Truck accidents are not like car accidents. Instead, a crash involving a commercial truck is typically more damaging and more often fatal.
While car accidents can be frightening and possibly devastating, getting into a commercial truck accident can be much worse. This is especially true for the occupants of the passenger car. While regular car accidents that involve two cars are much more common, truck accidents involving a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle do happen more than you may think.
Truck Accident Statistics
Just because you never hear about commercial truck accidents, that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Truck accidents rose 3% in 2018, and large trucks are much more likely to be involved in fatal single-vehicle crashes than passenger cars are.
Truck accidents are caused by many different things. 27% of truck accidents are caused by brake problems, 19% are because drivers are unfamiliar with the route, and 10% of drivers felt under pressure. Other causes include tire problems, aggressive driving, speeding, driving while ill, truck malfunction, and the use of illegal substances or alcohol while driving.
In 2018 alone, there were 4,136 deaths in crashes involving large trucks. 2,786 of those deaths were passenger vehicle occupants, 678 were large truck occupants, and 619 were pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists.
How is a Truck Accident Different Than a Car Accident?
For starters, a truck accident is different from a car accident because commercial trucks weigh, on average, around 15-30 tons depending on how it’s loaded. A passenger car only weighs about 1.5 tons. That’s about 10x more.
Truck accidents are also different because of liability. In car accidents, it’s easy to place liability. Generally, there are two people involved in a car accident, one of which is liable. The same isn’t exactly true of commercial truck accidents. While there are still two people involved, the driver of the truck and the driver of the car, there are many other people involved behind the scenes.
If a truck accident is caused by faulty mechanics, it could be the fault of whoever was supposed to perform a safety check. If the accident happens because the driver is overtired from driving for too long, it could be the fault of the manager who scheduled them too many hours. Because of this, truck accident cases are generally trickier. Therefore, you should make sure your attorney has plenty of experience dealing with multiple insurance companies.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Truck Accident
You may feel flustered or in pain right after your truck accident. Know that it’s okay if you don’t accomplish every step on this list. However, if you were to get into an accident with a commercial truck, here are some things that you may want to do afterwards. Most importantly, you want to be examined by a healthcare professional. If you’re unable to move to report, talk to witnesses, or document the accident, that’s okay. Getting medical attention is the most important thing.
Stop and Report
After your accident, it’s important to make a mental note of what happened. If you can, record a statement of what happened, but make sure that you don’t admit fault. Just speak into the microphone and explain everything that happened or anything that you noticed. You may want to go back and record more afterwards, if you’re able to talk to witnesses or the driver of the truck. This is a good step to do, as the accident will be the freshest in your mind at this time. You should also contact the police at this time.
Get Medical Attention
As previously stated, getting medical attention is incredibly important. This applies even if you only believe you have some minor cuts or bruises. You never know what may be underneath the surface. That’s why it’s important to have your medical issues documented for your case.
Exchange your insurance information with the driver of the commercial truck. Unlike a car accident, he won’t give you his own personal insurance, but likely the insurance of the trucking company. There are many different insurance parties that could be involved, but those usually come out later upon investigation of the truck.
Check for Witnesses
Check the accident site for any witnesses who may have seen the crash occur. It’s good to have a third party that doesn’t know you or the truck driver report on what occurred. This will be valuable information to have in court. If the police have already arrived, they may speak to witnesses themselves. If you can, speak to them before the police have arrived, as many people are more likely to talk to a civilian over a police officer.
Take as many pictures as you can, record your own statement, and record the statements of the witnesses with their permission. The more you document, the more it could help your case!
Think Before Speaking
It’s important to not say anything that could put you at fault for your accident, if you think you may have done something wrong. Think before you speak and try not to say anything that puts the blame on you. This even means that you shouldn’t apologize!
Contact an Attorney
It’s important to find a good attorney who has a lot of experience working with cases that may have multiple insurance parties involved. Luckily, the lawyers at Eberst Law Firm have years of experience with these kinds of cases. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact one of our experienced truck accidents lawyers online or at 772-225-4900.