A truck collision personal injury claim typically involves either a tractor trailer or other large commercial vehicle, which collides with an automobile, motorcycle or another commercial truck. Truck collision cases vary in several respects from traditional auto collision cases. This post looks at how truck collision injury claims differ from auto claims. Equally important, we discuss points to remember when pursuing an injury claim that arises from a trucking accident.
Two of the most obvious distinctions between a truck collision and auto collision case concern insurance coverage and damages. Commercial trucks, more likely than not, are owned and operated by some form of corporate entity or professional organization. To protect corporate assets, these entities often carry considerably more insurance coverage than individual drivers. Commercial trucks can also cause substantially more harm than a standard motor vehicle. The sheer size and force behind a commercial truck or tractor trailer can result in catastrophic injuries on the roadways.
Coverage and damages aside, truck crashes also require a different approach to understanding how the accident occurred. Preservation of evidence is critical. Commercial trucks often are equipped with GPS which can reveal vehicle information, such as speed and location. Commercial drivers are often required by statute or regulation to maintain detailed driver logs which show their locations, time on the road, etc.
Evidence regarding the driver’s history is another important distinction in truck crash cases. When building a case, it is important to gather information on the driver’s qualifications, his or her medical history, training, drug and alcohol testing along with the inspection records of the vehicle. Where did the driver obtain his commercial license? Has his license ever been suspended or revoked? This information will be critical at trial.
Another important distinction in truck collision cases concerns the role of the at-fault driver. Commercial drivers, including tractor trailer drivers, are viewed as professionals who undergo specialized training, licensing and are generally held to higher standards regarding knowing and following the rules of the road. Professional drivers must follow state and federal laws and regulations regarding the operation of their vehicles, in addition to their employer’s procedures, training manuals and industry standards.
Each state, including Florida, publishes commercial driving manuals which set out what is expected of a driver with a commercial driver’s license. In reviewing the CDL manual in a truck collision case, look at the driver’s obligations regarding matters such as stopping distance, managing space, aggressive driving and driving at night. Finally, look at how long the driver of the commercial truck was on the road before the accident. Doing so will allow the plaintiff to maximize recovery in a personal injury claim.