How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents

Blue semi-truck on highway.

Truck Accidents Have More Severe Consequences

The biggest difference between truck accidents and car accidents is the weight, size, and the amount of impact created. However, other vital factors make truck accidents unique, including the causes, insurance liability, and fatality rates. Here's what you need to know.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks are one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,005 fatal truck accidents in the United States, and roughly 159,000 involved injuries. Large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2019 had a higher percentage of previously recorded crashes at 22.9% compared to:

  • Motorcyclists - 22.0%
  • Passenger cars -18.9%
  • Light trucks - 17.8%

While many factors can contribute to a truck accident, the top two causes are:

  • Driver fatigue - Truck drivers often work long hours, and the monotony of the road can lead to drowsiness.
  • Speeding - Semi-trucks are large and heavy, taking longer to stop than smaller vehicles. As a result, speeding can easily lead to an accident.

Other common causes of truck accidents include impaired driving, distracted driving, and unsafe lane changes.

Truck Accidents Have Higher Fatality Rates Than Car Crashes

It's estimated that in 2019, 538,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes in the U.S. These 2019 statistics from the NHTSA are alarming:

  • 71% of people killed in large truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles
  • 11% of people killed in large truck crashes were pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • 2% of fatal truck crashes were caused by drivers operating their truck under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .08 or higher. (The legal BAC level for truck drivers is .04%)
  • Large trucks accounted for 10% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Crash?

Truck accidents can be devastating. With vehicles weighing 20-30 times as much as a passenger car, the damage and injuries caused by a collision with a truck can be catastrophic. Proving liability in a truck crash is not always clear-cut, as there may be multiple parties responsible. The most obvious party that can be held liable would be the truck driver if they were at fault for the accident. However, any of a number of other parties including the trucking company, shipper, broker, or mechanic could be at-fault. In some cases, any combination of the above and/or more may be found at fault. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to investigate the cause of the accident and determine who should be held liable for your damages.

Get Legal Help After a Truck Crash

If you or a loved one have been in an accident and need assistance navigating your truck accident claim, schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Kentucky truck accident attorney. Our team will work tirelessly on your behalf to find out who is responsible for your injuries don't hesitate to send us an email or call (270) 423-0023.

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