More than 128,000 motor vehicle accidents were reported to authorities in Pennsylvania in 2017, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Though the vast majority of those crashes involved passenger vehicles—including pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs—large commercial trucks or buses were involved in nearly 8,000 reported accidents that year.
Car or truck accident victims injured in crashes caused by another person or entity's negligence may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other losses. While it would be easy to assume because they're both motor vehicle accidents, car and truck crash cases are basically the same thing, this couldn't be further from the truth. If you're considering seeking compensation for crash-related damages, here are some key differences between car and truck accident cases you should know.
Size and Weight
Pickup trucks, vans, SUVs, and other passenger vehicles can weigh between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds. That may sound like a lot, but it's nothing compared to large trucks and buses, which average between 70 and 80 ft. long, and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Clearly, a passenger vehicle is no match for a massive and heavily-weighted commercial truck or bus, which is why injuries and other losses tend to be more significant in truck accident cases.
Injuries and Other Losses
Car accident injuries can be quite serious. But more often than not, commercial vehicle injuries are downright catastrophic. Common large truck accident injuries include significant scarring or disfigurement, multiple broken or crushed bones, lost limbs or amputations, and disabling head, brain, back, or spinal cord injuries.
Truck accident victims often require extensive or even lifelong medical and assistive care. They're also likely to be out of work for longer periods of time than car crash victims, if they're able to return to work at all. As a result, truck accident victims have the potential to receive significant settlements or financial awards.
Potentially Liable Parties
Car accident cases often involve one defendant: the negligent fellow motorist. Large truck or bus crash cases may involve multiple defendants. In addition to the commercial vehicle operator, truck accident plaintiffs may also be able to name the fleet transportation company the driver worked for as a defendant in their personal injury lawsuits. Trucking companies may share in accident liability if they failed to follow appropriate hiring practices, didn't provide proper training or supervision, or encouraged their drivers to violate federal regulations.
Possible Corporate Defense Team
When truck accident victims seek compensation from negligent commercial drivers or fleet companies, they're likely to face well-practiced teams of corporate attorneys bent on protecting their clients' bottom lines. Going head-to-head with a corporate defense team without skilled legal counsel is a mistake, as it may present low ball settlement offers and drag out the process in the hopes that victims will become desperate and settle for less than they deserve.
That's why having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney handle your case is so important. When a victim has a skilled truck accident attorney by their side, it sends a message to insurance companies and corporate defense attorneys that they'll have to take the claim seriously.
Consult an Experienced Accident Attorney
Were you injured in a car or truck accident that wasn't your fault? The accomplished car and truck crash attorneys with the Accident and Injury Law Group can review that facts of your case, and help you understand your legal rights and options for compensation. Our firm has extensive experience assisting Pennsylvania car and truck accident victims in receiving the compensation and the justice they deserve.
However, you must act quickly, especially after a truck accident. It's critical to preserve as much evidence as you can as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your car or truck crash case with a member of our legal team.