If you or a loved one is involved in a crash with a commercial truck, chances are the injuries suffered will be life threatening or fatal. This is due to the massive size and considerable power of these vehicles. Considering how much damage can be suffered in these crashes, it is crucial to investigate them thoroughly and identify any evidence of negligence or recklessness to establish liability.
This can be very difficult to do if you do not understand the federal and state regulations with which truckers and trucking companies must comply. In fact, there are many violations that you may not know are violations in the first place.
For instance, a trucker can be in violation of trucking laws if he or she is:
- Driving without proper medical clearance
- Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher
- Using a handheld phone
- Drowsy and driving in violation of federal Hours of Service regulations
A trucking company can be in violation of trucking laws if it:
- Hires unlicensed, untrained or medically unfit drivers
- Fails to properly inspect and maintain vehicles
- Does not adequately supervise drivers
- Does not enforce proper cargo loading procedures
These are all violations of law, but traditional motorists typically are not aware of them because they don't apply in the same way to non-commercial drivers and vehicles.
Under these circumstances, an argument could be made that the trucking and/or trucking company were negligent or reckless. In the event of a crash, these parties could be held accountable for the extensive damages suffered.
However, because most people are not familiar with these and the numerous other regulations in place, it can be very difficult to assess what is fair and appropriate in terms of liability and financial settlements. With that in mind, it can be wise to have the guidance of an attorney experienced in investigating and pursuing personal injury claims involving commercial vehicles.