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The Difference Between Car Accidents and Semi-Truck Accidents

The Inland Empire’s booming warehouse industry is bringing far more than jobs to local communities – it is also bringing an influx of commercial vehicle traffic. These commercial motor vehicles are built to transport enormous amounts of freight between ports to warehouses, stores, and other locations across the nation. While semi-trucks are a fundamental part of our economy, the increasing rise of these trucks in residential communities places many drivers at risk for disastrous automotive accidents.

All motor vehicle accidents involving semi-trucks have the propensity to be catastrophic. In some cases accidents involving big rigs can be fatal. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Analysis Division has reported the following information:

  • In 2017, approximately 5,000 large commercial vehicles were involved in deadly accidents
  • This was a 10% increase from 2016
  • The amount of large commercial vehicles involved in injury collisions increased by a total of 5%
  • The number of semi-trucks involved in property damage collisions increased by 3%

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a big rig, it is important to know that there are complex state and federal rules that implicate these types of vehicle collisions. After enduring an injury caused by a large commercial vehicle, there may be an opportunity to receive compensation.

Key Differences Between Big Rigs and Personal Vehicles

There is a common misconception that leads many drivers to believe that being involved in an accident with a big rig is the same as being in an accident with a common civilian-type vehicle. Accidents involving semi-trucks, however, are unlike those from car accidents in a number of ways.

To begin, a majority of semi-truck motorists are not self-employed; rather, are employed by companies that set them to deliver goods across multiple cities and sometimes across state lines. The companies by which commercial vehicle drivers are employed are notoriously known to hold sizeable commercial vehicle insurance policies. Many topnotch insurance companies have an incredibly experienced team of claims adjusters and attorneys. Although having a good insurance policy can mean a greater payout for the injured party, it will also mean that these trucking companies have the means to offset culpability. When a big rig driver is involved in a collision, their insurance company will likely seek to reduce the truck driver’s liability, ultimately reducing or even completely eliminating the compensation for the victim(s).

Another key difference between regular passenger vehicle accidents and semi-truck accidents is that semi-truck drivers are governed by a complex set of rules and regulations. As previously mentioned, semi-truck drivers will often make deliveries across state lines, which makes them subject to numerous interstate trucking rules and regulations. These federal and state regulations oversee multiple components of the semi-truck, which include but are not limited to:

  • All semi-truck’s maintenance; which include regular smog-checks and other body-type regulation;
  • All commercial driver’s licenses, trainings, certifications, and qualifications; and
  • Regular semi-truck inspections, which include driver’s logbooks

Understanding these regulations can be a vital when seeking to file a claim against a semi-truck driver. Finding a mishap made by the semi-truck driver or the company that employs him or her can be of great use when making a case for compensation.

Finally, a significant difference between a big rig and personal vehicle accident arises as a result of the vehicle’s size. A collision involving a semi-truck will typically result in greater property damage and serious injuries in comparison to an accident involving a smaller-scale vehicle. In many cases, a vehicle that crashes with a semi-truck can be completely demolished. Further, the driver in the smaller vehicle can be instantly killed or be left with devastating injuries.

Common Injuries Involving Large Commercial Vehicles

A collision between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck can result in devastating consequences. A person who has suffered an injury as a result of a commercial truck can see his or her life changing dramatically. The following are some catastrophic, yet some of the most common injuries a person can endure following an accident involving a large commercial vehicle.

Head or Brain Trauma

When a person suffers an injury to the head or brain, the severity of the impact is not always immediately apparent. Injury to the brain can result in mild to severe contusions, which can lead to cognitive impairment. Depending on the degree of injury, some injuries can have temporary or permanent consequences.

Back and Neck Injuries

One of the most common injuries when involved in any type of car accident is that of whiplash. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck. Upon impact, a person’s head can be jerked forward or backward, which can cause severe neck strain. This sudden force will stretch and tear the tendons and muscles of the person’s neck and can ultimately result in serious pain and discomfort.

Broken Bones

When a person suffers an accident involving a big-rig, he or she can sometimes experience broken or fractured bones. The most common injuries include: Rib fractures, Pelvis fracture, Hip fracture, Femur fracture, Tibia or fibula fracture, Facial bone fractures, Wrist fractures, Clavicle fracture.

Spinal Cord Injuries

When damage to a person’s spinal cord occurs, the injury can result in a person’s loss of function, such as feeling and/or mobility. Spinal cord injuries can often lead to long-term pain and discomfort.

Internal Injury

Internal injuries can be very dangerous, as they often go unnoticed until it is too late. When a person has suffered an injury, such as internal bleeding, the person can undergo organ failure, which can result in death.

Filing A Claim Against a Semi-Truck Driver for Your Injuries

If you have been involved in a traffic accident involving a semi-truck, you should expect the aftermath to be significantly different than other types of traffic accidents. Seeking the help of a personal injury attorney who recognizes the distinctive aspects of these accidents is vital to getting the best possible compensation. A qualified personal injury attorney will recognize the unique nature of the accident and will fight for your right to a full compensation.

The Law Office of Justin H. King understands how to handle incidents concerning large trucking corporations who can participate in tactics intended to undermine your chances at recuperating fully for the injuries you sustained. Justin H. King is a dedicated attorney who will champion for your rights as a victim and see that you are compensated for the injuries you sustained. You can learn more about his representation for victims of trucking accidents, or view his contact information here.

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