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  • Writer's pictureZachary Port

What Are the Key Differences in Collisions Between Commercial Trucks and Passenger Vehicles?

Whether you are injured by a passenger vehicle or a commercial vehicle (such as a semi truck), you need legal representation to protect your interests. But did you know there are key differences when you are hit by a semi vs. a passenger vehicle? This is the case no matter the type of vehicle you are driving.

semi truck collision


Understanding these nuances will shift the direction of your case and the potential compensation you may be entitled to. Here's why the ramifications of a commercial truck collision differ significantly from those involving a passenger vehicle:


1. Heightened Policy Limits for Compensation:

In the realm of commercial trucking, insurance policies typically have substantially higher limits compared to those of individual drivers. This means you can collect a larger amount if your case warrants it. This is because interstate trucking is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, which requires at least $750,000 in insurance coverage for commercial vehicles. For comparison, the typical liability insurance coverage for passenger vehicles is $100,000 in Minnesota, with a minimum of only $30,000. These means that even if you are seriously injured by a car, with hundreds of thousands of medical bills, you may only be able to recover $30,000.


On the other hand, with a minimum of $750,000 for trucking companies, you will have access to greater wiggle room for recovery. This allows victims of semi crashes to achieve a fairer resolution for their injuries.


2. Elevated Standard of Care for Commercial Drivers:

Commercial truck drivers operate under a distinctly rigorous framework governed by their Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). If you are an average driver in Minnesota, you likely have a Class D license. The Class A license required by tractor-trailer drivers requires a separate test entirely.


Unlike the average driver, commercial operators are held to an elevated standard of care owing to the inherent risks associated with their profession. They drive for their job. Their obligation to adhere to safety protocols is higher than the average Class D driver.


3. More Parties at Fault:

In a passenger car crash, likely the only person at fault is the driver themselves. In a trucking collision, there may be more players at fault than the driver alone. Many trucking companies operate safely, with established policies on things like hiring, firing, training, and safety on the road. However, some do not prioritize safety in their business.


Factors such as negligent hiring, inadequate training, or an institutional culture prioritizing profit over safety can all contribute to a crash. Unraveling the intricacies of these scenarios demands a nuanced understanding of the trucking industry's operational dynamics.


4. Specialized Knowledge Essential for Legal Representation:

Navigating the landscape of a commercial truck crash requires specialized legal expertise tailored to the trucking world. Treating a truck crash like a run-of-the-mill car crash case routinely results in a lower outcome for the victims. Entrusting your case to a firm equipped with the requisite knowledge and experience ensures that every facet of your claim is meticulously scrutinized, getting the best result possible.


In light of these pivotal distinctions, it's a good idea to enlist the services of a legal team equipped with the skills required for handling commercial truck accidents. At Betz & Port, we work to stay involved in the trucking world, taking specific courses on commercial driving and consistently engaging in trucking cases.


In the wake of a commercial truck collision, don't settle for anything less than the unparalleled advocacy and expertise offered by Betz & Port. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards reclaiming your rights and rebuilding your life.

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