Car crashes and truck crashes are very different, not only in how they affect the victims but how they are handled in a legal setting. When we refer to truck crashes, we aren’t referring to a crash involving a pick-up truck, but rather semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial vehicles. A car crash is an accident with what we traditionally think of as a car or a passenger vehicle.
At Coluccio Law, we use the terms ‘car crash’ and ‘truck crash’ instead of ‘car accident’ or ‘truck accident’ because the word accident implies that there was no party at fault. Our team believes that a majority of car and truck crashes are not actually accidents, but are events that could have been prevented. At first glance, it may appear that a car crash and a crash involving a truck are similar, but there are often several distinctive factors that make these two types of crashes very different.
Difference #1: The Investigation Process
Most people do not factor in the amount of time it will take for police and experts to investigate a truck crash, one of the many differences between a regular vehicle and a big rig crash. Whenever a company or business is involved, the stakes are much higher and authorities have to consider a larger number of questions and possibilities. Was the truck driver following the speed limit? Is any cargo negligently loaded in the truck or trailer it was pulling? Is the driver impaired? Did the truck driver violate any rules or regulations governing his operation of the truck?
Difference #2: Size and Weight of the Vehicle
Many times car accidents are due to human error such as not stopping properly, speeding, or distracted driving. Truck accidents are often the result of the size of the truck which makes it much harder to control. Also, the size of the truck can make proper turns more difficult. A longer stopping distance is also required. These large trucks are 20-25 times heavier than a standard car, and when coupled with traveling at high speeds can cause devastating damage. It is crucial you know your rights and what actions you need to take immediately after experiencing this traumatic event.
Difference #3: Injuries
Compared to car crashes, crashes involving large trucks can cause life-altering injuries to victims. Common injuries include brain injuries, burns, spinal cord injuries, and more. In the event that you are involved and injured in an accident with a semi-truck, 18 wheeler, tractor-trailer, or any other type of commercial truck you may face years of loss of income and medical bills.
Difference #4: Laws and Federal Regulations
Another major difference between these events is the complexity of the laws in relation to a truck accident. Truckers are held to the same statewide standards all motorists are, with additional federal regulations layered on top. Truck drivers can legally only be on the road driving for 11 hours a day and unfortunately, these drivers are often trying to beat a time schedule making them more willing to push their personal limits. Records are kept by the driver for when they depart and when they arrive, to ensure they are not overextending themselves on the road. These records are only legally required to be kept for six months, meaning the faster you take action, the more evidence your attorney can collect.
Due to the intricacies of federal and state laws, oftentimes a trucking company will have a lawyer assigned to your case before you even leave the hospital, allowing them to start forming their case against you. The quicker you find legal representation, the more likely you will be able to protect your claim and ultimately obtain a fair and just settlement.
What to do if You’re Involved in a Car or Truck Crash
In order to ensure you get fully reimbursed for everything lost or damaged in a car or truck crash, you must take a few steps to protect yourself. You are entitled to, including but not limited to, compensation for any medical care needed, any loss of earnings/earning capacity, and pain and suffering. It is vital you keep track of any diminished wages or income and records of all medical care received. Secondly, you should open up an insurance claim no matter who was at fault, so your company can assign an adjuster immediately. Check out our blogs related to insurance to learn more.
Contact Experienced Car and Truck Crash Injury Attorneys in Seattle
If you have any questions, please contact us for more information and to schedule your free consultation. You can reach us by submitting your contact information online or calling us at 206-826-8200. Attorney Kevin Coluccio has over 30 years of experience successfully handling car and truck crash cases in the Seattle area and across the State of Washington. He is a member of several legal organizations focused specifically on trucking claims, including the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATTA). If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck crash, contact attorney Kevin Coluccio for help.