Chris Finney, Trial Attorney
Two main things will stick out when talking about a car crash case versus a tractor-trailer or big rig crash.
Big Rig Accident Facts
First to consider is very simply the physics of the collision. A tractor-trailer is typically an 80,000-pound machine traveling at somewhere between 60 to 70 mph when these collisions occur. A vehicle is somewhere between 2 and 4,000 pounds, maybe even a little heavier machine. So you’re talking about a tractor-trailer that can be anywhere from twenty to forty times heavier, which is more mass and more force that comes into collision with the individual than a regular car or truck.
That in and of itself is a game-changer because the amount of force coming from the big rig in to the car or the truck is increased exponentially, which can affect the injuries, the biomechanics, the physics of the impact that can run all the way from your ankles to your brain. And we see it most in the brain, and that’s where it’s mostly missed.
So, the number one thing is just simple physics. The size of these vehicles creates different forces, biomechanics, and injuries than you would expect from a regular car crash.
Big Rig Collision Liability, Who’s Responsible?
When you have a big rig crash, almost always, there’s going to be more than one party involved on behalf of the big rig. Liable parties in a big rig crash may include:
- the trucker/driver
- the company or an employer of the driver
- the company, the driver, is carrying a load for
So you are going to have not only the trucker, but you’re also going to have at least one other entity, the company. And there creates a whole different relationship here of what’s called employer and employee relationships or respondent superior. In trucking accident cases, most of these cases are going to be where the trucker is working within the course and scope of his employment for whatever company he is hired for to transport the goods.
Then you can get into a whole other layer of who’s the driver carrying the goods for? You could take an example of a grocery store chain. Are they working for that grocery store chain as an employer, or has that been re-brokered into a different company.
The layers of liability and insurance and employees and employers get very complicated, very fast when it comes to trucking cases.
Big Rig Crash Road Rules and Regulations
There are the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These are regulations by the federal government that are adopted by every state, including Missouri and Illinois, that are in place that require truck drivers and trucking companies to follow regulations that regular drivers don’t have to follow.
There is a ton of complicated nuance throughout these, including pre-trip inspections, over-hours of service violations, and electronic log recording.
So much information goes into a trucking case, different from a regular car crash case, that it really does come down to how often a truck accident attorney handles these types of cases.
- Do they know what to look for?
- Do they know how to handle what the regulations are?
- Do they know what evidence to seek and preserve?
Federal regulations only require trucking companies to hold most of their information for 180 days. If you do not get out ahead of it and preserve it, it’s gone. It disappears. They don’t have it. They don’t keep it.
It is important to get a lawyer involved in this right away to preserve that information. We have had plenty of cases where people were trying to handle it on their own, and all that info disappeared. They get a low-ball offer from the trucking insurance company. They’re not on your side to help you; they’re on their side to save themselves money.
Hire A Truck Accident Lawyer
Suppose you’re involved in a big rig accident. In that case, your focus should be on your recovery, not attempting to handle your own personal injury case. Hiring a trusted truck accident attorney who will be in your corner and can aggressively advocate on your behalf will make or break the outcome of your claim. Contact Finney Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Missouri truck accident attorney.