1. Are trucking accident lawsuits really that different from other auto accident lawsuits?
Yes, they are far more complex. The trucking industry is highly regulated. There are numerous state and federal laws which can apply in your case. This means that gathering evidence is a complicated process, but it also means that there should be documentation to make the facts of the case more clear. You may be up against multiple responsible parties, including large corporations, their insurance companies, and government entities.
2. What are the most common causes of trucking accidents?
The size and momentum of large commercial vehicles mean that even the slightest error or malfunction can cause them to go out of control, and once out of control they are difficult or impossible to bring back under control. Among the many reasons that trucking accidents occur, some of the most common causes include:
- Driver fatigue – a contributing factors in up to 40% of trucking accidents.
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks
- Equipment failure – including defective tires, brake system failure, etc., can be the result of a defective part or inadequate maintenance.
3. Who can be held responsible for trucking accidents?
Trucking accident lawsuits can involve multiple responsible parties including:
- Trucking companies
- Truck manufacturers
- Truck drivers
- Government entities
4. Do you have to have a special license to drive a big truck?
Yes, it’s called a commercial drivers license (CDL). Truck drivers must go through special training and take difficult tests in order to obtain a CDL. They are required to have even more training for certain classes of CDL which allow them to drive more dangerous trucks, such as triple trailers, or haul hazardous materials. Accidents, traffic violations, and violations of trucking laws can cost a driver his or her CDL.
5. Are limitations of how much time a truck driver spends on the road?
Yes, very strict and specific rules called hours of service (HOS) regulations dictate how long a driver may spend on the road each day and each week. Drivers may be on the road for no more than 10 consecutive hours and no more than 11 hours in one day, and then they must take off for at least 10 hours before driving again. They may not drive more than 60 hours during one week, or more than 70 hours during an eight day period. They must take off for at least 34 consecutive hours each week.
6. Are DUI laws the same for truck drivers as other drivers?
No, they are much stricter for drivers of commercial vehicles. Truck drivers must have a BAC below .04, that’s half as much as drivers of passenger vehicles are allowed to have in their systems. Additionally, they are prohibited from consuming any alcohol for at least four hours before going on duty, and of course, while on duty. “On duty” doesn’t just mean driving, it includes loading and inspecting their trucks.
7. What is an underride accident?
Underride accidents are some of the most gruesome and deadly accidents on the road. They happen when a car slides underneath a truck, cutting into or chopping off the passenger compartment. Underride accidents commonly result in amputations decapitations and death.