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How is a commercial truck accident different from a car accident?

Even though both truck accidents and car accidents fall under the legal theory and principle of negligence, commercial truck accidents are different from car accidents in several respects. In general a commercial truck commonly referred to as a semitrailer - when loaded with its cargo - is estimated to weigh nearly 25 times more than an average car. Additionally, a commercial truck is typically much larger in size when compared to a typical car.

The difference in size and weight alone can result in very serious injuries and even death to those involved in a car-truck accident or collision. According to one statistic from the U.S. Department of Transportation, accidents involving commercial trucks resulted in nearly 5,000 fatalities and well over 100,000 injuries in 2006 alone.

In addition to the size and weight of a commercial truck, some other reasons for truck accidents resulting in serious injuries have to do with the cargo the truck may be carrying at the time of the accident. For instance, if a commercial truck was hauling a highly flammable or hazardous chemical such as a gasoline or some other corrosive material at the time of an accident, the substance could potential cause secondary injuries like burn injuries to those involved in the accident.

A truck accident could involve more than one party who could potentially be held liable for injuries. In addition to the driver of the truck, the trucking company that the truck driver was employed by can be held responsible. Other parties that may be implicated in a truck accident include the insurance companies, shipping company, and any other contractors. As in any personal injury lawsuit, when it comes to truck accidents it must be shown that the truck driver, trucking and shipping company or employer had a duty to exercise a reasonable amount of care while overseeing the operation of the truck; additionally it must be shown the that duty was breached, and because of the breach serious injuries resulted.

When multiple parties are involved car and truck accidents can get complex, and in many cases trucking regulation may also come into play.

Source: FindLaw, "Truck Accident Overview," accessed Jan. 19, 2015

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

Keith A. Hammond, P.C. Attorney at Law
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