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When Two Worlds Collide: Differentiating Trucking and Auto Accidents

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2016 | Car Accidents |

The number of truck accidents has increased by 20% over the past two decades according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you have suffered an injury as a result of a trucking accident, it’s important that you understand your rights as you navigate the claims process. While many people assume that trucking accidents are no different from regular automobile accidents, they actually differ on several key points. How Are Trucking Accidents Different From Car Accidents? In general, trucking accidents involve a collision with a large commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or other type. Trucking accidents can occur in situations where the truck has jackknifed, experienced a rollover, and in some cases, the fuel tank or cargo catches on fire. Although trucking accidents account for a small percentage of all auto accidents nationwide, they increase the likelihood of a serious injury or property damage due to the size of the vehicles involved. What Kind of Damage May be Awarded in Trucking Accident Cases? As the victim of a trucking accident, you are entitled to ask the court for damages, which is money that is paid from the defendant to the plaintiff in an effort to aid in recovery from the effects of the accident. Typically, the majority of the damages will be compensatory, and are designed to compensate you for certain expenses or lost income that will occur as a result of injury. Compensatory damages can include categories as diverse as medical bills, physical or emotional suffering, loss of wages or other income, disfigurement, and more. An experienced trucking accident attorney will help you assess your situation and advise you on the amount of compensatory damages that would be fair in your specific situation. The court also has the ability to award punitive damages to the plaintiff, which are usually in addition to any compensatory damages given. Punitive damages are often assessed when the defendant is deemed to have acted intentionally, maliciously, or with utter disregard for the rights and interests of the plaintiff. What Special Circumstances Can Occur in Trucking Accidents? With automobile safety standards improving every year, many passengers who are involved in regular auto accidents have the fortune of walking away with only a damaged car. When large trucks carrying tens of thousands of pounds of cargo are involved however, it is far more likely that a serious injury may occur. Professional truck drivers generally must carry more extensive insurance policies to offset this risk, and this may factor into the amount of the settlement in court. Also, unlike the majority of non-professional drivers on the road, truck drivers are required to complete various training courses and also obtain and maintain a special trucking license. In cases where the driver who caused the accident was allowed to drive without completing mandatory training or possessing a valid trucking license, the trucking company may be found liable for negligence. Consulting with a Trucking Accident Attorney Every trucking accident case involves unique circumstances that can have a significant impact on the outcome. If you are a victim of a trucking accident, it’s important to have someone on your side who will help you seek the justice you deserve and advise you of your options throughout the process. Hire an experienced, local trucking accident attorney to represent you case and ensure you get the compensation to which you are entitled. If you need a trucking accident attorney in Kentucky, contact Edwards & Kautz at 270-908-4914 to schedule a free legal consultation. The attorneys at Edwards & Kautz have decades of experience across a variety of backgrounds, and they have the determination necessary to represent your rights in any situation.