Passenger Vehicle Accidents vs. Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Being in an accident that involves a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle is more likely to be life-altering because those vehicles weigh much more than the average sedan, SUV, or even a pickup truck. That difference in weight causes much more severe damage and trauma, and that trauma complicates and lengthens a patient's recovery process, as accident victims begin to understand that accidents involving commercial vehicles are much more complicated than those involving standard passenger vehicles. So, what are the differences between these two types of accidents?
Larger Insurance Policies
Because commercial trucks are much larger than standard passenger vehicles they inflict much more damage when they collide with other vehicles. Because of this fact, the commercial drivers are required to carry insurance policies with higher policy limits than the insurance policies required for standard vehicles. In fact, an insurance policy on a commercial truck can be worth 50 times more than an insurance policy on a passenger vehicle. That can amount to millions of dollars.
Insurance companies will fight to avoid having to pay out on even the smaller insurance policies involving passenger vehicles. These policies typically amount to the $25,000 minimum required by Kentucky law. When the insurance company is in jeopardy of losing millions of dollars to cover an accident involving a commercial vehicle, they will fight even harder to avoid paying out on a commercial policy. Insurance adjusters will attempt to place the blame on the accident victim in order to deny the claim or minimize the amount paid out on the claim.
Because of this, it is very important to contact a professional who handles commercial accidents in Kentucky as soon as you can. The insurance company's investigation begins as soon as they are contacted and your investigation, through your injury professional, should begin as soon as possible so the most accurate evidence can be collected while still available (such as contacting a professional to conduct an accident reconstruction while witness memories are fresh, tire marks on the road are visible, and before the debris is cleared).
More Complex Cause and Liability
Due to the fact that commercial vehicles often cross state lines, there are a number of rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration they must follow. These regulations include specifications on maintaining vehicles, special commercial licenses that are required, annual inspections, and the updating of logbooks.
When a driver of a commercial vehicle, or a trucking company, fails to follow these regulations, it can be considered negligence in the event of an accident. Due to the fact that there are so many regulations, however, these regulations also make accidents involving commercial vehicles more complicated. With so many regulations, it can be difficult to determine the specific cause of an accident, liability, and whether or not their were any factors that would entitle an injured victim in Kentucky to punitive damages.
Investigations Start Earlier
After an accident with a commercial vehicle, accident victims in a passenger vehicle are often in the hospital, trying to recover from their serious injuries. At the same time, the trucking company is investigating the scene of the accident, preparing an "accident reconstruction report," and speaking to any witnesses as soon as possible. They do this so that they can try to avoid the blame being placed on the truck driver or the trucking company. Most of the time, accident victims don’t even realize this is happening while they are still recovering and receiving treatment for their serious injuries. This is just one reason it's so important to speak to a Kentucky personal injury lawyer after a serious accident injured victims can focus on their recovery.
Larger Medical Bills
Due to the size and nature of commercial vehicles, when they crash into passenger vehicles, accident victims often sustain much greater injuries. Treatment for those injuries also costs much more than the relatively minor injuries often sustained after an accident involving two passenger vehicles. The cost of these treatments can have a very negative effect on an accident victim’s financial situation, overall well-being, and standard of living. These large bills are even more daunting if the accident victim is unable to work for a long period of time, or is so injured they will never again be able to work or function in the same way they once did.
Fortunately, Kentucky law allows accident victims to claim compensation in a personal injury lawsuit for both lost income and lost earning capacity. A personal injury attorney in Kentucky will be able to calculate the cost of both types of damages, so accident victims can receive the full amount of compensation they are entitled to.
A well-practiced injury professional will be able to negotiate with a victim's medical care providers to make sure the patient has money for future care and treatment, saving the injured victim thousands of dollars.
Get the Help You Need from a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
Accidents involving a commercial vehicle are vastly different than those involving two standard passenger vehicles. While a personal injury attorney in Kentucky should be contacted after any accident, it’s even more crucial after an accident involving a commercial vehicle because of the damages involved and the complex insurance questions that attend commercial accidents.
If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, contact us at (859) 358-0300 as soon as possible. We will investigate the accident to determine the cause, liability, deal with the insurance company on your behalf, and work with you to help you maximize your claim while also avoiding litigation. At the Morrin Law Office, we want to get you back on your feet; back to living your best life as soon as possible. Call us so we can start working with you to protect your interests today