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Is There a Legal Difference Between a Truck and a Car Accident?

Posted on: December 6, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law

car accident

An auto accident is a traumatic experience for anyone, both physically and mentally. The damages to both property and victims can be devastating in a collision, especially when the crash involves a large vehicle like a truck. Due to their size and the potential damage they can cause, you might wonder whether there is a legal difference between a truck accident and a car accident.

There are in fact several important differences between how each case is handled from a legal perspective.

  1. Liability – In a car accident, the question of liability is generally determined by which driver(s) is/were at fault. While this is also true of truck accidents, it does not stop there. Semi-tractor trailer operators are employed or contracted by trucking companies. The drivers are required to receive specialized training and licensing to operate a big rig. They must successfully complete instruction at an independent truck driving school. The trucking company that employed the driver can also be held liable when a driver is at fault in an accident.
  2. Insurance – Cars are only required to carry a certain amount of liability for property damage and personal injury. Tractor trailers must carry much more coverage than autos because their size and weight make them capable of far more damage. Additionally, certain materials may be carried by truck which make them a further liability, such as fuels and hazardous material.
  3. Investigation – When a truck is involved in an accident, there is more to the investigation than simply exchanging insurance information and filing a police report. A thorough investigation as to the cause of a truck wreck is required.

Per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, trucking companies are required to keep what is known as a DQF, a driver qualifications file. This file will include the driving  record of the trucker, drug and alcohol test results, vehicle maintenance records and other important data regarding the history and qualifications of both the driver and his vehicle.

An experienced Personal Injury Attorney would investigate the DQF as well as all other factors to establish liability of the driver and the trucking company. Investigation of the accident scene, the truck and its electronic onboard recorder will also aid in determining fault.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in SE Oklahoma, it is your right to file suit for medical expenses, loss of income, punitive damages and other compensation. At Edwards & Patterson, you will find a legal team of personal injury experts who will fight for you, and win.

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