If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know that the experience is universally unpleasant. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid serious injury, you have to deal with damage to your vehicle, insurance companies, and the shock that comes with the experience. If you’re injured, you have to deal with all of the aforementioned challenges on top of pain, discomfort, and the dreaded hospital bills. If, after all of that, it becomes necessary for you to file a lawsuit to deal with all of the problems related to the accident you’ve been involved in, you’ll have to find a qualified auto accident attorney to handle your case.
Now, if the accident you were in involved a semi-truck, things can become much more complicated. As has been discussed on our blog before, accidents involving semi-trucks are extremely dangerous. Additionally, finding a qualified attorney to handle your potential case can be difficult. Based on our years of experience, here are four important ways that truck accident lawsuits are different from car accident lawsuits.
More Serious Injuries
It’s impossible to understate how dangerous semi-truck accidents can be. A loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which means that when they’re involved in an accident with a car, most of which weigh around 3,000 pounds, the risk of serious injury or death becomes much greater. Smaller cars have less structure and size with which to absorb crash energy, which means that significantly more damage will occur to the passenger vehicle than will be done to the truck. Because of this, the risk of fatalities is also much higher. In 2011, of the almost 4,000 semi-truck accident fatalities, 72 percent were occupants of the passenger vehicle. This elevated risk of injury tends to mean not only that injuries are more likely, but that injuries which do occur are more serious. Because of this, lawsuits related to semi-truck accidents tend to require more investigation and expert witnesses from medical professionals than automobile accidents.
Victims of car accidents and semi-truck accidents both must prove negligence when they pursue legal action, although the type is often very different. In car accidents, victims must prove that the other driver was negligent or that the vehicle was manufactured improperly. When it comes to truck accidents, the victim may need to prove the negligence of the trucking company, as well as the driver and the manufacturer of the truck. Truck companies are responsible for regularly maintaining their trucks, distributing the cargo being transported properly, and logging the hours of their truck drivers. Because there are more aspects to consider when attempting to prove negligence on behalf of a truck driver or the trucking company they work for, acquiring the necessary evidence can be much more complicated. It’s important that the attorney hired to handle a semi-truck accident case has the knowledge and experience necessary to handle the case successfully.
Because the potential injuries resulting from a semi-truck accident are so severe, your lawsuit may require the use of medical professionals as expert witnesses. In addition to these professionals, semi-truck accident cases may require your attorney to hire a semi-truck accident expert to testify at trial. In order to prove negligence, and convey the gravity and severity of a semi-truck accident, compared to a typical car accident, expert witnesses are an extremely valuable resource. The right attorney will have connections with such experts that may make the difference in proving your case.
Unless your attorney acts quickly, some trucking companies reserve the right to purge some types of evidence that may prove crucial to your case. Unlike police accident reports used to prove cases in typical car accidents, the information owned by trucking companies may not be available when you need it. An experienced semi-truck accident attorney will know what evidence to pursue and when they must acquire it.
Interested in talking to an experienced semi-truck accident attorney? Contact the experienced attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield for a free consultation today.