A traffic accident is a serious event regardless of the type of vehicles involved in the collision. However, a traffic accident involving a commercial truck is often more serious than a traffic accident involving two vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle were involved in a traffic accident, over 70 percent of the injuries were sustained by the occupants of the passenger vehicles. The same is true for the fatalities. Over 70 percent of fatalities in truck vs. car accidents were occupants in the passenger vehicles.
The Design of the Truck
One reason large truck accidents are different from car accidents is the design of a commercial truck. Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than cars, which means they can do more damage in a collision. In addition, the height of a commercial truck allows it to strike a more vulnerable area of a car. Even when a driver applies pressure to the brakes, it takes longer for a commercial truck to come to a complete stop. The stopping time increases even more in slippery conditions.
Therefore, it is often impossible for a commercial truck to avoid a collision even if the truck driver tries to stop the truck once he realizes a collision is imminent. If the truck is loaded, the added weight can multiple the force of the impact on the other vehicle. When a semi-truck hits a car, the likelihood of a fatality or life-threatening injury increases for the occupants of the passenger vehicle compared with the risk to occupants in a car vs. car crash.
Regulations for Trucks
Commercial trucks and truck drivers are bound by additional regulations and laws compared to passenger vehicles. While both vehicles must follow all state vehicle laws and traffic codes, a commercial truck must also meet all regulations set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Trucking companies are required to carry additional liability insurance because of the amount of damage and injury that can result from commercial truck accidents.
The seriousness of a truck accident cannot be overstated. In most cases, a truck driver is presumed to be negligent if an accident occurs because he violated safety rules. The driver can be held liable for all damages to the victims. A truck must have at least $750,000 to $5 million in insurance coverage to ensure enough money is available to pay for victims who are seriously injured or the families of victims who are killed in commercial truck accidents. Because damages are so high in truck vs. car collisions, insurance carriers for truck companies aggressively fight these claims to limit their liability.
Along with the driver of the truck, the employer of the truck driver may also be held liable for damages from a commercial truck accident. Depending on the facts of the case, there could be two or more defendants in a truck accident lawsuit. This is another reason a truck accident is more complicated than car accidents. A thorough accident investigation must be conducted as quickly as possible to identify and preserve key evidence that could be lost or destroyed, such as the information on the truck’s black box. Only an experienced New Orleans truck accident attorney understands the steps to take to protect evidence because he understands the unique issues involved in a commercial truck accident case.
Contact a New Orleans Commercial Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a commercial truck accident, you need to consult with a New Orleans commercial truck accident attorney as soon as possible. You will not only be dealing with the truck driver and his insurance company but you will also likely be dealing with the truck driver’s employer and its attorney. You should not try to deal with all of these various potential defendants alone. You do not have to go through the process alone. A New Orleans commercial truck accident attorney will protect your rights, put your best interest first, and deal with the accident claim while you focus on your recovery and your health.
Contact The Olinde Firm by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.