The Difference Between a Truck Accident and a Car Accident in Pasadena, CA
All motor vehicle accidents are not created equal. That’s especially true when comparing truck accidents to car crashes.
The first difference between a truck accident and a car accident is obvious — size. Trucks can weigh as much as 76,000 pounds more than the average automobile. There’s simply no way a car can withstand the force of being struck by a semi-truck without serious damage. And for the people inside the car, the injuries can be catastrophic.
Commercial truck collisions differ from car crashes in other ways as well. The trucking industry is strictly regulated, with many stakeholders who could be held liable for a crash. And because the damage is generally greater in truck accidents, the amount of compensation possible for injured victims is typically higher than for people hurt in car wrecks.
If you were injured in a Pasadena truck accident, you already know how complicated the aftermath can be. At The Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we can help you pursue compensation from every liable party so that you have the money you need to pay your bills and move forward in life.
Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
Car vs Truck Accident
There are several important distinctions between truck and car accident cases in Pasadena:
- Trucks are larger and more challenging to operate. Commercial trucks are longer, taller, and heavier than standard passenger vehicles. As a result, truck drivers must be constantly aware of blind spots, make wider turns, and leave themselves extra room to slow or stop. Failing to appreciate and respect these differences can cause serious collisions.
- Trucks require more routine maintenance. Big rigs have more moving parts and spend much more time on the road than most personal vehicles. That means they sustain more wear and tear in a short period of time. For this reason, truck drivers and trucking companies must perform substantial routine maintenance to keep their vehicles roadworthy. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable if their negligence leads to a truck accident.
- Truck accidents result in more severe injuries and damage. Since commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than other vehicles, they carry significantly more momentum when involved in collisions. As a result, smaller vehicles and their occupants tend to bear the brunt of the impact in truck accidents, frequently leading to catastrophic injuries. Because truck accident claims tend to be more expensive, you can expect pushback from commercial insurance providers to avoid making a fair payout for damages.
- There may be more at-fault parties in a truck accident case. In a car accident case, one or more motorists are typically at fault. However, there are many different entities invested in the operations of a large commercial truck, and any of these parties may be partially or fully responsible for a wreck. In addition to the truck driver, other at-fault parties may include the trucking company, truck maintenance teams, truck manufacturers, third-party trucking vendors, or cargo loading teams.
- Truck accident cases involve different types of evidence. In a car accident case, the available evidence is usually limited to physical clues left at the scene, photos or videos of the crash, and testimony from nearby witnesses. After a truck accident, there is a wealth of additional evidence that could support your claim. Examples include the truck’s “black box” data, records from its electronic logging devices (ELDs), maintenance reports, truck driver hours-of-service logs, cargo loading manifests, and truck company hiring or screening records.
California Semi-Truck Accident Statistics
According to truck accident statistics released by the California Highway Patrol (CHP):
- Although commercial trucks make up a relatively small portion of registered vehicles in California, they are involved in an average of more than three percent of all injury crashes and more than nine percent of all fatal statewide crashes each year.
- The leading causes of truck accidents resulting in injuries or death for which the truck driver was at fault include speeding, improper turning maneuvers, unsafe lane changes, failure to yield the right of way, and failure to obey traffic signs or signals.
- Los Angeles County, home to Pasadena, consistently has the highest rates of fatal and injury truck accidents among all California counties.
Types of Truck Accidents
Common types of truck accidents in Pasadena include:
- Rear-end accidents occur when the front end of a large truck collides with the rear end of the vehicle in front of it, or vice versa.
- Head-on collisions are devastating accidents that happen when the front end of a commercial truck plows into the front end of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
- Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of a large commercial “swipes” against the side of another vehicle traveling in a parallel direction.
- T-bone crashes occur when the front end of a large truck collides with the broad side of a perpendicular vehicle, or vice versa.
- Underride wrecks are horrific accidents that happen when smaller vehicles get caught beneath the undercarriage of a commercial truck’s trailer.
- Rollover crashes happen when trucks flip over onto one side after drivers take turns too quickly or otherwise lose control.
- Cargo spill accidents occur when improper cargo loading causes the goods in a truck’s trailer to burst out of the back and cause significant road or vehicle damage.
Laws that Apply to Truck Accidents Only
The commercial trucking industry is subject to several laws and regulations that do not apply to personal drivers, including:
- Lower legal blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) for commercial drivers, who are legally prohibited from driving with a BAC exceeding 0.04 instead of the standard 0.08.
- Hours of service regulations, which prohibit commercial drivers from driving more than 11 hours in a single day, remaining on duty for more than 14 hours in one day, or driving without at least 10 consecutive hours of off-duty rest time.
- Record-keeping rules, which require truck drivers and trucking companies to keep detailed logs of driver qualifications, drug and alcohol screenings, truck maintenance records, and hours-of-service compliance.