Truck accidents pose very different types of issues than passenger car wrecks. There are many nuances and details that must be addressed in truck accidents that require specific knowledge and skill by the truck accident attorneys handling them. They are not your routine low-speed, rear-end collisions.
Why Truck Accidents Are Different than Typical Car Accidents
Because trucks are so great in size, the impact of even a minor accident can result in serious or fatal consequences. Because of the severe damages, truck accident claims are typically much larger amounts than average car accident claims.
The liability of a truck accident differs from a normal car accident because if the accident is caused by the truck, the truck driver is not necessarily to blame. In some cases, it’s the truck company or truck manufacturer at fault; there could also be more than one party liable for the accident. Investigating and determining liability in a truck case makes the claim process more intricate, costly, and time-consuming compared to a normal automobile accident.
When a truck accident occurs, the other driver must be diligent about documenting the accident. Trucking companies often dispatch lawyers to the accident scene immediately to take pictures and interview witnesses in order to gain an advantage in the truck accident claim.
Different Regulations Apply to Truck Accidents: The FMCSA
To protect all drivers on the road, including the truck drivers, trucks have to follow a certain set of regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is a United States agency responsible for regulating the United States trucking industry in an effort to reduce accidents involving trucks or commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
CMVs tend to be much larger and carry heavier loads than the average automobile, so they require a different set of regulations to follow. The FMCSA uses extensive research based on collected data on trucks and truck accidents to create the necessary regulations to keep all drivers safe. The regulations apply to all aspects of a truck, including but not limited to trailers, tractors, tires, driver hours allowed, lighting, brakes, jake brakes, and weight ratios. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is an FMCSA program that is described as a “data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program designed to improve safety and prevent commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes, injuries, and fatalities.”
FMCSA Regulations Important to Your Truck Accident Claim
Drugs and Alcohol
To ensure truck drivers are not driving impaired, they must comply with drug and alcohol testing.
- Drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers occurs during the pre-employment phase, randomly throughout employment, and immediately after an accident has occurred.
- Drug and alcohol testing is required by all truck drivers, including full-time, part-time, intermittent, and backup drivers.
- Should a driver refuse to take a drug or alcohol test, the driver will automatically fail the test.
Hours of Service
To prevent driver fatigue, truck drivers must follow regulations that restrict the hours they are permitted to drive.
- Maximum of a 60 hour 7-day work week
- Maximum of a 70 hour 8-day work week
- A 34-hour break, known as a "restart", required in between work weeks
- At least a 30-minute rest break required after 8 hours of driving
Commercial Truck Maintenance
To reduce the chances of truck accidents, all commercial trucks that drive on public roads must be regularly inspected and maintained.
- All truck parts and accessories must be kept in good operational condition.
- Drivers must keep documentation of all inspections, repairs, and maintenance operations in their vehicle.
Trucking Companies Employ Aggressive Insurance Companies to Fight Against You
The FMCSA mandates that all trucks involved in interstate commerce must possess some insurance. The government also requires that trucks have an MCS-90 (Motor Carrier Safety-90) endorsement, which ensures that if an accident is caused by a truck driver, the truck’s insurance company will attempt to cover the damages of the victim of the accident.
Our Truck Accident Lawyer Will Take on The Insurance Companies for You
If you or a loved one was involved in a serious wreck with a commercial truck, it's vital that an experienced truck accident attorney starts collecting evidence as soon as possible. At Gray & White, we aggressively defend your rights against the insurance companies who will throw everything they have at you to deny your claim. Contact us for a free consultation. We are based in Kentucky but handle cases in all 50 state