Bradshaw Law, LLC
Bradshaw Law, LLC

How Is a Truck Accident Different From a Car Accident?

How Is a Truck Accident Different From a Car Accident?

There are several differences between car and truck accidents. Truck accidents can be more harmful than car accidents because of the size and weight of commercial trucks. Multiple parties may be at fault, leading to higher coverage limits and severe injuries. There are generally more factors leading to a truck accident than there are in a car accident. Your legal team may need to sort through a lot of documents and evidence to determine fault and identify sources of compensation.

Truck Accident Statistics in Nevada

How bad are truck accidents? In 2021, a total of 523,796 accidents involving large trucks occurred across the United States. These accidents resulted in 5,788 fatalities, which is an increase from the 4,945 fatalities reported in 2020. A semi-trailer, which is a truck and trailer combination without a front axle, accounted for 53% of all fatal collisions involving large trucks. In 2020, 71% of people who died in large truck crashes were occupants of smaller vehicles.

Large trucks were involved in 9% of fatal crashes that occurred in 2021, even though they only accounted for 5% of all registered vehicles and 10% of miles traveled. In 2020, there were 13.49 fatal large truck crashes for every one million people in the USA, which was a 27% increase from 2010.

Between 2015 and 2019, there were over 650 severe accidents resulting in fatalities in Nevada, and 10% of them involved large trucks.

In 2021, 117,300 trucking accidents resulted in injuries.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Nevada

In Nevada, fault for accidents involving trucks depends on the situation. Both the truck driver and the driver of a passenger vehicle can be to blame, leading to common types of trucking accidents.

Accidents Caused by Truck Drivers

Factors that could make a truck driver responsible for an accident include:

Driver Fatigue: Fatigue is the most common cause of truck accidents caused by the truck driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver fatigue contributes to around 30-40% of large truck accidents in the United States. Driving for long hours without enough rest or breaks can lead to the driver falling asleep, losing focus, or having slower reaction times.

Driving Under the Influence: When truck drivers operate their vehicles while under the influence, they are physically and mentally impaired, which increases their risk of accidents.

Loads: When a truck driver fails to secure large or heavy loads or overloads their truck, it can result in accidents.

Excessive Speed: At a speed of 60 mph, it takes a truck approximately the length of a football field to come to a complete stop, and for every 10 mph over that, the stopping distance increases by around 100 feet. According to federal crash statistics, 20% of accidents involving large trucks are caused by excessive speeding by the driver.

Distracted Driving: When truck drivers use cell phones, iPods, or other devices while driving, they become distracted and are more likely to cause accidents. A federal ban prohibits professional drivers from using cell phones for texting or talking while driving. However, many truck drivers still do not comply with this law.

Accidents Caused by Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Most large truck accidents in Nevada are caused by drivers of smaller, passenger vehicles. Common errors that lead to such accidents include the following:

Driving in Blind Spots: These are areas beside and at the rear of large trucks that are not visible to truck drivers, due to the massive size and length of the truck.

Cutting off a Large Truck: Large trucks are challenging to stop or move quickly due to their size and weight. If drivers of smaller vehicles suddenly switch lanes, merge, or cut in front of large trucks without giving enough space, truck drivers may not be able to prevent jack-knifing, overturning, or colliding with the other driver.

Blocking the Roadway: If a disabled vehicle is not moved completely off the roadway or relocated to the shoulder, it can create a situation where a large truck has no space to maneuver, leading to an accident.

Regulations for Truck Accidents

Truck accident investigations involve state and federal regulations. You need a lawyer who is knowledgeable about these regulations. Federal regulations apply to interstate trucking, while state regulations apply to intrastate trucking.

Federal Regulations

The U.S. trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which sets rules for truck drivers to follow. If you have been involved in a truck accident in Nevada, FMCSA regulations will likely play a role in your claim.

FMCSA regulations cover:

  • Driver Qualifications. Drivers must be 21 years of age, hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), and be proficient in English.
  • Safety Procedures. The FMCSA reviews the safety and fitness of trucks, and assigns them a rating. Trucks that are deemed safe are allowed to operate on public roads. The FMCSA also informs truck drivers and companies about any safety issues that need improvement.
  • Insurance Coverage. Due to their high level of liability, trucking companies are required to maintain a high amount of insurance coverage. The actual insurance minimums may vary depending on factors such as the type of cargo being transported.

Nevada Regulations

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) sets regulations for trucking in Nevada, covering vehicle size, weight limits, and rules for drivers and companies. Here are some key regulations:

  • Trucks cannot exceed 80k lbs gross weight, unless permitted.
  • A Commercial Driver’s License is required for commercial vehicle driving. Age requirements are 21 years for interstate driving and 25 for trucks exceeding70ft.
  • Blood alcohol testing is mandatory if stopped for driving under the influence.
  • BAC limit is 0.04% for commercial truck drivers, half the limit for other motorists.
  • If any alcohol is detected while driving, the driver is prohibited from driving for 24 hours.

Unique Legal Considerations for Truck Accident Cases in Nevada

Truck accidents present unique challenges and legal issues that are different from those in regular car accidents. Some unique factors include liability, regulations ad insurance coverage.

Liability

Determining who is at fault in a truck accident can be complex. There may be multiple parties involved, including the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck or its components, and others. A thorough investigation is necessary to determine who should be held responsible for the accident.

Regulations

The trucking industry is heavily regulated, and there are a number of federal and state laws that govern everything from driver qualifications to maintenance standards. Violations of these regulations can be used as evidence of negligence or liability in a truck accident case.

Evidence

There is more evidence available to support a truck accident case such as black box data, electronic logging device records, maintenance reports, driver logs, cargo loading manifests, and hiring records.

What Are the Differences Between a Car Accident and a Truck Accident?

Trucks are much larger than cars, have more horsepower, and can weigh up to 26 tons. This makes truck accidents more severe than car accidents. They are more dangerous because they can accelerate quickly and make sudden movements due to their weight. The trucking industry is highly regulated, which is an additional consideration when victims pursue compensation. Truck accidents also tend to be more complicated because there may be liable multiple parties involved.

How an Attorney Can Help in Navigating the Complexities of Truck Accident Cases

Truck accident lawyers should be familiar with the regulations that govern the trucking industry. The trucking industry is regulated by both federal and state laws, and violations of these regulations can contribute to liability in a truck accident case. A truck accident attorney should understand these regulations and be able to use them to build a strong case on behalf of their clients.

Tips for Choosing the Right Attorney

It is important to choose the right attorney who has the necessary skills and experience to work for you in case of a truck accident. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when choosing an attorney:

Experience in Handling Truck Accident Claims

Your lawyer should have prior experience in handling truck accident claims. This will ensure that you work with someone who understands the laws applying to your claim. This ensures that your claim will be handled with skill and confidence.

Willingness to Work Toward a Settlement

Insurance companies often offer early, low-ball settlements in order to resolve your claim quickly and avoid paying you full compensation. It is important to choose a truck accident lawyer who is willing to take the time necessary to fight for a fair settlement.

Communication Skills

It might be helpful to consider selecting a legal representative who has the ability to explain intricate legal jargon in simple language. If you’re constantly concerned about the progress of your case, it can be difficult to concentrate on your recuperation. However, with an attorney who provides regular updates, you can alleviate stress.