Are truck accidents handled differently than car accidents here?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

If you drive in Montana, then you know that we share the roads with both other vehicle drivers and commercial vehicles, like 18 wheelers. And, you may wonder how an accident with a semi differs from a car accident. While both types of accidents are governed by the same general principles of negligence law, there are some differences.

Complex liability issues

A key difference between truck and car accidents is that truck accidents usually involve multiple parties who may be liable for the crash. And, depending on your crash, any or all of these parties may be held responsible. This means that there are multiple parties that could provide the compensation you need. But, it also means that you must fight multiple insurance companies and lawyers.

Potentially liable parties

First, there is the truck driver, who may have directly caused the accident. Second, is the trucking company, who may have negligently hired an unqualified driver, poorly maintained the truck or pressured the trucker to violate some safety regulation.

Liability could also flow to the truck manufacturer. This could happen if they produced a defective truck or a part that caused or contributed to the truck accident. The cargo owner or loader could also have liability if they overloaded the truck or failed to secure the cargo properly.

More severe injuries and damages

Another difference between truck and car accidents is the severity of truck accidents, which are often much more severe than car accidents. This is because semi-trucks are dwarf even the largest of everyday cars and trucks. This causes devastating injuries and routinely totals vehicles, even at low speeds.

Trucking is a regulated industry

A third difference is that the transportation industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Montana Department of Transportation. These entities regulate driver qualifications, hours, drug and alcohol testing, maintenance, load inspection (weight, size, securing, etc.), etc.

Violations of these regulations can be the basis of a finding of negligence in a truck accident lawsuit. This means that if there is proof of a regulatory violation, no other negligence proof may be required. Though, proving these violations is complicated as you must not only get these records from the truck driver and company, but also know how to read them.

The key here is that, while the law of negligence is the same for truck and car accidents, the actual cases themselves are much different. They are much more complicated.


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