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Truck Wrecks vs. Car Crashes: 3 Essential Differences

Written by Tom Crosley
Jan 14, 2020 Car Accidents, Trucking Accidents, Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. 3 Important Ways Trucks Are Different Than Passenger Vehicles  
  2. 2. Injury Claims for Truck Wrecks Have Several Key Differences 
  3. 3. Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted Truck Crash Lawyers 

Truck wrecks are over two times more likely to be fatal than car crashes, according to recent Texas crash data. But that’s not the only difference that sets them apart. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck wreck and are considering filing an injury claim, your claims will be more complex because you may have to navigate federal trucking rules and a tangle of competing insurance companies. 

Unfortunately, what you don’t know can hurt you in a truck wreck claim. Read this article to learn more about the key differences between car and truck crashes and how they may impact your claim.  

Important Ways Trucks Are Different Than Passenger Vehicles  

1. Tractor-Trailers Can Be 20 Times Heavier Than Cars  

Under federal law, most 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In comparison, the average car weighs 4,044 pounds. However, commercial vehicles with Texas overweight permits may be even bigger  “super heavy” permits allow trucks to carry weigh more than 200,000 pounds. 

A big truck’s weight can contribute to a crash. They typically have: 

  • Longer stopping distances 
  • Larger blind spots 
  • Wider turn radiuses  
  • Decreased agility and responsiveness 

All of these factors make them more likely to cause life-threatening crashes. When you add potentially hazardous cargo, such as flammable chemicals, to the mix, it’s no surprise that truck wrecks cause so many fatal and catastrophic injuries.    

2. Trucks Have Different Technology and Maintenance Needs  

Because of their extensive weight and time on the road, trucks require frequent maintenance. When you’re carrying loads for long hauls, tires, brakes, lights, and other parts can quickly deteriorate. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 29% of brake problems contribute to 29% of all truck wrecks. Tire problems and defects lead to another 6%. 

Are Trucking Regulations Encouraging Drowsy Driving?

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To monitor truck performance and driver behaviors, many big trucking companies install telematics systems that monitor a vehicle’s speed, engine function, braking, location, and other factors in real-time. These systems can help trucking companies increase productivity – and can provide important evidence to your lawyer.

At Crosley Law, we have extensive experience with truck defects, faulty maintenance, and telematic data. For example, we represented the family of a cyclist who died during a truck crash. The only surviving witness was the truck driver – who quickly blamed our client. Our investigation uncovered multiple safety violations that contributed to the crash, including a faulty right-turn signal. Armed with this information, we recovered a substantial, confidential settlement for the family. 

3. Drowsy Driving Is Common for Commercial Drivers  

Under federal hours of service rules, truck drivers can only operate their vehicles for a limited time before taking a break. Sadly, many trucking companies are more concerned about profits than driver safety. Even though federal laws prohibit coercion, where a company pressures a driver to violate the hours of service rules or other safety rules, it is relatively common. Other times, long-haul drivers decide to bend or break the rules themselves. 

Crosley Law frequently represents people injured by tired, ill, and otherwise impaired truckers. According to the FMCSA, fatigue, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and prescription medications are among the top ten causes for truck crashes. 

Injury Claims for Truck Wrecks Have Several Key Differences 

When it comes to 18-wheelers and other big trucks, their size and time on the road aren’t the only differences. After a crash, victims will also discover that their claims aren’t like a typical fender bender.  

Commercial Truck Claims May Involve Multiple Negligent Parties 

Who Is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?

Read More

When a car crash involves two passenger vehicles, there’s a good chance that only one person was at fault. However, many parties can contribute to a truck wreck, and they all may have separate insurance companies and defenses.  

Negligent parties for truck wrecks can involve the: 

  • Truck driver 
  • Parent truck company 
  • Freight brokers 
  • Loading companies 
  • Truck or parts manufacturers 
  • Truck mechanics and service providers 

While all of these claims may complicate your case, multiple insurance policies can also help you get fair compensation for your injuries. (Some trucking companies have millions in commercial insurance coverage.)  

More Regulations Apply to Truck Drivers and Companies  

Besides having to follow Texas’ rules of the road, commercial drivers also must obey many federal trucking regulations. They set additional requirements about drivers’ hours of service, truck maintenance, health and wellness, and training. When a truck driver or company violates these rules, it can streamline your injury claims. However, identifying regulatory violations isn’t an easy process. 

For example, Crosley Law represented a man who was hit head-on by a negligent truck driver. We interviewed more than 40 witnesses and experts, found falsified hours of service logs, evidence of drunk driving, and other serious issues. Then, we presented all of this compelling evidence to a jury – who awarded our client fair compensation for his profound injuries.  

Truck Wrecks Can Cause a Lifetime of Damages 

Understanding the Costs and Complications of a Spinal Cord Injury

Read More

Large trucks can cause devastating crashes and injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and burnsIn these catastrophic cases, you may face decades of medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. While you may be able to calculate your current financial losses, how do you estimate your future needs? 

At Crosley Law, we work with experts, including doctors, occupational therapists, nurses, and life care planners, to calculate our clients’ damages. Then, we give our clients the information and emotional support they need to make smart decisions about their claims and their settlement value. 

Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted Truck Crash Lawyers 

We Can Help

Request Your Free Consultation

At Crosley Law, our experienced truck accident attorneys thoroughly investigate all potential negligent parties and causes of truck wrecks. Because we focus on truck wrecks and other catastrophic crashes, we understand the nuances and complexities associated with commercial vehicle claims. 

If you or a loved one have been a victim of a truck accident in Texas, contact our attorneys today. Call us at210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or complete this brief online form to schedule your free consultation. 



Abuelsamid, S. (2019, January 3). New vehicles keep getting heavier – Or are they? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/samabuelsamid/2019/01/03/new-vehicles-keep-getting-heavier-or-are-they/#6283a97e4518  

Oversize/overweight permits (n.d.). Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.txdmv.gov/motor-carriers/oversize-overweight-permits  

Texas Department of Transportation. (2019, August). Texas motor vehicle crash statistics: Cumulative crash statistics 2003–2018. Austin, TX: Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.txdot.gov/data-maps/crash-reports-records/motor-vehicle-crash-statistics.html

The large truck crash causation study – Analysis brief. (2007, July). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief  

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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