Commercial trucks or “big-rigs” are significantly larger than your average automobile, so when accidents occur the results and injuries are often catastrophic. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial trucking accident there are numerous things you need to know about the laws regulating trucking accidents. There are also specific things you can know and be prepared for, if an accident of this nature is to occur.
Accidents related to a semi-truck, big-rig, or other commercial truck where the driver was not following the regulations that apply to them and their work, then the driver and their company could be held responsible for the injuries that occurred. Trucks have regulations and rules that they must follow at all times. Drivers of commercial trucks must follow the federal and state statutes on licensing.
Truck drivers often drive long periods of time without the proper amount of breaks or rest time. The amount of time a driver spends behind the wheel is supposed to be regulated and the driver is not to be permitted to drive without resting for certain periods of time. If a driver has failed to rest and causes a wreck due to lack of sleep or fatigue, then they may be held responsible for the accident.
These large trucks have weight restrictions to the amount they can haul. For example, single axle trucks generally can carry up to 20,000 pounds, and double axle trucks can carry up to 34,000 pounds. When trucks are overloaded they can become very dangerous. Carrying over the limit loads can shift weight distribution within the truck’s trailer and in turn a disaster occurs. Determining what was inside the truck at its last weigh in can be an important part of the investigation to your accident.
Commercial trucks go through a regulation process in both the manufacturing and in their repairs to provide for good quality control. There are federal laws that are specific on air brake systems within the truck just as there are other laws specific to other parts of the truck. If a defect or a particular component of the truck caused the accident then you may have a legitimate claim against the supplier, repairer, or manufacturer of the truck. This can fall under product liability.
It is necessary to prove that the trucking company or driver are liable for your injuries after your accident in order to receive compensation. The trucking company can be held accountable for your damages due to “vicarious liability”. This just means that employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees during their course of business. The most common way to prove liability is to show evidence that the driver or their company broke the law, which will automatically show negligence. For example, if the driver was incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol. This can also be proven by a company continuing to employ someone with a horrible driving record or work record. For example, may be the company did not do a proper background check before hiring an employee with multiple driving infractions. To determine other types of negligence and liability it will be very important to talk to an experienced trucking attorney. Our attorneys at Vance Law Firm will investigate the specifics of your accident to ensure that just compensation is met on your behalf.
To determine proper compensation one needs to consider all the expenses and damages that are involved due to the trucking accident. These can be medical bills and rehabilitation costs. If your injuries prevent you from working due to all your medical appointments, then this is referred to as lost wages. You can also be compensated for your lost earning capacity. Trucking accidents are often extreme and long term, which can limit one’s ability to continue to work as they did before the accident occurred. You can be compensated for the failure to earn more money due to your impairments from your injuries. If a death occurred due to the trucking accident, then loss of companionship can be compensated for.
If you or a loved one is in a trucking accident it is important to be prepared. There are a few key things to remember immediately following an accident. First, never leave the scene of a truck accident. In the state of Alabama, if someone has been injured in an accident and you do not stop then you may face criminal charges. Always report the accident. Be sure to call emergency services and notify the police. Obtaining the police report is important, even if the other driver admits fault at the scene, always get a copy of the report. Assess if everyone is okay, or if anyone needs medical attention call and get them help immediately. If your damaged vehicle is not causing imminent danger to others, do not move it. Experts and insurance adjusters will have a better picture of the accident if nothing is tampered with or moved. When speaking to the police be cooperative but do not divulge unnecessary details. If insurance adjusters show up do not speak to any of them unless they are your own. Never give an immediate statement or sign anything without obtaining an attorney. Remember to notify your insurance company and give them the other driver’s insurance company, address, and license number. Take photos of the accident, and include plate numbers, skid marks, damages, and injuries. Follow up with a doctor visit, even if you feel fine. Some injuries take days before their symptoms appear. Do not try to handle a trucking accident case on your own. These cases can be riddled with federal regulations and state laws determining trucking guidelines. It is best to obtain a professional lawyer with experience in trucking accident cases.
Commercial truck accident law can be complicated and overwhelming. Truck accidents can involve large companies and their insurers. It is important to obtain proper legal counsel with a law group that has the experience and the resources to fight these types of larger corporations. At Vance Law Firm, our competent and compassionate Alabama trucking accident attorneys are here for your best interests. Our attorneys will go over the specifics of your trucking accident, and help guide you through the legal process to ensure that you receive the best compensation possible for your case. Please call our office today for a consultation.