There are many different vehicles that may be categorized as “trucks.” If you were injured in a collision with one of these vehicles, you may not be sure whether it counts as a “big truck” accident. Your confusion is understandable, because “big” is a fairly vague and relative term.
It may be helpful to look at the way that those in the industry classify trucks.
“Big” can mean many things in different contexts, but trucks are usually classified according to how much they weigh. Heavy trucks, the largest that are allowed on the roadways under normal circumstances, range in weight from 26,001 pounds to 33,000 pounds or more. Medium trucks, which include such vehicles as motorhomes and firetrucks, typically weigh between 14,001 pounds and 26,000 pounds. Light trucks weigh up to 14,000 pounds and include pickups, minivans, and SUVs.
The job that the truck is intended for can also influence its size. There are some jobs that only heavy trucks are equipped to perform. Examples include the following:
- Cement mixer
- Dump truck
- Garbage truck
- Log carrier
- Mobile crane
- Tank truck
However, the function does not always relate to the size of the truck in the way that you might expect. For example, you might assume that a tow truck is a heavy truck. Sometimes this is the case, but there are also medium and light trucks that function as tow trucks.
What you think of when you think of a “big truck” may actually consist of two different units. The first part is the tractor, which is where the driver sits and which contains the engine. The second part is the trailer, which is the unit that stores the cargo so that it can be hauled from one place to another. Trailers are interchangeable, and a tractor may haul more than one trailer at a time.
However, a tractor trailer is only one type of big or heavy truck. There are other heavy trucks that consist of a single unit. A dump truck is a good example; the rear portion can change its position in order to jettison its contents, but it cannot be detached entirely and replaced with another, so it consists of a single unit.
Because there are so many different ways to classify trucks, it is easy to get confused as to whether your collision counts as a “big truck accident.” Fortunately, lawyers are equipped to help you understand legal definitions and explain your case to you. To arrange a consultation, contact a personal injury lawyer in St. Paul, MN today.
Thanks to Johnston Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and truck classifications.