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3 differences between semi-truck crashes and other wrecks

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Few things are more intimidating in traffic than the site of a semi-truck right behind a smaller vehicle. Drivers naturally feel anxious when they notice commercial vehicles in their immediate proximity. After all, semi-trucks or 18-wheelers are responsible for some of the most devastating crashes that occur every year.

Collisions between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks are far different than crashes that involve two vehicles of roughly the same size. Those affected by a semi-truck collision can expect more of a challenge as they seek compensation for their losses. What makes a semi-truck crash so different from the average collision?

Different liability issues

Liability for a standard collision is often simple. The driver who caused the crash is the one liable for the damages generated for other parties. While there are sometimes outside parties with liability for crashes, most collisions lead to straightforward insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits against one motorist. Liability can be more complex in semi-truck crash cases. The driver could be to blame, but their employer could also be partially liable. Clients or customers could have contributed to the crash because of how they maintained a trailer or loaded materials. Even outside service providers and manufacturers could have a degree of liability. Establishing who might be liable for the collision is a challenge in some semi-truck crash cases.

More catastrophic crash scenarios

The difference in size and weight between an 18-wheeler and a four-wheeled passenger vehicle may lead to particularly severe collisions. If a commercial driver loses control of a truck, they could potentially cause a multi-vehicle collision or completely shut down a section of the interstate for hours. Rollover collisions, jackknife incidents and underride crashes are among the unique types of collisions that typically involve commercial vehicles.

Higher insurance requirements

The possibility of severe collisions makes standard liability insurance coverage insufficient after a semi-truck crash. State laws that govern passenger vehicles do not apply to 18-wheelers. Instead, owner-operators or trucking companies must comply with rules established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Most semi-trucks have $750,000 of liability coverage or more. That may mean those affected by crashes have a better chance of getting complete compensation. They could also face more adversarial claims process. Insurance adjusters are often more assertive in cases where the company stands to lose more because of a large policy.

Oftentimes, those involved in semi-truck crashes require extensive medical support and may need help handling compensation claims after a wreck. Understanding why a semi-truck crash is different than other types of collisions might help people choose how to respond to a recent collision in more informed ways.