Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents?

Pappi Hex

Are Truck Accidents Different from Car Accidents? 

Getting in a crash is both regrettable and dangerous, regardless of what kind of vehicle you are driving. Regarding road accidents, two of the most common types involve cars and trucks.

All motor vehicle accidents are not created equal. That's especially true when comparing truck accidents to car crashes. While both may occur due to similar reasons, their differences in size, weight, and handling make the consequences of these accidents distinct.

This article will explore the factors that set truck accidents apart from car accidents, the potential consequences of each, and the importance of understanding these distinctions for road safety as well as for victims seeking legal help following the aftermath of an accident.

1. Size and Weight

The first difference between a truck accident and a car accident is size and weight. Trucks, especially commercial ones, are significantly larger and heavier than the average car. Trucks can weigh as much as 76,000 pounds more than the average automobile. This size difference means trucks exert much more force upon impact in a collision. As a result, truck accidents often result in more severe damages, both to vehicles and their occupants, compared to car accidents.

2. Handling and Maneuverability

Trucks have distinct handling characteristics compared to cars. Due to their size and weight, trucks have a higher centre of gravity, making them more prone to rolling over during sharp turns or sudden manoeuvres. 

On the other hand, car accidents are less likely to involve rollovers and may often involve less severe consequences due to their lower centre of gravity and better manoeuvrability.

3. Stopping Distance

Another crucial difference between trucks and cars is their stopping distance. Due to their size and weight, trucks require much more space to come to a complete stop than cars. This factor can increase the risk of rear-end collisions, especially if a truck driver fails to maintain a safe following distance. 

On the other hand, car accidents may have a shorter stopping distance, but the higher number of vehicles on the road increases the likelihood of such collisions.

Also Read: Top Apps for Assisting Truck Drivers in Preventing Accidents

4. Driver Fatigue and Training

Truck drivers often face long hours on the road, leading to a higher risk of driver fatigue. Fatigued driving can impair a truck driver's reaction time and decision-making abilities, making them more susceptible to accidents. 

Additionally, commercial truck operating requires specialised training and licensing due to the vehicle's size and complexity. While also vulnerable to fatigue, car drivers may not be subject to the exact stringent training requirements, potentially leading to a difference in accident patterns.

5. Regulatory Differences

The trucking industry is subject to many regulations designed to improve road safety. These regulations include restrictions on driving hours, mandatory rest breaks, weight limits, and regular vehicle inspections. While subject to some traffic laws, car drivers do not have the same level of regulatory oversight as the commercial trucking industry. Examples of such regulations include:

  • Lower legal blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) for commercial drivers, who are legally prohibited from driving with a BAC exceeding 0.04 instead of the standard 0.08.
  • Hours of service regulations prohibit commercial drivers from driving more than 11 hours daily, remaining on duty for more than 14 hours in one day, or driving without at least ten consecutive hours of off-duty rest time.
  • Record-keeping rules require truck drivers and trucking companies to keep detailed logs of driver qualifications, drug and alcohol screenings, truck maintenance records, and hours-of-service compliance.

These regulations play a role in accident prevention and response and can affect the likelihood and severity of truck accidents.

6. Liability

There may be more at-fault parties in a truck accident case. In a car accident case, one or more motorists are typically at fault. However, many different entities are invested in the operations of a large commercial truck, and any of these parties may be partially or fully responsible for a wreck. 

In addition to the truck driver, other at-fault parties may include the trucking company, truck maintenance teams, truck manufacturers, third-party trucking vendors, or cargo loading teams. In addition, Truck accident cases involve different types of evidence. In a car accident case, the available evidence is usually limited to physical clues left at the scene, photos or videos of the crash, and testimony from nearby witnesses. After a truck accident, a wealth of additional evidence could support your claim. Examples include:

  • The truck's "black box" data. 
  • Electronic logging devices (ELDs) records. 
  • Maintenance reports. 
  • Truck driver hours-of-service logs. 
  •  Cargo loading manifests. 
  • Truck company hiring or screening records.

7. Attorneys

Truck Accident Attorney

Due to the vehicles' peculiarities, a truck accident lawyer differs from a car accident lawyer.

Car accident attorneys primarily focus on handling cases related to car crashes and other accidents involving passenger vehicles. They are knowledgeable about traffic laws and insurance regulations concerning automobiles. A car accident lawyer can represent drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who have been injured or suffered property damage due to car accidents.

On the other hand, truck accident attorneys specialise in truck and other commercial vehicle accident cases.


While both car and truck accidents stem from similar causes, their differences in size, weight, handling, driver training, and regulatory oversight set them apart in terms of consequences and risk factors. Truck accidents are usually more severe due to the massive force involved, while car accidents, though still serious, may have different patterns and outcomes.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for policymakers, drivers, and road safety advocates to implement effective measures for accident prevention and reduce the overall number of road accidents. Also, this will help victims make an informed choice between a truck accident attorney or a car accident attorney following the aftermath of an accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is liable in a truck accident?

A: Liability in a truck accident can vary based on the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Multiple parties may potentially be held liable for a truck accident, including:

  1. Truck driver: The truck driver may be held liable if their negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, fatigue, or impaired driving, contributed to the accident.
  2. Trucking company: The trucking company that employs the driver can be held liable if they were negligent in hiring, training, supervising, or maintaining their vehicles. This can include issues such as failing to properly screen drivers, inadequate training, pushing drivers to violate regulations, or failure to maintain the truck in safe working condition.
  3. Vehicle manufacturer or maintenance provider: If a truck accident happens due to a defect in the truck's design or manufacturing, the vehicle manufacturer may be held liable. Similarly, the maintenance provider may be liable if a maintenance issue, such as faulty repairs or inadequate inspections, caused the accident.
  4. Cargo loaders or shippers: If an accident occurs due to cargo that has been loaded or secured incorrectly, the company responsible for the loading or transportation of the cargo may be held liable.
  5. Government entities: In some cases, liability may fall on government entities responsible for designing, constructing, or maintaining the roadways if the accident was caused by hazardous road conditions or inadequate signage.

Resolving liability in a truck accident can be complex, involving investigating the facts, gathering evidence, and analysing applicable laws and regulations. It is advisable to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney who can assess the specific details of your case and help identify the parties who may be liable for the accident.

Q: How to sue a trucking company?

A: If you want to sue a trucking company for a truck accident, here are some general steps to consider:

  1. Seek medical attention: If you still need to do so, prioritise your health and seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident. Your well-being is of utmost importance.
  2. Gather evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may involve photographs or videos of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, and injuries. Obtain a copy of the police report and gather witness statements, if available.
  3. Preserve records: All records pertaining to the accident, such as medical bills and reports, vehicle repair estimates, and other relevant documents, should be kept. These records will help establish the extent of your damages.
  4. Consult an attorney: It's strongly recommended to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. They will evaluate the details of your case, assess liability, and guide you through the legal process. Choose an attorney specialising in truck accident cases with a track record of successful outcomes.
  5. Investigation and case preparation: Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, which may involve collecting additional evidence, reviewing accident reconstruction reports, obtaining the trucking company's records, and identifying potential witnesses. They will use this information to build a strong case on your behalf.
  6. Negotiation and settlement: Your attorney will negotiate with the trucking company's insurance company to pursue a fair settlement. They will advocate for your rights and aim to secure good compensation for your injuries and damages.
  7. Litigation, if necessary: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. They will guide you through the litigation process, including filing the necessary legal documents, presenting your case in court, and advocating for your interests during the trial.

It's important to note that the steps may differ based on the specific details of your case. Consulting with a qualified truck accident attorney will ensure you receive personalised advice and guidance tailored to your situation.

Q: What is the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident?

A: Determining the average settlement for an 18-wheeler accident is challenging since settlement amounts can vary significantly based on various factors. These factors may include the severity of injuries, the extent of property damage, liability issues, insurance coverage, and the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Each case is unique; settlements can range from thousands to millions of dollars.

It's important to note that each case's individual facts and details influence settlements. A skilled attorney will evaluate factors such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages and other relevant damages to negotiate a fair settlement for their client.

It's recommended to consult with an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer who can assess the specific details of your case and provide a more precise estimate of your entitlement.

Q: How much does a lawyer cost for a car accident?

A: The cost of hiring a car accident attorney varies depending on several factors, including the attorney's experience, reputation, location, and the case's complexity. Attorneys typically use different fee structures, and the cost can be determined based on one of the following arrangements:

  • Hourly Rate: Some car accident attorneys charge an hourly rate for their services. The hourly rate can vary significantly depending on factors such as the attorney's experience and the region where they practice law. Hourly rates can go from $100 to $500 per hour.
  • Contingency Fee: Several car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only receive payment if they successfully recover compensation for their client through a settlement or court award. The attorney's fee is usually a percentage of the total amount recovered, ranging from 25% to 40% of the payment or judgment amount. The specific rate may vary depending on the agreement with the attorney and the complexity of the case.

Discussing the fee structure with the attorney during the initial consultation or before signing any agreements is important. Other expenses related to the case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, and investigative costs, may also be involved. It's essential to clarify these expenses and any additional costs that may arise during the legal process.

Keep in mind that some car accident attorneys may offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case and discuss their fees. This initial consultation can be an opportunity to inquire about the attorney's fees and better understand the potential costs involved.

Overall, the cost of a car accident attorney will depend on the circumstances of your case and the attorney you choose to hire. It's crucial to find an attorney experienced in handling car accident cases who offers reasonable fees and is transparent about their pricing structure.

Q: Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?

A: Car accident cases can be complex, and insurance companies often attempt to minimise payouts to accident victims. A car accident attorney can fight to protect your rights, navigate the legal process, gather and compile pieces of evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your interests to ensure fair compensation for your injuries and other damages, medical

Q: What does a car accident lawyer do?

A: A car accident lawyer is a Personal injury lawyer who handles cases related to car accidents. These attorneys have extensive understanding and specialised skills in the legal framework and regulations of car accidents.

They offer legal assistance to individuals asserting claims of physical or psychological harm from car accidents caused by the negligence of individuals, companies, government agencies, or other entities.

The primary objective of car accident attorneys is to safeguard their client's rights and assist them in obtaining rightful compensation following a car accident. They provide legal expertise, advocacy, and support throughout the legal process, allowing accident victims to focus on their recovery while their case is handled professionally.

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