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Types of Truck Accidents

No matter where you live, it is virtually impossible to drive your personal car, truck, or motorcycle without encountering a commercial truck of some type. It is also likely that, given the number of such commercial trucks on our streets and highways, that accidents involving such vehicles will occur. If you, or a family member, were injured in a commercial truck accident, the truck accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm reminds you that you have the right to be compensated for your injuries by the truck’s owner.

Since there are so many potential types of commercial trucking accidents, many of which are explained in the links provided in the sidebars accompanying this article, the truck accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm feels that these accidents are best explained by looking at the types of freight being picked up or delivered by a commercial truck. He will then explain the legal options that may be available to those who suffered an injury or property loss in such accidents.

Types of commercial trucks and commercial vehicles

As mentioned earlier, the type of commercial truck/vehicle and its freight type are the most useful ways to understand accidents involving such vehicles. As you might imagine, there is considerable overlap in these statistics and the following descriptions must be taken in the context of the specific accident involving one of the following general types of commercial vehicles.

Parcel Delivery

Percentage-wise, commercial parcel delivery account for the majority of commercial vehicles on city streets. In addition to the major “door to door” delivery operators such as FedEx and UPS, this category includes intra-city couriers and light-freight delivery by business to their customers. Vehicles in this category are those that are under 10,000 pounds in Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Despite their greater number, parcel delivery vehicles are involved in fewer personal injury accidents than are the other types of commercial vehicles.

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Carrier

LTL carriers operate in the area between parcel delivery (above) and truckload carriers (below). These carriers specialize in “palletized” freight, which is freight that is loaded onto wooden or lightweight metal pallets. LTL freight delivery typically involves vehicles that make deliveries to more than one recipient, or make pickups from more than one shipper, over the course of the day. Although the rate of injury accidents is higher than that of parcel delivery vehicles, it is proportionally lower than that of “over the road” (OTR) truckload carriers.

Truckload Freight Carrier

If you mention “truck accident,” most people will assume that you mean OTR freight carriers. These “big rig” or “semis” are frequently encountered on Interstate Highways or in the vicinity of manufacturing plants and include both “tanker trucks” that may carry up to 8,000 gallons of substances ranging from gasoline to orange juice and refrigerated “refer” trucks that transport food from processing plants to distribution centers. These trucks have the highest ratios of injury accidents per miles driven in the trucking industry.

Container Freight

Container freight is freight that is loaded into shipping containers that are the same length as a regular freight trailer. These containers are usually loaded at some distance from their destination, often at an overseas location, and then shipped to an American port. At the port, the containers are often loaded onto railroad cars and shipped to central trucking company facilities where they are loaded onto a trailer undercarriage and then delivered.

Since container freight is often loaded a great distance from its final delivery point, and beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. safety officials, load shifting as a cause of motor vehicle accidents is more common in this type of freight delivery. Otherwise, the accident causes are roughly the same as for OTR trucking accidents.

Your legal rights following a commercial truck accident

If you, or a family member, were injured in a commercial trucking accident you may have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the truck’s owner to recover the costs of treating your injuries as well as to be compensated for other factors related to your accident. The right to sue, as well as the types of damages that you may expect to recover, are explained in detail on other pages of this website. We encourage you to visit these pages, which can be found in the links presented in the sidebar of this page.

Contacting a truck accident lawyer

If you have experienced an injury or some other loss in a commercial trucking accident, you will probably be contacted by an adjuster from the truck owner’s insurance company within a few days of the accident. In many cases the adjuster will ask what seem to be innocent questions regarding who was injured and the extent of any injuries. The adjuster will usually offer you a “quick settlement,” but only if you agree to settle quickly.

If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster following a trucking accident, DO NOT make any statement or volunteer any accident-related information until you have spoken with a truck accident lawyer. One such experienced personal injury accident lawyer is the truck accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm, a nationwide commercial truck accident and personal injury law practice.

When you contact our truck accident lawyer, your initial consultation with our firm is always free of any cost to you and does not obligate you to hire us as your representative in a future truck accident lawsuit. If you decide that our firm should act as your legal counsel in your trucking accident lawsuit, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you. In other words, “If we don’t win your case, you don’t pay!”

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Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

  1. After an accident, the responsible party's insurance company may try to reduce the claim amount. Commonly, insurance adjusters are trained to get information from the injured to assist in reducing the claim. Though some insurers are less guilty of this practice than others, it is important to realize that insurance companies are profit-oriented corporations and reducing claims results in increased profits for shareholders. This can create a situation for the injured in which they are offered a settlement that does not truly reflect the damages suffered. If you accept this settlement, you lose the ability to get more money should your injuries require further medical treatments. It is critical that victims get legal assistance in any personal injury case, and The Doan Law Firm is prepared to fight relentlessly for your rights.
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