Are truck accident lawsuits different than other motor vehicle accident claims?
Yes. Truck accidents are much more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents for several reasons:
- There are numerous state and federal regulations governing the trucking industry. The success of your claim will be greatly impacted by how well your lawyer understands these different regulations and how they apply to your case.
- There are often multiple parties who can be held accountable in truck accident lawsuits, and your lawyer must be able to accurately evaluate which parties are responsible based on the specifics of your claim.
- Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by law to keep extensive records. Your attorney must know how to interpret these complex records.
Are there limitations to how long a truck driver can spend on the road during a shift?
Yes. There are Hours of Service (HOS) laws which establish restrictions on how much time a truck driver can spend on the road. These laws limit truck drivers to a maximum of 10 consecutive hours and 11 total hours on the road in one day. Truck drivers must take at least 10 hours off between shifts, and they cannot exceed a maximum of 60 hours on the road in one week. Also, truck drivers are required to take at least 34 consecutive hours off each week.
What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
While there are many potential causes of truck accidents, the most common include:
- Driver fatigue – This is the most common cause, contributing to approximately 40% of all truck accidents.
- Intoxication – Drug and alcohol use is responsible for a significant number of truck accidents. Many truck drivers use stimulants to counteract the effects of driver fatigue and sadly, alcohol use is alarmingly common among truckers.
- Adverse weather conditions – Poor visibility and slick roads due to snow, rain, and fog pose serious hazards for trucks due to their excessive size, poor maneuverability, and slow braking time.
- Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks – Trucks carrying too much weight or loads that are not properly distributed throughout the truck face an increased risk of losing control.
- Equipment failure – Brake, tire, or steering system failures can have disastrous consequences for large trucks due to their size and poor maneuverability.
- Improper training – Lack of proper training can result in truck drivers making poor decisions, increasing the chance of a truck accident.
Who can be held responsible for my truck accident injuries?
There are a variety of parties who can be held liable for your truck accident injuries. The specifics of your case will dictate who you should seek compensation from. Responsible parties may include:
- Truck drivers
- Trucking companies
- Truck manufacturers
Are there any special requirements in order to qualify to operate a commercial truck?
Yes. All truck drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To obtain a CDL, drivers must complete specialized training and pass rigorous tests. There are different classes of CDLs which determine the size and types of trucks a driver is permitted to operate. Truck drivers carrying certain types of cargo, such as hazardous materials, must undergo additional training before operating these vehicles.