivers keep logbooks detailing their activities on duty time, driving time and off-duty time and rules about how trucks are maintained and inspected, and even how their cargo should be loaded.
In a truck accident case investigating whether the trucking company in truck driver were complying with the FMCSRS can be important to your case. If the truck driver and/or the trucking company were not following the rules and cause a truck crash, this may give rise to larger or additional claims against the trucking company for negligence in hiring, supervising or training their employee, as well as other claims. So knowledge of the FMCSRS can be very important to maximizing the value of your truck accident case.