6 Ways Tractor Trailer Crashes are Different than Car Crashes
Having handled vehicle accident cases for several years as an attorney, I’ve seen firsthand that there are several reasons why tractor-trailer crashes are different than collisions involving standard passenger cars. For those who have experienced the harrowing consequences of a tractor-trailer crash and are seeking legal representation, it is crucial to comprehend the distinctive features that differentiate these incidents from typical car accidents. Here are six things to keep in mind if you’ve been in a crash involving a tractor trailer.
- Size Differences Between Trucks and Cars:
One of the most glaring distinctions lies in the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers compared to regular cars. The immense mass of these commercial vehicles means that collisions involving them often result in more severe injuries and property damage. Understanding this fundamental distinction is critically important when establishing liability and seeking appropriate compensation.
- Complexity of Investigation:
Tractor-trailer accidents require a much deeper level of investigation due to the multitude of factors involved. These may include the truck driver’s behavior, whether the truck driver was qualified to be driving, the condition of the vehicle, adherence to safety regulations, and potential corporate negligence. A lawyer specializing in tractor-trailer accidents must navigate this complexity to build a compelling case on behalf of the injured party.
- Regulatory Compliance:
Unlike individual drivers of passenger cars, commercial trucking companies must follow a comprehensive set of federal and state regulations. These regulations cover areas such as driver hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securement. Violations of these regulations can significantly impact the outcome of a legal case, making it imperative for an attorney to thoroughly examine the trucking company’s compliance history and whether a violation of regulations contributed to the crash in question.
- Insurance Dynamics:
Tractor-trailer accidents often involve multiple insurance policies, including those of the truck driver, the trucking company, and potentially other third parties. In addition, many trucking companies and their partner companies have multiple insurance “towers” where excess or umbrella liability insurance policies can be stacked to add to the total amount of available insurance coverage. Navigating this complex web of insurance dynamics requires legal expertise to ensure that the injured party receives fair compensation from all applicable sources.
- Driver Fatigue and Distraction:
Long hours on the road can lead to driver fatigue, a major contributor to tractor-trailer accidents. In addition, the nature of the job can expose truck drivers to distractions such as communication devices and navigation systems. Proving the role of driver fatigue or distraction requires a skilled attorney who can investigate the driver’s history and working conditions, particularly whether the driver followed hours of service requirements.
- Black Box Data:
Commercial trucks are often equipped with event data recorders, commonly known as black boxes, which capture crucial information leading up to an accident. Extracting and analyzing this data can provide invaluable insights into the circumstances surrounding a tractor-trailer crash. A lawyer experienced in handling these cases understands the importance of securing and interpreting black box data.
For individuals who have suffered injuries in a tractor-trailer crash, seeking legal representation from an attorney experienced in the complexities of these incidents is incredibly important. The unique characteristics of tractor-trailer accidents demand a thorough understanding of regulations, insurance complexities, and the technical aspects of these vehicles. By choosing a lawyer with expertise in this specialized field, victims can enhance their chances of obtaining rightful compensation and holding responsible parties accountable for the profound impact of a tractor-trailer crash.
If you or a loved one was injured or worse in a crash involving an 18-wheeler, please call experienced Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Robert E. Byrne, Jr. Bob has extensive experience handling complex trucking claims in both state and federal court. You can reach Bob at 434-817-3100.