An accident that involves a big rig and a passenger vehicle is often catastrophic.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that trucks are often 20 to 30 times heavier compared to the typical car. This leads to a vehicle that gains more energy as it moves. The truck then transfers that energy to a smaller vehicle, and the people within, during a crash. This means the passengers in the smaller vehicle are more likely to experience serious injuries. Data supports the theory, as the IIHS reports 72% of all fatalities in truck accidents were occupants of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or bicyclists and less then 20% involved drivers of the 18-wheeler.
Unfortunately, these numbers are going up. The agency also reports that the number of fatalities has increased almost one-third from 2009 through 2019.
So what happens after this type of crash? How does liability work? Although the specifics will vary depending on the details of the accident, the following guidance applies to most of these types of crashes.
Who is at fault may come as a surprise
Although it is likely the driver of the truck will have at least some liability, there may be more who are responsible for the crash. If the driver was working for another company, like Walmart or Amazon, that company may also have some responsibility. This is particularly true if the company did not encourage safe driving practices. The truck manufacturer or mechanic could also have some liability.
The main takeaway
Those who are injured or lose a loved one in this type of crash likely have options when it comes to liability. It is important to pursue these options as they can result in funds to help cover the expenses resulting from the crash — expenses like medical care, replacing a vehicle or lost wages.