Differences Between Car And Truck Accident Claims

view from a car windshield of an 18-wheeler flatbed trailer truck on a rain-soaked highway

Being hurt in any motor vehicle accident can have long-lasting physical, psychological, and financial repercussions. However, no two cases are alike, and it’s important to understand the differences between car and truck accident claims if you’re pursuing compensation. At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, our personal injury lawyers guide you through the process and help you understand some of the differences between car and truck accidents that can significantly impact how your claim is handled.

More Serious Injury Often Results From Truck Accidents

When involved in a collision, tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks tend to cause more serious property damage, catastrophic injury, and death due to their large size and weight. They are often the cause of multicar pileups on highways, which often come at a high human cost. Although victims can sustain grave injuries in any accident, those who are hurt in crashes with tractor-trailers are more likely to suffer:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Head, neck, and back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Crushed or fractured bones
  • Amputation
  • Disfigurement
  • Organ damage
  • Conditions that affect your mental health long-term, such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression

These catastrophic injuries often require costly medical treatment, rehabilitation, therapy, medications, and a permanent need for ongoing care. No amount of money can make up for a life that is lost or changed forever, but a skilled truck accident lawyer can ensure your claim is accurately valued and fight aggressively to help you get the maximum recovery you need and deserve.

Truck Accidents Claims Are Usually More Complex Than Car Accident Cases

Claims involving large trucks are multilayered and may involve several parties. Bringing multiple claims is much more complex and requires the experience of a seasoned truck accident attorney. A good personal injury lawyer also knows that preserving and collecting critical evidence as soon as possible is vital.

In some cases, a trucking company or their insurer may immediately send investigators and insurance adjusters to an accident scene. They are often there to do damage control and find anything they can to prove an accident was not a trucker’s fault. If you’re involved in a crash with a large truck and you’re able, it’s a good idea to take photos of the scene and your injuries and get contact and insurance information from the truck operator and other drivers.

If anyone from the insurance or trucking company approaches you, politely decline to speak with them. Don’t sign anything or accept a settlement without talking to a personal injury lawyer first. You may also want to contact an attorney before you report the accident to your insurance company. Unfortunately, even they may not have your best interests at heart — their main concern is usually their bottom line.

Settlements With Trucking Companies

Trucking companies often have liability insurance policies with much higher limits than regular auto insurance policies. This means that many injured victims involved in truck accidents may receive much larger settlements than if they were hurt in a smaller motor vehicle accident with another driver. However, it also means that you may be in for a bigger fight when negotiating or litigating a claim. In addition, truck accident claims are more likely to involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, parts manufacturer, or maintenance company.

Hiring a lawyer who is well-versed in going up against large trucking companies and familiar with the laws and regulations included in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMSCA), is essential. Under the FMSCA, certain standards must be met, and rules must be followed by owners and drivers of commercial vehicles. A good truck accident attorney will know how some of these laws and regulations may apply in your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Investigation Of Truck Accident Claims Is Often More Extensive

Truck accident cases require gathering and reviewing specific evidence that isn’t typically required for car accident claims. In addition to evidence, such as photographs, video surveillance footage, police reports, and witness statements, a skilled legal team working on a truck accident case may obtain:

  • Maintenance records
  • The truck driver’s training and employment records
  • The driver’s medical records
  • The driver’s log, which keeps track of the number of hours they have driven, breaks, and stops
  • Results of drug and alcohol testing
  • The “black box recorder” from the truck, which documents speed, engine data, vehicle performance data, GPS, and other important information
  • Mobile phone records
  • Truck interior camera footage

Accident reconstructionists, investigators, medical experts, and other professionals often provide important witness testimony that can demonstrate how an accident occurred and the extent of your injuries. When pursuing a large recovery from a trucking company, these expert witnesses can make or break a case. In more straightforward car accident claims, the services of these experts may not be necessary.

Contact A Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you’re struggling with injuries sustained in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you are not alone. Our team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad has helped thousands of personal injury victims throughout Eastern Pennsylvania get the compensation they need to move on with their lives after a crash. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900. We have three convenient locations in Topton, Allentown, and Stroudsburg, PA, as well.

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