Truck accidents vary greatly from car accidents for reasons other than the size of the vehicles. For one thing, trucking companies that hire truck drivers for shipping also bear liability when one of their drivers has caused an accident.
Even though many truck drivers own their own trucks, pay for repairs, gasoline and licensing as independent contractors, shipping companies are liable in truck accidents. This wasn’t always the case, but today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are specific about this fact.
Unlike most drivers, truck drivers are subject to numerous driving regulations under federal and state laws. For example, "hours of service" rules apply that limit the maximum amount of time drivers can be on duty driving. Such rules exist to ensure drivers stay alert and well rested. A consecutive 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving is mandatory.
Truck drivers must undergo regular drug and alcohol testing programs. In addition, trucking company employers must implement and conduct the testing programs.
Trucking companies and drivers must adhere to inspection, repair and maintenance guidelines set by the FMCSA. They must keep inspection documentation that meets periodic inspection requirements of the vehicle and equipment. Equipment failure can cause accidents. Furthermore, if vehicle inspections were neglected, the driver and company may be held liable for an accident due to equipment failure.
Truck drivers must keep log books which provide details about inspection, the cargo being hauled and travel times.
You can protect your rights by hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer. Attorneys familiar with handling these types of cases are aware of federal laws and the differences in truck accident claims. Conducting a thorough accident investigation may require reviewing onboard truck systems, GPS data, weigh station documentation, dispatch instructions and bills of lading. This type of evidence is often pivotal in winning a truck accident case.
Our attorneys at Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer a free consultation to review the accident and discuss recovering compensation for damages.