Car Accidents And Truck Accidents – Definitions
Minnesota statute section 169.09 defines a motor vehicle crash as a crash that involves a motor vehicle in transport on a public traffic-way in Minnesota and results in injury, death or at least $1,000.00 in property damage.
A truck crash is defined as a motor vehicle crash involving one or more vehicles of the following types: (1) 2-axle, 6-tire single unit truck or step van, (2) 3-or-more-axle single unit truck, (3) single-unit truck with trailer, (4) truck tractor with no trailer, (5) truck tractor with semi-trailer, (6) truck tractor with double trailers, (7) truck tractor with triple trailers, (8) heavy truck of other or unknown type. For the purposes of this definition, vans and pickups (or pickup trucks) are not included in the definition of the word ‘truck.’
Different Types of Accidents – Car and Truck
On the surface, truck accident and car crash cases might seem similar but there are some major differences. The most obvious one would be that car accidents versus commercial truck collisions tend to be more catastrophic – that is cause more damage to the passenger vehicle and have a higher chance of causing major bodily harm or even death (see: wrongful death).
Truck Accidents Are Less Frequent But More Dangerous
On the other hand, truck accidents are much less frequent than accidents involving only passenger vehicles. In order to find out the exact numbers, we can use the table 1.12 from page 20 of Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts – Types of Motor Vehicles in Crashes, 2018. Below is a truncated version of the table in question:
When we tally up the number of crashes involving private versus commercial vehicles we’ll get 133,283 car crashes compared to 4,664 truck accidents – that’s a ratio of 29:1.
In terms of safety, trucks are clearly in an advantageous position over passenger vehicles. Once again, the data from the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts can provide us with exact numbers. The data shows that when a truck collides with a car, the injuries (or fatalities) most often happen in other vehicles – out of 44 fatalities reported in 2018, only 3 were drivers or passengers of a truck.
How Truck Accident Cases Are Handled?
What about after the accident? We’ve discussed the difference between types of accidents and those are clear but what about the legal cases stemming from those accidents?
Recovering Damages From Trucking Companies
The most important difference is that if the injury occured in an accident that involved a commercial truck, the battle to recover your damages can be that much harder. In a truck accident lawsuit, you’re not only going up against the other driver – you have to face the trucking company, their lawyers, and their insurance company. Both will do everything in their power to deny you just compensation.
Determining Liability – Who Is At Fault?
Another difference is that commercial truck accidents are more complex. Because of that, it may be harder to determine where lays the blame for the accident. With commercial trucks, there are more parties involved, so for a case to move forward, we need to figure out who is to blame – this can include:
Driver of the truck – reckless driving, driving under the influence, and speeding are just some of the possible circumstances in which a driver of the truck may be at fault.
Trucking company – overworking the truck driver, improper maintenance, setting unrealistic goals are among the reasons why the trucking company may be responsible – wholly or in part – for injuries sustained during truck-car accident.
Owner of the truck – sometimes the trucking company is not the owner of the truck. In those cases, the owner may be at fault if the cause of the accident is equipment failure.
Truck Manufacturer – designing and/or manufacturing a defective truck may put the blame for the accident squarely at the feet of the truck manufacturing company.
Fleet Maintenance Company – if the accident has been caused by poorly or improperly maintaining the truck, then the mechanic can be the responsible party.
Logistics company – in some cases, for example when the cargo has been loaded in an unsafe fashion or has not been properly secured and not inspected for safety before the truck left the docking area, the cargo loaders and the logistics company that employs them may be at fault for the accident and the injuries or fatalities it caused.
When the accident involves a truck, the case gets more complicated. It gets harder to find causes of the accident, there are more potentially liable parties, and your adversaries have more resources and are more likely to try and deny their fault and stand against you – both at the negotiating table and in court, so you’ll need all the help you can get.
Contact Minneapolis Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a road crash involving a commercial truck, tractor trailer or a semi-trailer it’s important that you contact a personal injury lawyer right away. For a free consultation – 24 hours a day / 7 days a week – you can contact the Law Offices Of Howard Sussman by calling 612-767-3342 or visiting our contact page.