Accidents With Semi-Trucks: How Are Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits Different From Car Accident Claims?

Category: Truck Accidents

Article by Tuley Law staff

Accidents With Semi-Trucks: How Are Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits Different From Car Accident Claims?

Indiana is at the crossroads of America, traveled each day by thousands of commercial and non-commercial vehicles. Highways span the length of the state and serve as a common route for large trucks. Semi-truck collisions are not as common as passenger car accidents, but they often have much worse consequences. Regardless of what you drive, a big rig can pose a threat to you.

Along with the dangers of a big rig accident, the aftermath can be messy and difficult, which is why it is likely in your best interest to hire an Evansville truck accident lawyer for legal assistance.

Why Are Truck Accidents So Complicated?

Truck accidents and car accidents differ significantly as a result of two main factors: size and commercialism.

Trucks contain more mass and require more care to operate/function properly. According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), semi-trucks at full capacity can weigh 20 to 30 times more than the average car. Truck drivers need to brake earlier to stop, take wider turns at intersections, and pay more attention to uphill or downhill roads.

The commercial aspect of trucking accidents also makes them more complicated. Any time vehicles are tasked with carrying another company’s inventory, that company is involved in the transportation of those items. The truck driver, the trucking company, the company transporting inventory, the manufacturer(s), and those responsible for maintaining the truck can all be held responsible for contributing to a truck accident. Typically, the truck driver or trucking company will only have to assume full fault if they knowingly disobey laws or behave negligently.

Truck Accident Laws in Indiana

Trucking companies and commercial truck drivers in Indiana are subject to a variety of federal regulations which cover the following aspects:

  • Drug and alcohol use: Truck drivers in commercial vehicles have a lower required legal blood alcohol concentration than regular vehicle drivers. They are also subject to be tested for alcohol and other substances under certain circumstances. If a truck driver is convicted of driving under the influence, they will lose their commercial driver’s license.
  • Hours of service (HOS): There are rules limiting commercial truck drivers to driving a certain number of hours each day. There are also rules requiring drivers to rest for a certain amount of time; these prevent drowsy driving on the road.
  • Record-keeping: Carriers are required to have regular records of their compliance with drug and alcohol testing, truck maintenance, driver qualifications, and HOS rules.

If an industry regulation violation leads to a truck accident, the truck driver, the trucking company, or both will be directly liable for the accident. If an employer pressures a driver to ignore regulations and meet deadlines, they could both be responsible for paying damages to the victim.

Why You Should Hire an Eighteen Wheeler Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents cause big problems for everyone involved. The victim(s) can suffer from physical, emotional, and financial strain. Meanwhile, the responsible party will likely have some damage to repair and also be expected to pay out benefits to the victim. The trucking company and their insurance company will be eager to resolve the issue and get on with their work. Sometimes this could involve trying to minimize their role in the accident to reduce the benefits they have to payout.

Hire an eighteen-wheeler accident attorney to ensure that the responsible party does not walk away without paying you full and fair compensation. The experienced lawyers at Tuley Law Office will continue pushing through intimidation tactics and get you the compensation you deserve—even against large corporations.

Differences Between Truck and Car Accidents

A big rig accident lawyer is especially helpful in truck accident cases because these cases are less common than car accidents and more complicated. Below are some of the key differences between passenger car and commercial truck crashes.

Semi vs. Car Accident Injuries

Due to the size and weight of semi-trucks, they are more likely to cause severe damage and injuries. Even in small collisions, the protection offered by a passenger car is not intended to stop the weight of a large truck. The extra weight of the truck and tractor-trailer combined can cause more serious injuries for passengers and drivers, even in smaller accidents.

Truck vs. Car Crash Compensation

As vehicle accident injuries and damages become more severe, the possible recoverable damages for a settlement increase. Because truck accidents have the potential to do more damage, commercial truck drivers and companies are required to carry more liability insurance—often more than $1 million.

Not to mention there are multiple insurance policies at play in a commercial semi-truck accident. The insurance of the truck driver, trucking company, and carrier can all come into play if they are found to be at fault. These entities usually have a lawyer or legal team in charge of minimizing payments. Hiring your own lawyer to negotiate with them can be essential to receiving sufficient compensation.

You may also be eligible for additional compensation if your car is totaled, which can happen at much lower speeds in a truck accident than in a car accident because of the semi-truck’s mass.

Available Evidence in Truck and Car Accidents

Car accidents are typically more straightforward than trucking accidents because they involve a smaller number of parties. Commercial truck accidents involve a much larger volume of evidence and many more potential causes for the crash. In a commercial crash, the possible at-fault parties include the following:

  • The driver of the truck
  • The truck maintenance team
  • The truck component manufacturers
  • The trucking company
  • Truck cargo loading teams
  • Whoever owns the trailer
  • Third-party vendors using the trucking company

These layers of liability can make determining fault in a truck accident more difficult. Beyond having to perform a more comprehensive investigation, assigning blame can be tough because different parties may attempt to divert blame away from themselves to save money. This can also benefit the victim because they will have more insurance policies available for providing compensation.

The number of possible at-fault parties increases the amount of evidence available after a truck accident. Some of the evidence from a truck accident that is not available in a car accident includes:

  • Maintenance logs
  • Hours of service logs
  • Company hiring records
  • Cargo loading manifests
  • Truck “black box” data

Each of these offers insights into how a different party may have contributed to the accident, but it’s a lot of information to comb through. Hire a knowledgeable Indiana big rig accident lawyer to help you discover and prove who was at fault in your truck accident.

How Long Does an 18-Wheeler Lawsuit Take?

The length of an 18-wheeler lawsuit depends on key factors that differ on a case-by-case basis. How long your medical injuries take to be treated and negotiations with the insurance company can significantly extend how long it takes to receive compensation.

In general, truck accident lawsuits will take longer to resolve because of their complexity and the number of parties involved. This is especially true if the case goes to trial, which often lasts between 18 months and three years.

What Is an Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement?

Similar to the semi-truck accident case timeline, the size of a settlement is heavily dependent on the specific situation. The severity of injuries, the damage done to the property, the size of the responsible trucking company, and the skill of your truck accident lawyer all have a significant impact on how much money you will receive.

Tuley Law Office Evansville Truck Accident Lawyers

Thanks to years of experience, our law firm also handles many different types of car accidents other than truck accidents. Our truck accident lawyers have been specially trained to handle severe accidents with serious injuries and lots of damage. We won’t be intimidated by the insurance companies, and we won’t stop fighting until you get the compensation you deserve.

If you were involved in an Indiana truck accident, reach out today. Take care of yourself and get the medical help you need while we take care of the legalities. Hire a Tuley Law Office Evansville semi-truck accident lawyer or fill out our online contact form to begin pursuing damages for your injuries.

Have questions about your case?

Contact us