Being hit by an 18-wheeler or Amazon van is very different from being hit by your neighbor’s pickup truck. And the differences go well beyond the decals on the side of the vehicle. Let’s look at a number of the ways truck accidents differ from standard car wrecks.
When you’re in a fender bender with your neighbor, the only person you have to deal with is the neighbor. Their auto insurance company will be involved, too. If you’re in an accident with a commercial driver, you’re dealing with the driver, their employer, and at least one insurance company. Since the driver might be hired to drive a third party’s vehicle, there could be multiple parties liable for the damages. That’s why you need an expert truck accident lawyer in Houston when you’ve been involved in such an accident.
Force equals mass times acceleration. A larger vehicle requires more power to go as fast as you were driving on the road. This means it has a literally greater impact when it hits you. This is why truck accidents are almost always serious, whereas two cars hitting each other may or may not result in injuries. The truck driver is rarely hurt, since they have the large metal frame around them. (98 percent of the fatalities are in passenger vehicles.) This is why truck accidents are much more likely to involve permanent disability and death, rather than broken bones and whiplash. And your car is generally totaled, rather than moderately damaged.
Furthermore, truck accidents are much more likely to be multi-vehicle accidents. For example, a large truck rear ends you, and it forces you into the car ahead of you. Or the truck loses control and hits four cars at once. This has a multiplier effect on the damages.
The Odds of a Legal Fight
Commercial vehicles are typically operated by companies if the owner-operator isn’t hired by their client. This means they have more resources at their disposal to investigate and fight a claim. This is why you need an attorney to win your case against a trucking company, whereas a private individual may be able to pursue a claim for car repair and medical bills for a standard fender bender on their own.
Furthermore, the size discrepancy tends to put far more on the line than a conventional car accident. The standard passenger vehicle weighs around three thousand pounds. The average truck is around eighty thousand pounds. Even being rear-ended by such a truck will smash the end of your car. If someone is hurt, the medical bills tend to be several times worse, as well. With that much money on the line, drivers will fight, too.
Another factor compounding the issue is the commercial driver’s license. They have to pay more for commercial auto insurance, and they don’t want to lose their job by being found liable for a serious or even fatal accident. This is why owner operators may spend everything they have to prove they’re either not at fault or you’re partially at fault. Their livelihood depends on it.