wolterman conference room

A decade of friendly,



Home » Blog » Truck Accident » How Are Truck Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?

How Are Truck Accidents Different Than Car Accidents?

Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Can Examine Your Claim From Every Angle.

Car and truck accidents have a few things in common, like typically being caused by driver error, resulting in property damage and injuries. Their differences are much more significant, however. The exponential size of a commercial truck is one factor that makes truck accidents more severe and complicated than ones that only involve cars.

Do More People Die in Truck Accidents?

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, while average passenger vehicles are a few thousand pounds. Oversized trucks are also longer and wider. When something that large collides with a passenger vehicle, the magnitude of the injuries can be much more severe, and the likelihood of fatalities is higher.

The CDC claims that more than one of every three long-haul trucks has had a serious truck accident in their career. Furthermore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported that crashes involving large commercial trucks led to 77,000 injuries and 4,321 fatalities over one year. While there might be more passenger vehicles than trucks on Ohio roads, the chance of a passenger vehicle occupant dying in a truck accident is higher.

How Do Tractor-Trailers Accidents Happen?

A tractor-trailer’s large size is well-suited for delivering a lot of cargo, but the length and width lead to poor visibility for truckers. Eighteen-wheelers have notoriously large blind spots, making it harder for those drivers to see everything around them. A smaller vehicle can be within a blind spot at any given time, so giving these trucks plenty of room is essential.

These trucks also need more stopping distance, especially when traveling faster and the road is slippery. They cannot stop as quickly, and when a stopped vehicle or another emergency happens, the trucker might end up slamming into it. Trucks can also crash because of mechanical problems, like defective brakes, fatigued or impaired drivers, and maintenance and repair issues.

Do Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies Follow Certain Laws?

Car drivers must be licensed, insured, and follow speed limits and other driving laws. Truck drivers and their employers adhere to those and others; when they do not, it could be held against them. Some laws also vary by state. For example, Ohio commercial truck drivers have HOS limitations. When a truck has cargo, the driver can be on-duty for no longer than 14 hours after 10 straight hours off-duty. The State also imposes maximum load and axle weight guidelines, equipment requirements, and speed limits.

Comparing Costs of Truck Accidents and Car Accidents

Even a minor passenger car accident can lead to serious injuries and property damage, costing a lot of money. A serious one could total a car. When an 18-wheeler is involved, the consequences are almost always devastating.

This is why commercial trucks carry more insurance coverage than passenger vehicles. These policies have higher limits and are used to protect companies. As a guideline, The FMCSA requires large commercial trucks to have minimum liability limits of $750,000 or $1,000,000. However, this varies depending on the size, cargo, vehicle type, operating radius, and other variables. In addition to that, there may be additional policies for cargo insurance, truckers’ liability, and hazardous materials on board.

In Ohio, drivers who own passenger vehicles need to have minimum insurance that is much lower:

  • $25,000 for injury/death of one person.
  • $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people.
  • $25,000 property damage coverage for one accident.

It is easy to see that passenger vehicle insurance coverage might not be enough to compensate someone who was injured in a truck accident. The damages awarded in truck accidents can be much higher, but compensation for the injuries and property damage is usually much more involved.

How Is Liability Determined in Truck Accidents?

Settling these claims is complex because you are not just dealing with another driver and their insurance provider. With truck accidents, the at-fault trucker might be a self-employed owner-operator or work for a trucking company. If it is proven that the truck driver was negligent, other parties could also be liable.

Additionally, the evidence-gathering phase following a truck accident often takes longer. It is essential to look at things from every angle and to know where to find proof. One example is truck driver logs. These can reveal specific evidence, like a truck driver working over the minimum hours or not stopping at inspection stations. Other company records can also provide valuable information, like a trucker’s commercial driver’s license expiration date, driving history, and details about how the cargo was loaded.

Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyers at Wolterman Law Office Can Examine Your Claim From Every Angle

Anyone involved in a truck accident and attempting to settle a claim alone will likely face strong opposition. Let our Cincinnati truck accident lawyers at Wolterman Law Office take over your case. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call us at 513-488-1135 or complete our online form. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.