Commercial trucks require that drivers a commercial driver’s license to drive them. They include rigs, 18-wheelers, and hazardous-waste trucks. Commercial trucks are generally bigger than pickup trucks and box trucks.
Accidents involving rigs, 18-wheelers and other large trucks are substantially different the car accidents in many ways. It is important to understand these differences when driving and when working to prove the truck driver and truck owners were liable for your injuries.
More serious and deadly accidents when trucks are involved
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for 2016 show that there were 4,440 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses. Sure, that’s fewer fatalities than collisions involving passenger vehicles – 37,461 people died in car crashes in total that same year – but just because their were fewer fatal truck accidents, doesn’t mean that a collision isn’t a serious danger.
While both trucks and cars can crash due to speeding, running red lights, drunk driving, and other offenses, truck accidents can also happen due to jackknives, rollovers, and cargo spills. It is also important to understand that that for truck accident victims:
- The medical treatment is often longer
- The costs of treatment are more expensive
- More specialists may be required
- The number of treatments that may be needed is often many times more than for car accidents
Different dimensions and weights
The most visible difference is the size of the vehicles. Commercial trucks are larger, wider, and longer than cars. They are many times heavier than cars. These differences make trucks much tougher for the driver to control the truck and to handle emergencies. The different dimensions and weight also make it harder for cars to navigate around trucks. When accidents happen, the force of the impact is much greater when a truck is involved. This means truck accidents are often deadlier than car accidents. It also means that the occupants suffer more severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and broken bones.
In addition to the requirement that drivers have a commercial driver’s license, there are federal and Mississippi laws that govern the conditions of the trucks and safety requirements for the drivers. The leading truck regulation agency is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Some of the many rules that the FMCSA has enacted regulate:
- The requirements for inspections and repairs of the trucks before the truck can be driven
- The need for the drivers to keep logbooks for when and where they are driving and other safety items
- Limitations on how many hours drivers can operate their trucks without rest and how many hours they can work during a week
In both car and truck accident cases, the drivers and owners of the vehicles can be held liable if there is a vehicle crash. In truck accident cases, the trucking companies that hired the drivers can also be held responsible – if they failed to supervise and monitor their drivers. Trucking companies often put profit before safety and force their drivers to drive when they should be resting. The shipping companies need to monitor the type of cargo that is transported and the security and position of the cargo in the truck, so the cargo doesn’t spill.
Generally, truck insurance policies require more coverage precisely because the risk of a serious accident is much greater. Also, when trucks crash, it is much more likely that multiple vehicles will be involved – especially if the cargo spills.
Merkel & Cocke, P.A. has the experience to help you get justice. We immediately investigate the cause of the accident. Our Mississippi truck accident lawyers understand who may be liable besides the driver. Our attorneys work with your doctors to fully understand your medical condition and your pain and suffering. For help now, please call us at 662-627-9641 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time to speak with us in Jackson, Clarksdale, or Oxford.
Since 1982, Merkel & Cocke, P.A. has offered thorough, aggressive legal representation on behalf of clients throughout Mississippi. As one of the largest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms in the state, we consider it our duty and our honor to serve the people of our communities, and to uphold their rights in court. Our reputation is such that other law firms turn to us when they need legal counsel, and our business has grown through the years because of the referrals of these attorneys, who trust us with their needs and the needs of their clients. We are the firm you can trust when there are challenges ahead. To schedule a free consultation, please complete our contact form.