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Road accidents are extremely common, and both semi-trucks and passenger vehicle accidents can result in property damage, injury, and death. However, many factors apply to large commercial truck accidents that do not apply to other automobile accidents.
To protect the lives of those on the roadway, the trucking industry is heavily regulated via federal and state laws.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all interstate trucking operations to ensure that semi-truck drivers and trucking companies follow safety practices. All motor carriers are required to know and follow FMCSA regulations, which include weight restrictions, drug and alcohol testing of drivers, and vehicle maintenance requirements.
Additionally, individual states have laws that regulate trucking operations within their borders.
Semi-truck accidents are different from passenger vehicle and other automobile accidents in several ways, all contributing to the severity of truck accidents.
The average passenger car weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. A tractor-trailer, including both the semi-truck and its connected semi-trailer, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Due to the extreme weight differences, collisions between a large truck and small passenger vehicle result in the car bearing the brunt of the impact. Additionally, size can impact their stop time, making it more difficult to stop at high speeds.
Commercial trucks carry lots of different types of cargo. Some loads may contain flammable or hazardous materials, potentially making collisions more dangerous. Cargo that is not properly secured can break loose into traffic and cause accidents.
Some trucking companies have policies that require their drivers to be on the road for extremely long periods of time and make deliveries regardless of weather or traffic, which can lead to driver fatigue and hazardous driving conditions.
Since semi-truck accidents are often more severe than accidents caused by other automobiles, they can carry insurance policies that are worth millions of dollars. Trucking insurance companies will aggressively work to defend their claims and find a way to avoid liability to protect the large amounts of money on the line.
After an accident, truck drivers are required to immediately report the incident to their supervisors, and trucking companies and their insurers start an investigation right away. They often send a team of investigators, lawyers, and experts to the site of the accident to collect evidence.
Investigations can be extensive, and fault can be difficult to determine because several parties are involved other than the truck driver: trucking company, semi-truck owner, maintenance workers, or loaders. It is important for you to hire an attorney as soon as possible to investigate on your behalf.
Truck accidents are different from other automobile accidents, and it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. The attorneys at WKW have years of experience with Indiana traffic laws and commercial vehicle accident cases involving semi-trucks.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a truck accident, contact the Indianapolis Truck Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.