While tractor-trailer collisions might be viewed as a motor vehicle accident involving at least one extremely large vehicle, trucking accident claims present special challenges. Although any motor vehicle accident victim can significantly improve the prospect of maximizing a claim by retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer, the complexity of trucking accident claims makes legal representation essential. Trucking companies assume that their drivers will be involved in collisions, and they are prepared to dispatch investigators to the scene of a crash almost immediately. Because trucking companies start building their defense to liability right away, you should speak with a trucking accident lawyer to make sure you have experts working for you.
Because lawmakers foresaw the potential danger of a vehicle weighing up to 80,000 pounds traveling in traffic at interstate speeds, an extensive matrix of laws and regulations have been designed to mitigate this threat to public safety. Trucking accident lawyers rely on their knowledge of this extensive regulatory framework because violations by the driver and/or trucking company often constitute important evidence in trucking cases. Some of these regulations include the following:
Hours of Service (HOS): These anti-fatigue rules that impose limits on the hours that commercial drivers spend in service and behind the wheel. Since truck drivers often increase their pay by doing more runs, they have a strong incentive to violation HOS rules. Further, trucking companies often look the other way or even offer compensation plans designed to encourage such violations.
Hiring and Training: Commercial carriers must conduct background checks during the hiring process. The company must review the driver’s past record along with conducting mandatory drug testing. Once the trucking company hires a driver, the commercial carrier has the legal responsibility to ensure the proper training of its drivers.
Maintenance/Recordkeeping: Both truck drivers and trucking companies are required to perform necessary inspections and maintenance on their semi-trucks, such as the tires and brake system. Trucking regulations also impose recordkeeping responsibilities.
Drug/Alcohol Testing: Commercial drivers must submit to random testing for intoxicating substances.
Minimum Insurance Coverage: Trucking companies must carry higher insurance policy limits than the average non-commercial driver because truck accidents tend to result in severe injuries.
Securing/Loading Cargo: If a tractor-trailer will be transporting hazardous materials, special procedures must be followed. Even if a truck transports non-hazardous cargo, regulations require that loads be balanced and secured properly. Objects falling into the roadway can constitute a serious risk to other motorists. Further, improperly secured loads can shift causing the semi to become unbalanced and rollover.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, our trucking accident attorneys can explain your legal rights and remedies. We have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to go toe-to-toe with large commercial carriers and their insurance companies.
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Were you or a loved one harmed by a negligent truck driver? Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by dangerous truck drivers. For your free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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