Commercial Truck Crashes vs. Car Accidents: Five Key Differences
New York crash data reveals that there are about 1,098 people killed each year as a result of car crashes. These motor vehicle collisions take the lives of about 5.6 out of 100,000 New Yorkers. When it comes to injuries, the data shows that there are about 12,093 hospitalizations every year, all caused by traffic accidents. With so many crashes, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Of course, not all accidents are the same. Many of these crashes involve commercial vehicles, including large semi-trucks. These are very different from your typical crashes that involve only passenger cars.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP wants you to know some of the key differences between an auto accident and a commercial truck crash.
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Specific Laws and Regulations
Because of the absolute enormity of large commercial vehicles and the inherent dangers they pose, strict state and federal regulations apply to the operation, management, and ownership of commercial carrier companies. These trucks can generally weigh as much as 80,000 pounds (or more when operating under special permits). They often carry hazardous chemicals or have open flat-bed trailers.
Laws and regulations are often violated when drivers continue working past their hours of service, use handheld devices, or abuse drugs, alcohol or prescription medications on the job. There are also operating guidelines that apply to driving these vehicles.
Unlike a regular passenger vehicle, semi-trucks are often equipped with so-called “black boxes” that record driving and crash data recordings. They also generally have satellite communication devices built in. All of these high-tech additions can be helpful to establishing what happened in a crash.
Trucking companies have been known to hide evidence, conceal their involvement, repair damage just hours after a crash, or do just about anything you can think of to avoid having to pay for injuries and damages after a collision. While this may seem unethical or wrong, it sadly happens quite a lot. If you are hurt in a trucking accident, do not be surprised if the trucking company dispatches supervisors, investigators, or even risk managers to the scene while police are still there.
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Severity of the Damages and Injuries
When a 40-ton vehicle strikes a passenger vehicle at highway speeds, the impact can be devastating and catastrophic. Most truck accidents are far more serious that regular car wrecks. Many are fatal or involve life-altering injuries.
It is Business, Not Personal
Unlike a typical car crash, a truck accident presents a situation where it is you versus a large corporate entity. While yes, you are technically injured by a negligent driver, there is often a lot of hidden negligence behind the scenes that took place long before the driver took the wheel.
- Dispatchers may make drivers violate hours of service
- Freight brokers may overload the truck making it harder to stop
- Companies may look the other way and ignore logbook violations
- Maintenance or repair teams may ignore dangerous safety violations
When you are in a car accident, the insurance company will likely have lower limits of coverage, intended to pay for common injuries. Large trucking companies typically carry commercial insurance or are self-insured.
Get Help After a Crash from our Long Island Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been seriously injured in a semi-truck collision, call the experienced Long Island truck accident attorneys of the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to schedule a free consultation today. We offer a no fee promise, which means if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call today at (866) 895-0420.