If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with a large commercial truck, you probably have a lot of questions. Garcia & Artigliere can offer helpful insight that can aid you in gaining a better understanding of your rights, what to do if you’ve been injured, what causes trucking accidents, and so much more. We have included basic information below, and if you would like to receive a free consultation regarding your particular case, please do not hesitate to contact our truck accident attorneys any time at (800) 328-2630. We are here for you.
What should I do if I have been involved in a trucking accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident, it is important to know your legal rights. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that you are able to get the most compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries, pain, and suffering. Obtain a copy of the police report, contact your insurance company right away, and gather any other documentations or photos that may help your case. Then it is best if you seek the professional advice of an attorney who has substantial experience in truck accidents.
What laws apply to trucking accidents?
Trucking accidents can prove challenging due to the many different entities that may take a portion of the responsibility that causes the collision to occur, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the loading company, the manufacturer, or even government entities. Where the accident occurred and in which state the plaintiff files will determine the applicable state and federal laws. Due to the complex nature of a commercial, semi-truck, or trucking accident it is important to gather all the information you can about the incident.
How do I recover medical expenses for a trucking accident?
If you incur medical bills as a result of treatment for truck accident injuries, you can seek compensation for past and future medical bills. It is important to seek medical help right away and to keep all a record of all your medical receipts.
How do I file a truck accident claim?
After a serious truck accident, you can file a claim to try and receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. Truck accidents are more complex than typical motor vehicle accidents. It can be overwhelming to try and go through the process of filing a claim, and you may miss important details. It is best to seek a trucking accident attorney who can help you through this difficult process.
What type of compensation can I expect to receive?
Compensation for an individual involved in a truck accident can vary, as each situation is unique. In most instances, a person who is seriously injured can submit a claim to be compensated for the accident-related injuries and any ongoing treatment they may require. A victim can also submit a claim for damage to their vehicle and other accident-related damages to their personal belongings. Due to the complexities of such a claim, it is best if you contact a truck accident lawyer. They can help you determine how to get the most compensation for you pain and suffering.
What are the dangers associated with large trucks on the roadways?
There are various dangers associated with large trucks, including:
- No-Zones: Large trucks have no-zones, or blind spots, that are located around the front, back, and sides of the truck. When a car is in the no-zone, the truck driver is usually unable to see it. At these times, a large truck could turn into a passing car and a serious accident could result.
- Squeeze Play: Tractor-trailers need to swing wide to the left in order to negotiate a right turn. When truck drivers make wide right turns, they are often unable to see smaller vehicles directly behind or beside them. When a car cuts between the truck and a curb, the car can be caught in a squeeze, and a serious accident can occur.
- Stopping Distance: Big rig trucks need a greater stopping distance than other vehicles. If there is not enough stopping distance between a car and a large truck, the car risks being involved in a rear-end collision.
- “Off-track”: These occur when a truck turns at high speed and swings into an adjacent lane unexpectedly. Unlike passenger vehicles, transport trucks require up to 40% more space to stop. Following too closely results in inadequate stopping distance between large trucks, which then rear-end vehicles in front. It is not difficult to imagine the devastating results that occur when a car, van, or SUV is hit from behind with over 10,000 lbs. of moving metal.
What are some of the causes of tractor-trailer collisions on America’s highways and secondary roads?
There are many different reasons for accidents involving large trucks, including negligence on the part of the truck driver or the other vehicles involved.
Other causes include:
- Aggressive drivers
- Unrealistic schedules
- Failure to inspect tires, brakes, and lights
- Long work-shifts
- Driver fatigue
- Cell phone use
- Failure to install blind spot mirrors
- Speeding and ignoring reduced truck speed limit
Why are traffic accidents involving commercial trucks more likely to cause injury than those involving passenger cars?
Trucking accidents are different from auto accidents in many ways, one of the most serious being the extent of damages and injuries when a truck and an automobile collide. A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more, while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
Are there any state or federal regulations governing truck drivers?
There are both state and federal regulations that trucking companies are required to follow, such as:
- Trucking companies are required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations concerning equipment and hours of service.
- Truck drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log.
- Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature of the materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.
- The Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program requires that individual states and other political jurisdictions unify to develop and implement programs that will ultimately improve motor carrier, commercial motor vehicle (CMV), and driver safety and establish a safer and more efficient transportation system.
- Commercial driver’s license standards are federal regulations in place to reduce or prevent truck accidents and resulting injuries and/or deaths by requiring drivers of certain vehicles to obtain a single commercial motor vehicle driver’s license.
- State and/or federal law, depending on whether the truck was involved in intrastate or interstate transport, may govern truck accidents.
What are the regulations regarding prohibited conduct for truck drivers?
A driver will not be allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle if he/she engages in prohibited conduct. Such conduct includes:
- Reporting for duty with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or greater;
- Possessing alcohol unless it is part of a shipment, including medications like cough syrup or cold medicine that contain alcohol;
- Consuming alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions;
- Consuming alcohol within 8 hours preceding an accident;
- Reporting for duty while using any drug that affects the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle; or
- Refusing to submit to any Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated alcohol or drug test.
What role does alcohol and drug use play in tractor trailer wrecks?
Over a period of one year, a study of truck driver fatalities was conducted by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and The National Institute on Drug Abuse in eight states. Comprehensive drug screenings were performed on blood specimens taken from 168 fatally injured drivers. One or more drugs was detected in 67% of these fatally injured drivers and 33% of these drivers had detectable blood concentrations of psychoactive drugs or alcohol.
Are there trucking regulations governing the number of hours a truck driver can operate in a 24 hour period?
Driver fatigue and drowsiness are conditions that result in reckless behavior such as failure to keep in the proper lane and running off the road. Tired truckers are of such concern that in April of 2003, the FMCSA instituted new hours of service regulations to curb truckers’ problems with fatigue. While these laws have helped reduce the number of accidents, the NTSB still blames driver fatigue as a probable factor in 20-40% of truck crashes.
How can I handle trucking companies or their insurance carriers after a truck accident?
You should immediately consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer. Truck companies will have their own investigators and attorneys working hard to dismiss liability. One of the worst decisions individuals can make is to negotiate directly with trucking companies, insurance adjusters, or the trucking company lawyers. Most trucking companies are highly skilled at accident investigations and claims. Anything you say or sign may be held against you further down the road.
Why should a lawyer be hired as soon as possible?
The major trucking companies will immediately have lawyers hired and working for them. The scene must be secure. Photographers and statements must be taken as soon after the accident as possible. Many important pieces of evidence helpful to you can be lost, misplaced or be purposely destroyed.
Who can be sued in an accident involving a commercial truck?
The person and/or company responsible for causing the accident can be sued. This may include the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the shipper, or any other driver, person, or entity who in any way contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, the manufacturer of a tire that contributed to the accident, or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident.
What kind of a lawyer should I hire?
You should choose a lawyer who has handled many trucking injury cases. These cases require a specialist in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules and Regulations. They also require lawyers familiar with fleet maintenance procedures. Garcia & Artigliere has experienced lawyers to handle the investigation and litigation of your claim. We have successfully represented truck accident/injury suits throughout the U.S.
Is the investigation of a truck accident important?
It is critical. A thorough investigation must be performed to establish the fault of another. An investigation will include the examination of the scene and vehicles involved, and obtaining of statements from witnesses. Be sure that you do not move your vehicle after the accident. It will be a major part of the investigation.
Will expert witnesses be used to prove fault in a truck accident case?
Often, unless there is no question that one party was completely at fault, a plaintiff in any serious injury or death case involving a truck should retain an expert with expertise in the design, manufacturing, and operation of trucks and the rules of the trucking industry.
Where will the case be filed?
This will be determined by where the accident occurred and the residence addresses of all the parties.
For answers and information that apply to your unique case, call Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 for a free, confidential consultation. Se habla español.