18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide
We have handled millions of dollars of commercial trucking accident claims over the years. Unfortunately, these cases are some of the most complex, tragic, and bitterly fought court cases, in part because usually the damages truckers inflict on victims are death or a life time of horrible pain, suffering and disfigurement. The size and weight of semi trailers, logging trucks, and even smaller commercial delivery vehicles, make the accident significantly more dangerous for car and motorcycle drivers. There are many different type of injury claims that are associated with trucking accidents and crashes.
Semi truck tractor trailer injuries
Big rig and dump truck crash injuries
Delivery van accident injury claim
Drunk truck driver accident
Wrongful death and catastrophic injuries
Log book violations
Loose freight injuries
Improper stop safety procedures
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Violations
Truck Accidents Causing Catastrophic Injuries
Almost half of all spinal cord and brain injuries result from traffic accidents, and some of the most common types of truck accidents are likely to cause these injuries. These accidents most commonly include under ride/override accidents, rollover accidents, and jackknifing. These crashes often damage a victim’s head or upper back, resulting in the most severe spinal cord and brain injuries. Treating these injuries is expensive, often costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, and victims sometimes require lifelong care.
Trucker’s Safety Rules Of The Road
Tractor-trailers are 11 million strong on our U.S. Highways and log over 288 billion miles each year. Driving alongside these big rigs safely is something all motorists should know how to do.
When 18-wheelers cause collisions, the damages are often serious and deadly with the majority of these claims involving truck drivers smashing someone or something in the rear. Sleepiness and inattentiveness are two of the biggest reasons why wrecks happen. What are the safety rules for truckers and their employers? Here are some important rules of the road that they must obey.
CDL Driving Regulations
To drive professionally, commercial semi truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license. This is called a “CDL.” To obtain a CDL, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a driver to pass a series of tests. The laws vary from state to state, but all must abide by federal DOT laws and regulations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has rules known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The rules include how much insurance the company must purchase, how much rest a driver must have, and indicate no texting, for instance.
Furthermore, the regulations require that the drivers are proficient and be tested in a number of actions including:
- Maneuvering, parking, backing up, etc.
- Maintenance of engines, lights, tires, etc.
- Pre-trip inspection routine mastery
- Hazardous materials containment regulations and procedure
Also, a driver must pass a drug test and a physical exam.
Log Books Regulations
Semi truck drivers must keep a logbook and record as follows when they are on the roads:
- The number of hours they drive each day and the amount of time they rest. For instance, a driver can drive a maximum of 11 continuous hours and then must rest for 10 hours. Driving 60 hours or more in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period is illegal. They must take off 34 consecutive hours after this in order to restart the countdown on a new 7 or 8 day driving period.
- The date they picked up their cargo “load”
- The weight of the truck rig before and after cargo is onboard
- The destination
- The time off, the time sleeping in the berth
- The date of delivery
- Total miles driven
- Which carrier they have
Often times after a trucking accident these log books are altered or fabricated in an attempt to cover up violations an avoid responsibility for an accident.
Proving a Trucking Accident Case
In order to win a semi-truck collision case we must prove negligence or carelessness. Sometimes semi truck drivers knowingly, willfully, and recklessly violate the law. These flagrant violations can even be criminal. If we prove willfulness, recklessness, or criminality, sometimes we can obtain punitive (punishment) damages in addition to actual damages. Actual damages include pain and suffering, lost income and wages, and medical bills, for instance.
It is our experience that when we represent the victim in a semi-truck collision case, we must file suit against the driver and his or her employer very early on. Once we file a lawsuit, we then subpoena all the information noted above, and much more. We also gain access to the truck driver’s actual logbook and any on board video camera footage. In this evidence, we may find evidence of falsification, embellishment of entries, or other evidence of a driver trying to hide his/her tracks.
We also take depositions (recorded statements with a court reporter) from the driver, his/her boss, and coworkers, among many others. This is all invaluable information to prosecuting the case.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a semi-truck accident, STAY STRONG! Call Armstrong Law.