Truck Accidents vs Car Accidents: What’s the Difference

truck accident different than car accidents

Truck accidents differ from car accidents in various ways. First off, trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 lb, significantly more than the average car. This weight contrast leads to extensive damage and increased injury severity, with passenger car occupants being 68% more likely to suffer fatal injuries compared to truck occupants at 15%.

Moreover, truck accidents can be more complex as they may involve multiple parties. Determining liability becomes a challenge, making the claims process intricate. Additionally, truck drivers operate under specific federal regulations, and their insurance policies differ from those of regular car drivers.

At Uptown Injury Law PLLC, we’ve been advocating for accident victims throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the New York City Metro Area for over 15 years. Whether you are a truck driver or a car owner, our dedicated team is committed to protecting your rights and securing the fair compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free case review now!

How Do Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents?

Trucks can be way heavier—up to 30 times more than cars—resulting in collisions that often cause severe injuries and extensive damage to smaller cars. Additionally, truck accidents may involve multiple parties, such as the trucking company, cargo loaders, or maintenance providers, leading to complex liability issues. Federal laws govern the trucking industry exclusively, adding another layer of regulation not present in car accidents.

Significant Weight and Size Difference Between Trucks and Cars

Trucks, especially the big ones you see on highways can be over 70 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 lb when fully loaded. This is way more than the typical car. Because of this size and weight difference, when a truck and a car collide, it can lead to severe consequences.

In addition, trucks generate a more substantial impact due to their massive size, making the damage severe. Their weight also means they take longer to stop, which can be risky in situations like heavy traffic or emergencies. Also, trucks have blind spots because of their size, making it harder for both truck drivers and other drivers to see each other. This increases the chances of accidents during lane changes or turns.

In contrast, cars are much smaller and lighter. An average car weighs around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. When a car and a truck crash, the force hits the car harder, causing more damage and putting the people inside at a higher risk of injury.

The term “crash incompatibility” captures this mismatch in size and weight, making accidents with trucks potentially more dangerous for people in smaller cars.

Regular Maintenance for Commercial Vehicles

Unlike cars, where owners are responsible for maintenance, commercial trucks follow a different protocol. Just as the truck driver is accountable for their actions on the road, the company they drive for shoulders the responsibility for the truck and its regular maintenance.

Regular maintenance for commercial vehicles involves routine checks on crucial components such as brakes, tires, and engine systems. This preventative approach aims to identify and address potential problems before they turn into safety hazards. In contrast, cars may not undergo such rigorous and systematic maintenance unless a problem arises.

The responsibility for truck maintenance lies with the trucking company, adding an extra layer of accountability compared to car accidents. If a truck is involved in an accident due to neglected maintenance, the trucking company may be held liable for the damages and injuries resulting from the collision.

Greater Risk of Severe Injuries and Extensive Damage

When heavy trucks collide with smaller cars, the impact is way more severe due to the higher speed and weight difference. Here are the types of injuries that often happen in truck accidents:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

When a truck and a car collide, traumatic brain injuries can occur. These injuries range from concussions, which are temporary and can cause confusion and dizziness, to severe brain damage with lasting cognitive and functional impacts.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries in truck accidents can range from affecting the nerves to severe damage, leading to paralysis or other life-altering conditions. These injuries impact mobility and can significantly change a person’s life.

Fractures and Broken Bones

The force exerted in the crash can cause fractures and broken bones in both the car occupants and, in some cases, the truck driver. The injuries’ severity varies, ranging from minor fractures to complex fractures that may necessitate surgery and extended recovery periods.

Internal Injuries

Truck and car accidents can result in internal injuries, affecting organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. These internal organ injuries may not be immediately visible but can pose serious health risks. Prompt medical attention is necessary to identify and address internal injuries effectively.

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

The sudden impact of the collision can lead to whiplash and neck injuries. These injuries affect the soft tissues in the neck, causing pain, stiffness, and, in some cases, long-term discomfort. Whiplash is the most common consequence of rear-end collisions between trucks and cars.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries, including contusions, fractures, or damage to internal organs, can occur when a truck and a car collide. The force of the impact may cause occupants to hit the car steering wheel, dashboard, or other parts, resulting in chest trauma.

Abdominal Injuries

The strong force generated during the collision can lead to abdominal injuries. Organs in the abdominal area, such as the liver and kidneys, may be at risk of injury. Identifying and treating abdominal injuries promptly is crucial to prevent further complications.

Burn Injuries

In some cases, truck and car collisions can result in burn injuries, especially if there is a subsequent fire. These bodily injuries can be severe and may require specialized medical care. Burn injuries add an additional layer of complexity to the overall impact of the collision.


Severe truck and car accidents may result in traumatic injuries that require amputations of limbs. This life-altering consequence can have profound physical and psychological effects on the individuals involved.

Moreover, the impact goes beyond physical health. Recovering from these serious injuries often means missing work for an extended period. This leads to financial stress on top of medical bills. And the emotional toll? It’s tough—dealing with the aftermath of a life-changing accident can bring anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Complex Insurance Coverage and Policies

The complexity of insurance coverage and policies arises from the involvement of multiple parties in truck accidents. These cases often involve the truck driver, the trucking company, and potentially other entities, each with its own insurance policies and coverage.

Truck drivers typically carry commercial insurance, which differs significantly from standard car insurance. Commercial insurance accounts for the unique risks associated with operating large trucks. It includes cargo, liability, and physical damage coverage, reflecting the diverse aspects of trucking operations.

The trucking company also plays an important role, usually holding insurance policies to cover its fleet and operations. Determining which party is liable for an accident involves understanding the specifics of each entity’s insurance coverage. This complexity can impact the claims process, affecting the compensation available to victims.

Moreover, truck accidents might involve third parties, such as manufacturers or maintenance contractors. Determining the extent of their liability and insurance coverage adds another layer of intricacy to the situation. 

Involvement of Multiple Parties in Truck Crashes

While you may think the truck driver is the only one responsible for a truck accident, the reality is far more complex. Multiple parties can be involved, each contributing to the crash in various ways.

The primary player is, of course, the driver. However, the responsibility extends beyond them. The trucking company bears accountability for inadequate training or pushing unrealistic schedules that may contribute to driver fatigue.

Beyond that, those responsible for loading the cargo must be considered. Poorly loaded cargo can lead to instability and accidents on the road. The company responsible for maintaining the truck is also a key participant. Neglecting maintenance can result in mechanical failures, further contributing to accidents.

Sometimes, the fault lies with the manufacturers of truck parts. Defective parts can malfunction, causing accidents. Another driver sharing the road may contribute to the crash through negligence or reckless behavior.

Surprisingly, even government entities may be involved. Poorly designed or maintained roads, improper signage, or insufficient traffic management can contribute to accidents.

Understanding the involvement of multiple parties is crucial in determining liability after a truck crash. Each entity plays a role, and navigating the complexities of their contributions is essential for a comprehensive assessment of responsibility and a fair resolution.

At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our experienced truck accident lawyers specialize in dealing with these complexities, helping you determine fault and causation for effective legal representation in personal injury cases. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Exclusive Federal Laws and Regulations Governing Trucks

Exclusive federal laws and regulations govern trucks in New York, setting them apart from the legal framework for car accidents. These regulations, established by federal agencies, create a comprehensive set of rules that trucking companies and drivers must adhere to during their operations.

One significant aspect of federal regulation involves the working hours of truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict guidelines on the number of consecutive driving hours (HOS), mandatory rest breaks, and weekly maximum driving limits. Violating these rules can lead to driver fatigue, increasing the risk of accidents.

Weight limits are another crucial federal regulation. The government establishes maximum weight allowances for trucks to prevent overloading, which can cause accidents and road damage. Compliance with these weight limits is essential for maintaining road safety.

The FMCSA mandates regular inspections and maintenance checks for commercial trucks to ensure they are in proper working condition. These federal regulations aim to prevent accidents caused by mechanical failures resulting from poor maintenance.

Furthermore, licensing requirements for commercial truck drivers are federally mandated. The standards set by the FMCSA ensure that only qualified individuals operate these large vehicles, contributing to overall road safety.

Violating these federal rules and regulations can lead to severe consequences, including fines, penalties, legal actions, and, most notably, an increased risk of accidents. Adhering to these rules and regulations is not only a legal requirement but also a crucial step for ensuring the safety of both truck drivers and other road users.

Filing Claims for Truck Accidents Compared to Car Accidents

Clash truck and car, truck accident victim personal injury claim

Filing claims for truck accidents involves a distinct and more complicated process compared to car accidents. The complexity arises from the increased damages, multiple liable parties, and the challenging negotiation dynamics with trucking companies. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the unique process for filing claims after a truck accident:

Step 1: Initial Consultation

For both car and truck accidents, the initial step is a consultation with an attorney. However, this consultation tends to be more extensive in truck accident cases. Your attorney will thoroughly discuss your case, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, lowered earning ability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

Step 2: Investigation

Investigating a truck accident is more intricate than a car accident due to multiple contributing factors. While car accidents often result from driver negligence, truck accidents can involve various parties like the driver, trucking company, cargo loaders, maintenance company, truck parts manufacturer, or even another driver. Determining the responsible party is crucial for building a strong claim.

Step 3: Identifying Liable Parties

Identifying liability is a critical step in truck accident claims. Determining who is at fault among the potentially responsible parties requires careful examination of evidence and may take longer than in car accidents. Your truck accident lawyer must identify the responsible party or parties and file a truck accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurer to pursue compensation for your damages.

Step 4: Negotiation For a Settlement

Negotiating a settlement in truck accident claims presents unique challenges. Trucking companies typically have aggressive teams of insurers and lawyers prepared to contest claims. Unlike car accidents, where negotiations may be more straightforward, the complexity of truck accident claims often leads to lengthier settlement discussions and, in some cases, the need to go to court.

Step 5: Court Proceedings (if required)

Due to the challenges in negotiating settlements for truck accidents, you may need to pursue court proceedings to obtain the compensation you deserve. This step is less common in car accident claims, highlighting the heightened complexities associated with truck accident cases.

Why Should You Hire a Truck Accident Attorney for Your Case?

new york truck accident lawyer

There is no one reason why hiring a truck accident attorney is essential for your case; instead, several compelling factors make legal representation invaluable in navigating the challenges of truck accident claims.

Firstly, truck accidents often lead to substantial injuries and damages. A seasoned truck accident attorney understands the complexities involved in quantifying these losses, ensuring that every aspect of your suffering and expenses is considered when seeking compensation.

The nature of truck accidents introduces multiple responsible parties, like the driver, the trucking company, cargo loaders, and maintenance entities. Uncovering these layers of liability requires the expertise of an attorney familiar with the intricacies of truck accident claims, increasing the strength of your truck accident case.

The investigation is a critical phase, and a truck accident attorney possesses the skills and resources to examine the evidence thoroughly. This includes accident reports, witness statements, and technical black box data from the truck, building a solid foundation for your case.

Moreover, given their aggressive legal teams, negotiating with trucking companies and their insurers can be challenging. An experienced personal injury attorney adeptly handles these negotiations, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your losses.

In instances where negotiations fall short, going to court becomes a possibility. A skilled truck accident attorney guides you through the legal proceedings, equipped with the knowledge necessary to advocate effectively for your rights before a judge and jury.

Consult an Uptown Injury New York Truck Accident Lawyer Today!

If you’ve been in a truck accident, Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, is here for you. With over 15 years of dedicated service, we’ve been defending personal injury victims in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the NYC Metro Area.

Our 5-Step Process

  1. Understanding Your Case: We begin by listening to your story, ensuring we get the details of your truck accident.
  2. In-Depth Investigation: Our skilled team thoroughly investigates, uncovering the facts to identify responsible parties and gather crucial evidence.
  3. Legal Expertise: With 15+ years of experience, our lawyers use their legal prowess to build a strong case, guiding you through the complexities of the legal process.
  4. Expert Negotiation: We’re dedicated to securing the compensation you deserve. Our negotiators work with insurance companies to protect your rights and maximize your recovery.
  5. Results that Matter: Uptown Injury Law, PLLC takes pride in exceeding $100 million in results for our clients in the NYC Metro area. We’re committed to achieving outcomes that make a real difference.

Our Promise: No Fee Unless You Win! Your financial burden shouldn’t increase after a serious truck accident. With us, you only pay when we win your case. Your success is our top priority. To begin your journey toward fair compensation, contact us online or call our toll-free number at 917-540-8728


How Truck Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents?

Truck accidents differ from car accidents in different ways. Trucks, often weighing up to 30 times more than cars, can cause more extensive damage and severe injuries. Involvement of multiple parties, intricate insurance coverage, and adherence to federal regulations add complexity to truck accidents compared to regular car collisions.

Are Trucks Safer than Cars in an Accident?

According to Joe Nolan, IIHS senior vice president of vehicle research, “Smaller vehicles offer less protection for the driver in crashes.” This statement implies that larger vehicles like trucks may generally provide better protection for occupants in accidents compared to smaller cars.

What Type of Vehicle Gets in the Most Accidents?

Smaller vehicles, like motorcycles and passenger cars, statistically have more frequent accidents than larger trucks. Their increased vulnerability on the road makes them prone to incidents, particularly when sharing roads with larger, heavier vehicles.

What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Cases?

The most common type of truck accident cases includes jackknife accidents, where the truck’s trailer swings outward; rollover accidents, often caused by sharp turns or uneven terrain; and rear-end collisions due to longer stopping distances. These truck accidents frequently lead to significant damage and pose risks to other vehicles on the road.

How Do Weather Conditions Impact Truck Accidents?

Adverse weather situations, such as rain, snow, or fog, can significantly increase the risk of truck accidents. Reduced visibility and slippery roadways contribute to a higher likelihood of collisions. Truck drivers must adjust their driving behavior to accommodate these conditions, but accidents may still occur, emphasizing the importance of cautious driving in adverse weather.

Are Pickup Trucks Really More Dangerous than Auto Cars?

Yes, according to the NHTSA, accidents involving light pickup trucks have a 23% higher fatality rate compared to crashes involving other passenger vehicles. This data suggests that, in terms of safety outcomes, pickup trucks may pose a higher risk of accidents compared to other types of passenger vehicles.

How Do Trucking Companies Contribute to Accidents, and Can They Be Held Responsible?

Trucking companies can contribute to accidents through factors such as inadequate training, unrealistic schedules, or negligent maintenance. Yes, they can be held responsible when their actions lead to an accident. Determining the extent of a trucking company’s responsibility requires a thorough investigation, often involving legal expertise.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Truck Accident vs. A Car Accident Case?

The duration to resolve a truck accident versus a car accident case can vary. Truck accident cases often involve complex investigations, multiple liable parties, and tough legal processes, potentially prolonging the resolution time.
Car accident cases, being comparatively simpler, may get resolved more quickly. However, the timeframe ultimately depends on factors like the extent of injuries, cooperation from involved parties, and the overall complexity of each specific case.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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