A commercial truck accident is usually much more catastrophic than a car accident due to the large weight disparity. Most big truck accidents result in serious and fatal injuries.
In addition, truck accidents can be made worse by the freight the truck is carrying, especially if hazardous or flammable materials are being hauled. Due to the hazardous material, secondary injuries from dangerous cargo may result.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in a truck accident is the black box data. The black box, also known as electronic control module or electronic data recorder, tracks important information such as hours on the road, speed, seat belt use, tire pressure, sudden braking, and other factors. If the black box data shows a truck driver was acting recklessly or violating the law, this information could be used as evidence to support an injury claim.
In addition, truck drivers are required to keep logbooks to document the hours of services as well as inspection logs.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) monitors trucking accidents. The trucking industry is regulated by federal and state authorities. When trucking companies operate across state lines, they are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Trucking regulations cover a broad range of safety issues including;
- Hours of service rules limiting the driver’s time behind the wheel and on-duty time while imposing mandatory rest periods.
- Truck inspections and maintenance, which requires drivers to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
- Drug and alcohol testing. The FMCSA regulates and imposes strict rules with reference to drug and alcohol testing.
- Driver fitness.
- Truck size and weight. Large trucks must comply with the maximum weight and length requirements depending on the configuration of the truck. Excess weight can endanger motorists and impair maneuverability.
- Properly securing cargo. FMCSA regulates standards for securing cargo. If the cargo is not secured correctly, the materials may fall on the roadway and cause motor vehicle collisions.
In order to collect damages from injuries suffered in a truck accident, liability may not be limited to the truck driver. Other entities may also be responsible including trucking companies, contractors and employers.
If an employment relationship can be established between the truck driver and the trucking company or shipping company, then the company may be held liable for the driver’s negligence.
In some circumstances the manufacturer or shipper of the hazardous materials carried by the truck may be held liable when it relates to the manufacturer or shipper’s duty to inform the trucker or the trucking company of the material’s potential danger.
Also, if a person is involved in a truck accident, and the truck driver was intoxicated, the injured individual may be entitled to punitive damages above pain and suffering compensation.
If you are involved in a truck accident, make sure to follow these very important steps:
- Call the police
- Take pictures of the scene
- Get witness information
- Get medical attention
Call an attorney as soon as possible to secure the evidence
Truck driving accidents may be more complex than regular auto accidents, which is why it’s extremely important to contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling truck accidents. At Cecere Santana, PA we have more than 25 years of experience handling truck accident claims. Contact us for a free consultation at (800) 753-5529