Important Differences Between Car and Truck Accidents | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

On the surface, car and truck accident injuries might seem similar. Another driver makes a mistake, and in mere seconds you are left shocked, confused, and suffering from personal injuries. But there are many differences when one of the vehicles is an 18 wheeler, a semi, or a commercial size truck. Here are just a few ways in which a Virginia (VA) truck accident is different from a car accident:

1. Trucks (sometimes called “big rigs,” semi’s, 18 wheelers, or tractor-trailers) weigh considerably more than cars, and can therefore cause considerably more damage, and more serious personal injuries or deaths. While the average American car weighs just over 4,000 pounds, a fully loaded commercial tractor-trailer can weight up to 80,000 pounds. This means that they are harder to slow down, harder to control, and make a much bigger impact when they crash. You are more likely to become seriously injured or die in a truck-related collision.

2. Trucks are not driven by private individuals, but rather by employees. This makes it much more difficult to ascertain who was liable for the accident and whose insurance company should cover the damages. Often one company will hire the driver, another company will own the cab, and a third company will own the trailer and contents. Figuring out whose actions are to blame and who should compensate is very muddled and complicated. Commercial semis are like small rolling businesses – and it can be much harder to go into a legal battle with a company than with an individual.

3. Trucks have large blind spots that can cause serious accidents when the vehicles are turning, backing up, or changing lanes.

4. Trucker and truck operators are subject to a number of strict state and federal regulations. Trucks must be inspected frequently since truck brakes wear out quickly and other mechanical malfunctions are common. Truckers must keep detailed logs and cannot drive for long stretches of time. If you have a knowledgably attorney, you can use this information and evidence to you advantage.

5. Given their occupation, big rig and semi drivers are susceptible to fatigue, prescription drug use, non-prescription drug use, carelessness, and reckless driving. Truck driving can be a high-pressure job with tight deadlines, and the cost of those pressures is often accidents and injuries.

Our Virginia trucking accident injury law firm has a long history of successfully handling trucking injury cases and are ready to help you and your loved ones. Here are additional sources of critically important information to help you research your legal options:




Below are some additional resources

American Trucking Associations
The ATA represents the trucking industry on a national scale.  Their website includes a list of safety hot topics, safety publications, safety statistics, and safety committees.

Truck Safety Coalition
This is a coalition between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired truckers (PATT). It offers truck safety issues, facts and figures, the latest news, and a related newsletter. 

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
CVSA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes commercial truck safety and security. Their website shares news, events, committees, and members information as well as tips and advice on how truck drivers can reduce accident rates.

Institute of Drive Behavior
This site is a collection of safety videos for truck drivers – both new and experienced – aimed at reducing and preventing accidents. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The NHTSA is a government-run website that offers the public the latest news, research, and safety advice in relation to car and truck accident prevention. 

FMCSA’s Share the Road Safely Program
This website is run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and strives to minimize the number of car and truck crashes through educating all drivers and, in the case of accidents that do happen, to minimize the consequences of such collisions. 

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Since 1947, this non-profit organization has funded over 170 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic accidents.  The website includes traffic safety news, research results, and much more.

US Department of Transportation
The website itself will inform the reader of the latest news, research, tips, programs, and statistics generated by the government agency. 

National Safety Council
This is the nation’s leading resource on the development of strategies for advancing safety programs and practices. Their website offers statistics, tips, advice, news, and information related to car and truck accidents.

Insurance Information Institute
This website answers many frequently asked questions concerning car and truck crashes. Learn about choosing the right insurance coverage, filing a claim, and how the entire insurance process works.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & Highway Loss Data Institute
While IIHS conducts research into the three factors in motor vehicle crashes (humans, their vehicles, and the environment), HLDI publishes insurance loss statistics on cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycle models common in the United States.

American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
The website includes a knowledge center, news outlet, and training opportunities.

FMCSA Analysis and Information Online
This website is a vital resource for those seeking track accident statistics.