The city of Fort Wayne has a very diverse economy and relies on a number of different companies to employ its citizens. Obviously, trucking and transportation play an important part in Fort Wayne’s economy. These companies, along with the drivers who operate their trucks, make it possible to get goods in and out of the large city.
But with so many semis on the road, there are inevitably going to be accidents. Car vs. semi truck accidents are inherently different from car vs. car accidents for three reasons:
1. More Serious Injuries
Passenger vehicles may range in size, but not by much. However, a semi truck is massive compared to a typical passenger vehicle. Semi trucks can carry thousands of pounds of cargo. Meanwhile, a car is typically built to carry a family. The size difference means that the driver and passengers in the car are more likely to suffer serious injuries than the truck driver.
It’s also important to note that semi trucks are built differently than passenger vehicles. Semi trucks are higher off of the ground than most passenger vehicles, creating a risk for what’s called an underride accident. An underride accident occurs when a car collides with a semi truck and gets stuck underneath. These accidents can be particularly devastating and result in gruesome injuries, even death. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently requires semi trucks to have underride guards on their backs, but not any on the sides of their vehicle, posing a real threat to other motorists.
2. Special Rules for Semi Truck Drivers
Everyone on the road has to obey traffic laws—stop for red lights, don’t speed, don’t drive under the influence—but did you know that truck drivers are subject to even more rules?
Known as the Hours of Service regulations, these rules make sure truck drivers don’t drive while drowsy. Although it hasn’t gotten as much national attention as drinking and driving or texting and driving, driving while drowsy is just as serious of a problem. Drowsy driving was directly responsible for 846 deaths in 2014 and 83,000 crashes from 2005 to 2009, according to the NHTSA. It can affect drivers just as badly as alcohol, resulting in slower reaction times, poor judgment, and delayed cognitive functioning.
Drowsy driving isn’t exclusive to truck drivers, but the Hours of Service regulations attempt to keep truck drivers from driving while drowsy. This is because truck drivers are operating more dangerous vehicles. They also often work odd hours, making them more susceptible to drowsy driving than the average person.
The Hours of Service regulations limit truck drivers to 11 hours of driving after 10 consecutive hours off duty. A truck driver that breaks these rules and causes a truck accident will be held responsible in a different way from a drowsy driver of a regular car who causes an accident.
3. Responsibility Across Multiple Parties
Truck accidents are also different from car accidents because there are multiple parties who may be responsible for a truck accident.
Typically, you assume that the driver is responsible for an accident. That may be true in a truck accident, especially if they broke a law like the Hours of Service regulations. However, many truck drivers operate their vehicles perfectly well and still get into accidents. Someone else may be responsible, including:
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- The company that loaded the truck
- The company that maintains the truck
How do you know who is responsible? That’s where an Indiana truck accident attorney may be able to help. They can gather all of the evidence surrounding a truck accident and help you determine which insurance company you should pursue for compensation.
Help from an Indiana Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Wayne semi collision, put an attorney on your side who specializes in these types of cases. Call an Indiana truck accident attorney at Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online.