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Car Accidents vs. Truck Accidents: How Are They Different?

The Difference between Truck Wrecks & Car accidents

Anytime a person is behind the wheel of their vehicle, the last thing they expect is that an accident will occur. However, car accidents and truck accidents occur regularly in the state of Arizona, though there are vast differences between these two types of incidents. Here, our Phoenix personal injury lawyers want to discuss how car accidents differ from truck accidents that occur on the roadways throughout the state. 

The Severity of the Incident

When we look at data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can see that there is a major size difference between traditional passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks on the roadway. According to the FMCSA, “Trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier than passenger vehicles.” 

The FMCSA goes on to say that the mass of a truck significantly increases the risk of more severe crash damage, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities.

Understanding the Causes of the Crash

One of the most important things that must happen in the aftermath of any type of vehicle accident is determining fault. In order to determine who should be liable for compensating injury and property damage victims, the cause of the crash has to be determined. However, this is easier said than done, particularly for truck accidents.

In the aftermath of an accident involving only passenger vehicles, the cause of the crash is usually related to human error (driver operating too fast, impaired, or distracted). While it is certainly the case that truck accidents can occur due to an error made by the truck driver, there are also several other factors that can influence the safety of a large commercial truck on the roadway.

These trucks are required to be inspected and maintained regularly per state and federal laws in order to prevent equipment failure. It is up to truck owners to handle these inspections and any required regular maintenance. Additionally, truck owners and drivers are responsible for ensuring that the required “hours of service” regulations are followed by drivers in order to prevent fatigued driving activity. 

Investigating the Crash

After a crash involving traditional passenger cars, the investigation is usually relatively simple. Law enforcement officials will come to the scene and conduct a preliminary investigation. Those involved in the accident will gather some initial evidence at the scene of the crash. Insurance carriers will also conduct their own investigations in order to ensure that liability is properly assigned.

However, there are other parties involved in commercial truck accidents that can significantly hinder how smoothly an investigation flows. For example, aside from the injury victims and the truck driver, other parties that will likely be involved include:

  • The truck owner or operator
  • Insurance carriers for the truck driver and the truck owner
  • Trucking company legal teams

Every party involved in the incident will want to shift liability in one direction or the other in an effort to limit how much money they pay out in compensation.

The Need for an Attorney

It is important to understand that an attorney can benefit any type of vehicle accident, whether it involves traditional passenger cars or a commercial truck. However, any person involved in a truck accident in Arizona really does need to have a skilled personal injury lawyer by their side handling every aspect of the claim. These cases are just simply too complicated, and an injury victim needs someone with the resources necessary to push back against all of these other parties.

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John Torgenson

After high school, John attended the University of Utah, graduating in 2001. John then attended his dream school, Notre Dame Law School, where he graduated, with honors, in 2004. John is licensed to fight in court for real people in the State of Arizona, the United States Federal District Court of Arizona, and the 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before establishing what is now Torgenson Law, John practiced in the litigation group at Fennemore Craig, the oldest law firm in Arizona, and one of the largest firms in the Southwest. Having practiced at Fennemore Craig in both the defense and plaintiff’s practice areas gives John a complete perspective of the litigation process, and valuable insight into how to efficiently and effectively advance his clients’ interests. His unique and balanced background enhances his credibility with defense lawyers, insurers, and defendants as well as with judges and arbitrators.