You might think it doesn’t make much difference. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt, right?
But there can be a huge difference between being hurt in a car wreck and suffering the same injury as the result of a trucker’s mistake.
Trucks are, obviously, much bigger than cars. So they are capable of inflicting more damage. A lot more. An 18 wheel semi that slams into you at 35 mph is more likely to harm you than a Toyota Prius doing the same thing. Jurors know this.
If the truck driver is an employee who is on the job, it is more likely that his employer will be liable for the accident. A lot of lawyers – including me – think that juries are more likely to award large damages against a business than against an individual.
A business that uses a truck may have to observe stricter safety procedures, more thorough driver training requirements, higher driver qualifications and procedures, and more detailed record keeping than a typical driver or car owner. In short, there are more rules that can be broken, and more potential evidence available of negligence, than is the case with a car accident.
This translates into a better chance of proving willful, wanton or reckless conduct, and of collecting punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Most trucks are used in businesses. If the truck is larger than a pickup, it is more likely to carry higher insurance limits. Cars in Ohio do not have to carry more than $12,500/$25,000 limits for bodily injury liability; but a truck might carry coverage of more than $500,000.00.
So there is a greater chance that adequate compensation is available.
Because the stakes are higher – significant injury, more insurance coverage, greater potential for damages, greater potential for blameworthy conduct – it can be much more important to investigate the accident, and investigate it early, than in a car accident.
The “black boxes” of all involved vehicles can be the source of important information. It can also be important to hire an accident reconstructionist, and even an expert on truck regulation and operation, in order to show the insurance company you are ready to prove your case at trial.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I have found that early investigation and proper expert backup can be invaluable in representing truck accident victims. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, speak with an experienced attorney by calling 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.