Not every auto accident is the same; some tend to be more severe than others. Learn the difference between a truck accident and a car accident, and how a truck accident lawyer in Richmond can help.
No matter the nature, auto accidents are serious as victims can suffer minor or catastrophic injuries and vehicle damage. Not every auto collision is the same as the vehicle, the parties involved, and damage can vary. However, truck accidents are more severe than the average car accident. If you are a truck accident victim, a truck accident lawyer in Richmond can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Many variables come into play when distinguishing between a truck and a car accident. Due to the sheer size and weight of trucks, they can cause severe damage and fatal injuries. Victims of truck crashes are eligible to recover financial compensation for their wounds and losses. An experienced lawyer can help accident victims navigate the legal process.
If you were involved in a truck collision in Richmond, you must understand the distinctions between a truck collision and a car accident. This helps you to know how the legal process will play out when fighting to recover the compensation you deserve. Let us now discuss how truck collisions differ from car accidents.
Understanding Truck Accidents
Trucks are common sights on the highways and interstates. They play an essential role in citizens having necessary commodities by transporting cargo from one place to another.
According to the American Trucking Association, trucks move roughly 72.5% of the nation’s freight by weight. In 2020, they made $732.3 billion in gross freight revenues, showing that trucks play an important role in the nation’s economy.
While they are essential, they pose a high rate of risk to motorists, pedestrians, and other road users. For example, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes. However, the number is a 4% decrease from 2019.
Truck accidents refer to a collision with 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or any type of commercial truck that results in injuries and vehicle damage. They can occur when truck drivers are negligent, trucks are left in disrepair, or trucking companies ignore federal regulations.
Due to long travel days, it is not unusual for truck operators to become exhausted when driving. Sadly, most fatalities and injuries from truck crashes come from the occupants of small passenger vehicles and other unsuspecting road users.
If you are hit by a truck while driving in the city of Richmond, call the Richmond Police Department and get immediate medical care. Most importantly, speak with a truck accident lawyer in Richmond to protect your legal rights.
What Is the Most Common Type of Truck Accident?
Unlike car accidents, truck collisions of all types cause some of the most deadly casualties seen on today’s highways. The NSC defined large trucks as any medium or heavy truck with a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds.
Some common types of truck crashes are:
- Rollover accidents
- Blind spots
- Rear-end collisions
- T-bone/side impact
- Wide turn
- Tire blowout
What Are the Most Common Injuries for Truck Accident Victims?
Truck collisions are less common than other passenger vehicle accidents. However, they are more deadly when they occur and can leave victims with catastrophic injuries and losses. Victims are advised to seek immediate medical care for their injuries. In addition, it helps to prove to the insurance company and the court that the collision caused your injuries.
In accidents with large trucks, passenger vehicle occupants suffer injuries such as:
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage, which can lead to paralysis or paraplegia
- Laceration and burns
- Broken, dislocated bones, or fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Severe neck and back pain
- Loss of limbs and amputations
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Human factors cause most collisions in Richmond. These crashes can be avoided if the truck drivers and trucking companies are not negligent. If a driver is negligent, the injured party can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company; however, it is not that straightforward.
In trucking accidents, there may be multiple causes for the crash. While the commercial truck driver may be at fault, other factors can also come into play. This includes:
- Inadequate or improper driver training
- Equipment failure
- Inclement weather condition
- The trucking company’s negligence
- Reckless driving
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Driving while impaired by fatigue, drugs, alcohol, or other substances
- Failure to use turn signals or improper turns
- Poor road conditions
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Mechanical malfunction or poor maintenance of trucks
What Are the Differences Between Truck Accidents and Car Accidents?
There are several reasons why truck accidents are different from other passenger vehicle accidents. They include:
Trucks Are Much Larger Than Other Vehicles
Again, commercial trucks are much larger than other vehicles. In addition, these trucks weigh thousands of pounds when fully loaded, increasing the risk of collisions. The weight difference means a truck collides with far more force than most cars can withstand.
In addition, because of their weight, they are more difficult to maneuver away from dangerous road conditions than smaller cars. Also, they take longer to stop, and when a collision occurs, it can be life-altering. Semi-trucks or big rigs can crush a smaller vehicle.
The Damages Are More Severe
Truck collisions cause the most severe injuries and property damage when they occur. Injured victims may spend thousands of dollars in medical expenses, experience lifelong disabilities, instant death, or die from complications while undergoing treatment.
Different Standards and Regulations
There is a large body of regulations that govern the trucking industry. In Virginia, truck drivers must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle rules. The regulations include alcohol screening, event data recorder, etc.
These laws affect how truck accidents are investigated and how liability is determined. In addition, truck drivers operate as employees, so the trucking companies (their employers) must comply with federal and state regulations and other safety standards.
If a collision happens due to negligence regarding safety standards, the truck drivers or the company can be held liable. A truck accident lawyer in Richmond with in-depth knowledge of the network of laws and regulations can help victims win their case against the liable party.
Truck Accident Claims Are More Complex
Truck accident claims are far more complex than car accidents. Firstly, Virginia is an at-fault state. This means the at-fault driver, through their insurance companies, are responsible for compensating injured victims.
However, you must establish the liability and fault of the negligent party. When dealing with trucking accidents, proving negligence is not as straightforward as in automobile collisions. This is due to the complexity of truck cases, multiple contributory causes, and the multiple parties involved.
For instance, the truck driver may not be the only liable party. As a result, you must carefully study the case to identify all the possible negligent parties. The following are the others who may share fault:
- The driver’s employer (truck company)
- The truck manufacturers
- The cargo companies
- The repair/maintenance company
- Government entity responsible for roads, etc.
Even if other causes and parties played a role in the accident, the driver might hold primary responsibility for the crash. To succeed in your truck accident claim, you must establish that:
- That the truck driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep other motorists safe
- That the truck driver, through commission or willful act, breached his duty
- That the breach of duty caused harm to the victim
- The victim’s injury resulted in monetary damages
Investigating Accidents Involving Trucks
Truck collision cases require a lot of investigations to prove liability. Victims may struggle to establish liability on their own without evidence to prove their case.
After a crash, a truck company immediately dispatches a team of experts to the accident scene to collect evidence and plan a legal defense. So the sooner you speak with the truck accident lawyer in Richmond, the quicker they can begin their investigation and preserve evidence.
Going Against Insurance Companies in Truck Accident Cases
Virginia Code § 46.2-706 requires all Virginia registered vehicle owners to have motor vehicle liability insurance. However, when it comes to commercial trucks, they are often covered by more extensive insurance policies than car drivers.
In addition, there may also be multiple insurance carriers. Due to this, insurance companies are more aggressive in truck accident claims. They are not concerned about your damages; instead, they will be looking to protect their profit.
Furthermore, truck companies put out a vigorous defense for claims against them to minimize the amount paid to injured victims. In some cases, insurance adjusters will contact victims to offer a settlement amount. Usually, the initial amount offered is not enough to cover the cost of your medical treatment, vehicle damage, and other resulting cost.
This can leave injured victims confused and overwhelmed. A truck accident lawyer in Richmond should handle all communications and negotiations on your behalf. A lawyer will evaluate your case and assess the damages to know how much you deserve to be compensated.
What Settlement Can a Truck Accident Lawyer in Richmond Recover for Me?
Accident victims have a right to recover compensation for their wounds and losses. Getting compensation can be a complicated process.
As mentioned, negligent truck drivers often refuse to accept responsibility for crashes, and insurance companies only aim to limit their liability. This can be a daunting experience, but a tenacious lawyer can go against the trucking company and the insurers on your behalf.
In calculating your claim’s worth, your truck accident lawyer in Richmond will evaluate your case and the available evidence. They will use several factors like the severity of your injuries to determine the fair settlement you deserve.
In addition, they can help you recover damages for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Repair costs
- Short or long-term disabilities
- Burial and funeral expenses for wrongful death
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Richmond for Free Today!
The information above shows that commercial truck accidents are complex and different from simple passenger car crashes. Thankfully, you don’t have to handle the process on your own. With an experienced truck accident attorney by your side, you can recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck crash, we will help you prove liability and navigate the complex legal process. At CAIL, we will help calculate the full extent of your damages and will fight to get you full and fair compensation. Contact us today to speak with a truck accident lawyer in Richmond.