Commercial vehicles are everywhere. Each time you get into a car, you will likely come into close contact with a professional driver who is transporting goods or people in a large truck, bus, van, or other vehicle owned and insured by a business. Commercial trucking is an important part of our economy and way of life as Americans, but with the enormous number of commercial vehicles on the road at any given time comes the chances of getting into a collision or accident with one of them. As personal injury attorneys, our law team has seen the damage that can result from a large truck colliding with a smaller car, and it’s a very different situation that two similar-sized passenger vehicles hitting each other. Here are 5 of the biggest differences between a “common” automobile accident and a collision between a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle:
Severity of Damage.
The average truck is 20-30 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle, so even if an accident happens at a slow speed, the difference in size and weight makes it a much more dangerous event. It is a rare case that a collision between a big rig and a passenger car does not end with the car being totaled and the damage much more severe for the passengers in the car.
Severity of Injuries.
Along with the damage to property, the injuries to passengers are much more serious, often ending in loss of limbs, extended hospital stays, permanent disabilities, or even death. When a big rig truck or a city bus collides with a smaller, lighter vehicle, the impact can be extremely damaging or fatal for those in the smaller vehicle.
Cause of Collision.
There are many reasons that automobile accidents happen, and many of which can be avoided by following the laws that are in place to protect motorists. However, distracted driving and impaired driving are very common reasons for vehicle collisions. While we all need to take responsibility for our own actions while driving, professional drivers have additional responsibilities for the safety of themselves, their vehicles, and the people around them. There are additional laws in place to regulate commercial drivers. However, cargo weight, driver fatigue, brake failure, and other operational issues can cause major accidents just as easily as distracted driving, drunk or impaired driving, or simply failing to obey traffic laws. The underlying cause of the accident is important to understand so the proper at-fault party can be held accountable.
The Number of People Involved.
In a passenger vehicle accident, there are usually 2 parties involved: the at-fault party and the victim(s) in the car that was hit. Even in a multi-car accident, all of the parties involved are usually at the scene of the accident. This isn’t always the case with a commercial vehicle collision. The truck driver is likely working for a company who hires others to make his/her schedule, secure the loads, maintain the equipment, and do a number of other activities that—if done improperly—can result in a catastrophic accident. This makes finding the true cause of the collision more complicated, and it makes commercial vehicle collision cases more complex.
Difficulty in Getting Compensation.
Commercial drivers work for companies who often have legal teams in place whose job it is to minimize the company’s liability in the event of an accident. This makes it more difficult to get an appropriate compensation for the damage done to the victim’s property and self—it’s just not as simple as a car-on-car wreck. This is why it is vital to have an experienced personal injury attorney handling your case. The team at Mountain State Law has worked with many victims of big rig, bus, commercial van, and truck collision cases and has the experience to build a case that will get you the compensation that you deserve.
If you or someone you know has be involved in a collision or accident with a commercial vehicle, call the Mountain State Law team at (304)-715-3800 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers, or request a free case consultation by clicking here. Mountain State Law is a personal injury law firm based in Clarksburg, WV and represents victims from all over West Virginia and beyond.