Motor vehicle collisions can occur in an infinite combination of ways. Factors ranging from road and weather conditions to the speed and direction of travel can influence the kind of crash that happens and the extent of damage and injuries.
The size and condition of the vehicles are among the most important factors in determining the outcome of a crash. A major difference in size and weight is one of the biggest factors that differentiates a crash involving a commercial vehicle from a crash involving two passenger vehicles. What effects does size have on commercial crashes, and what other differences affect the outcome of commercial wrecks?
The size discrepancy means the people in the smaller vehicle have more risk
The bigger and heavier commercial vehicle could potentially demolish the smaller passenger vehicle without suffering any noteworthy damage itself. The driver of a commercial truck may not even have a bruise from their seat belts in a crash that destroys the smaller vehicle.
Big trucks have much less risk in such crashes, and their drivers are unlikely to suffer the same scale of injuries as people in smaller vehicles. 55% of the time when people in big trucks die in a crash, their vehicle was the only vehicle involved. For truck occupants who died in crashes involving multiple vehicles, 64% of the fatalities stemmed from a crash with another commercial truck.
Those in smaller vehicles involved in commercial trucking crashes are at higher risk of death or severe injury, including spinal cord injuries, amputations and brain injuries than the person in the bigger truck.
Insurance considerations are vastly different in commercial crashes
The fact that they can do so much damage and that they often carry thousands of dollars worth of property means that commercial trucks have much larger insurance policies than the average vehicle. That can be a good thing for those hurt in commercial crashes, as they can ask for compensation that appropriately reflects the severity of the injuries they suffered.
The laws that apply to the drivers are different as well
Commercial trucking crashes are also different because actions that would not result in a fault or accusations of lawbreaking for the average driver could be a major violation for a commercial driver. There are federal rules against texting, driving for too long and operating a commercial vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs.
It can be difficult for someone coping with the aftermath of a trucking crash to know what options and rights they have, but insurance claims or even a civil lawsuit may be an option for recovering lost wages, medical costs and property damage expenses.