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How Are Truck Accidents Different From Car Accidents?

Devastating injuries, huge medical bills, permanent limitations—all this and even worse can happen when a large truck crashes into your vehicle. And if you were hit by a commercial truck, it likely won’t be a simple collision case. Instead, it could turn into something much more complex.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between truck crashes and car accidents, and we’ll also explain who can help after a wreck and how.

What to Expect During a North Carolina Truck Crash Case

Aerial view of a commercial truck on the road

Truck accident cases often seem like they should be straightforward, especially if you believe the truck driver was clearly at fault. You might even be tempted to settle quickly with the insurance company just to get the whole ordeal over with.

However, truck accident cases are rarely as simple as injured victims would hope. There are a few key differences between a truck crash case and the type of personal injury case you might experience with a passenger vehicle—differences that can make life very hard and stressful for victims.

Truck Crashes Often Cause More Damage Than Car Crashes

Big commercial trucks like 18-wheeers and tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When one of these massive vehicles crashes into a 4,000-pound passenger vehicle, the car absorbs the worst of the impact—often resulting in severe injuries or death for the people inside.

Unfortunately, these deadly wrecks happen far too often. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,014 people died in truck crashes in 2020—an increase of more than 10% since 2014. Truck drivers accounted for 15% of those deaths, while 68% were occupants in passenger vehicles, and 16% were motorcyclists, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

Determining Liability in a Truck Crash Case Can Be Extremely Complicated

When a big truck causes a car accident, it can take a lot of investigation to figure out who’s responsible for your injuries and damaged property. While the fault in a typical car accident is usually assigned to one or both drivers, trucking accidents frequently have multiple contributing causes and at-fault parties.

Examples of factors that can contribute to truck crashes include:

  • Driver negligence, including driving while intoxicated or falling asleep at the wheel
  • Trucking company negligence (such as forcing drivers to cut corners or work long hours in violation of the law, or employing drivers who are unqualified or have committed multiple safety violations)
  • Improper loading that causes the truck to become unstable
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Defective parts

Truck logbooks, black boxes, and maintenance records are meant to provide a detailed picture of the events and factors that led up to a crash. However, trucking companies do not have to maintain these records forever and will often destroy them to cover up negligence. To figure out who is responsible for your injuries and make sure all the evidence stays intact, you should contact an experienced truck crash attorney as soon as possible after a wreck.

The System of Laws and Regulations That Affect Truck Crash Cases Is Vast and Complicated

In a truck crash case, many different laws, regulations, and rules of legal procedure can affect your claim. Examples include federal trucking regulations, rules about when logs can be erased, and the process of filing claims with multiple parties. Navigating these complex requirements takes familiarity with truck crash cases and knowledge of the rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the government agency that regulates commercial trucking.

Because commercial truck accident claims are so complex, the insurance company in your case will usually deny your claim right away—even if liability seems clear. The insurance company assumes investigating the crash and building your claim will turn out to be so complicated that you’ll get discouraged and give up. This is especially true in North Carolina, where rules of liability unfairly favor insurance companies over victims.

These types of insurance company tactics make it essential to have a seasoned and skilled North Carolina personal injury lawyer who understands every aspect of these complex cases. With the right knowledge and an aggressive approach, your attorney can help you act strategically and maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation from your truck accident claim.

Let us help you.


What Factors Can Affect Compensation in a North Carolina Truck Accident Case?

A person walking with a leg injury and crutches

If you’ve been hurt in a trucking accident that wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for your medical care or damaged property out of your own pocket—especially considering how these costs can quickly add up after a devastating crash.

With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, truck accident victims can seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including medical bills and travel costs for treatment
  • Lost wages from not working
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical therapy and other rehabilitation
  • Home modifications to accommodate mobility devices
  • Medications
  • Property damage
  • And more, depending on your case

If you have questions about your personal injury case or what costs you’re eligible to receive compensation for, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney. An experienced lawyer should be able to help you understand your case value and your legal options for recovering damages.

RELATED: Do I Have to Pay My Own Medical Bills After a Car Crash?

How Do You Determine the Amount of Compensation From a Semi Truck Accident?

A man talking on the phone and reviewing paperwork

Injured victims often want to know how much they should get in compensation after a truck accident. In this section, we’ll discuss some factors that can affect the amount you might receive in a settlement if you’ve been injured.

Truck Accident Settlement Amounts Depend on Damages

The amount of money you can receive from a personal injury claim depends on your damages, which are all the costs and losses you’ve suffered. These are different in every single case, which means that the settlement amount of every case is different.

When you look at everything that’s happened after a wreck, it might seem overwhelming or even impossible to figure out all the ways the accident has cost you or negatively affected your life—and then put a dollar figure to it all.

However, an experienced personal injury attorney should be able to accurately estimate your damages, even in a highly complex truck crash case. In doing so, they will break down your damages into three different categories.

  • Economic damages: These are the direct costs of an injury that can be proven through a paper trail. Economic damages include expenses like medical bills for emergency care and doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy. Other types of economic damages can include lost wages, home and vehicle modifications to accommodate crash-related disabilities, and future lost wages (or earning potential you’ve lost due to the wreck).
  • Non-economic damages: Not all costs and losses from a truck wreck show up on a medical bill or receipt. Truck accident victims often experience significant pain and suffering damages, and they’re entitled to compensation for those damages. While economic damages are often more obvious and easier to calculate, non-economic damages are just as important and can lead to significant compensation. Examples of crash-related experiences that might lead to non-economic damages include:
    • Physical pain from your injuries
    • The inconvenience of having to deal with your injuries and going to medical visits
    • Panic attacks or post-traumatic stress disorder 
    • Anxiety or depression  
    • Loss of companionship, enjoyment, or happiness
  • Punitive Damages: When injuries occur due to a defendant’s malicious or extremely reckless actions, courts can impose additional punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter other people from engaging in this type of behavior. Punitive damages are rare in truck accident cases but might come into play if, for example, the driver was heavily intoxicated or the trucking company put a poorly maintained and dangerous truck on the road.

Truck Accident Settlement Amounts Tend to Be Higher Than in Car Crash Cases

The amount of compensation in an injury case is directly tied to the severity of the injuries. Compared to typical car accident cases, truck accidents often lead to higher compensation amounts for victims.

There are two main reasons for this. First, truck accident victims often suffer catastrophic injuries with lifelong consequences. And second, trucking companies are required to carry insurance policies with much higher coverage limits than most ordinary drivers would have. So, victims generally have more damages, and the insurance policies generally have higher limits to pay for those damages.

However, truck accident victims and their loved ones aren’t receiving financial windfalls—they’re severely injured and being compensated for the devastating costs of another person’s negligence. And often, victims and their attorneys have to fight hard for this compensation because the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer.

RELATED: Compensation Explained: What Can I Receive From My Injury Case?

Myers Law Firm: Fighting for Truck Crash Victims

At Myers Law Firm, we understand how challenging it is to recover from a traumatic accident involving a semi-truck. We’re dedicated to making sure you get the compassionate, tenacious representation you need to obtain a fair settlement so you can focus on healing and recovery.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, get in touch now and schedule your free consultation. During your consultation, one of our attorneys will listen to your story and then explain your rights and your legal options for compensation.

To schedule your consultation today, call us at 888-376-2889 or use our quick and easy online contact form.


Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2022, May). Large Trucks: 2020. (Fatality facts). Ruckersville, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Retrieved from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks

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

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