If you have been injured or if a loved one has died as the result of a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other “big rig” accident, it is important to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer. It is also important to understand that truck accident cases are very different from car and non-commercial vehicle accidents in several key aspects:
- Because of their size, semi-truck accidents tend to be much more devastating. Drivers (and their passengers) hit by semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are much more likely to lose their lives than those involved in accidents involving cars or non-commercial vehicles. The weight alone of semis means that they will exert a much greater force at impact than a passenger vehicle, and that the passenger car will absorb most of the impact. The higher profile of semis also means that the bumpers on passenger cars may not properly protect the occupants.
- Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with numerous federal regulations that do not apply to non-commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted numerous regulations that pertain to truck drivers and trucking companies. Important regulations concern:
- The number of hours that truckers are limited to driving over certain time periods, and the related “rest requirements” meant to minimize truck driver fatigue
- Requirements that truck drivers meticulously record various aspects of their driving in a log book (or electronic logbook), including when they started driving each day, their location, and the number of miles driven,
- Inspection requirements that require truck drivers to carefully inspect their load prior to driving and after a certain number of miles have been driven.
- Prohibitions on consuming alcohol in the hours before driving, and also from taking “pep” pills.
- Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required by federal law to carry higher insurance coverage limits. One tragic aspect of car crashes, especially in the case of severe injury or death, is that many drivers choose to carry only the bare minimum amout of liability insurance. In some states, this may be as low as $20,000. Such amount is woefully inadequate to compensate injured drivers or passengers who have sustained even moderate injuries, let alone to adequately compensate the families who have lost a loved one. Usually, in the case of drivers who carry very little insurance, such drivers also have no meaningful assets from which to obtain an adequate recovery.
Fortunately, federal law requires that commercial truck drivers carry liability insurance of at least $750,000. Large trucking companies often carry substantially more insurance, and more insurance is also required when certain types of cargo are being transported.
While no amount of money will bring back a loved one or remove the pain and suffering resulting from a serious injury, the availability of significant insurance can provide a level of compensation not available in cases of uninsured or underinsured drivers.
- Event Recorders. Today, most semi-trucks (and even newer passenger vehicles) contain event recorders. Event recorders are commonly referred to as “black boxes.” Such recorders record various aspects of driving, such as speed, and when the brakes may have been applied in an accident. Event recorders are critical in many truck accident cases for proving liability provided that they are saved before a truck involved in an accident is destroyed. As a truck accident attorney, I will want to preserve the event recorder evidence for trial.
If You or a Loved One have been Injured in a Semi Truck, 18-Wheeler, Tractor Trailer, or Other “Big Rig” Crash, Please Call For a Free Consultation
I would look forward to having the opportunity to discuss how I and my firm can help you in seeking full compensation for all those responsible for your injuries and damages. There is no fee for my services unless compensation is obtained.
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