Salem, VA Truck Accidents
Seeking Full Compensation for Big Rig Crash Victims and their Families
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), 4,657 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents in 2017 (the latest year for which crash statistics are available), and 56,422 large trucks were involved in injury crashes. The number of truck crash fatalities increased by nearly 2,000 people between the years 2015 and 2017.
The continued yearly injury and death toll from truck crashes and bus accidents is staggering. Our role in representing Salem, VA truck accidents victims not only is to seek full compensation for our clients, but also to deter other drivers from the dangerous practices that often lead to these crashes.
What You Should Know if You Were Injured, of if a Loved One Died, as the Result of a Large Truck or Bus Crash
Semi-trucks (often called “big rigs” or “18 wheelers”) and bus accidents and crashes are different than passenger truck, car, or other vehicle crashes in the following respects:
- Interstate truck and bus drivers and their companies are subject to federal rules and regulations that do not apply to other drivers, including mandatory record keeping, safety training, and “hours of service” rules and regulations. It is important that Virginia truck and bus injury victims and their families retain an experienced truck crash lawyer who is familiar with these rules and regulations, and who can conduct a thorough investigation regarding whether a driver and their company were in compliance with these rules and regulations at the time of the crash.
- Interstate truck and bus drivers and their companies are required to maintain much higher insurance coverages than non-commercial drivers. Under the federal regulations, trucking companies normally must have liability insurance coverage in at least $750,000, and this amount can exceed $1 million depending upon weight and type of cargo being transferred. Additionally, truck and bus companies often carry insurance with significantly higher limits.
- The higher insurance requirements and the significant financial assets of many truck and bus companies offer a greater opportunity for injury victims and families to receive full compensation compared to individual drivers who cause crashes (who are often uninsured or underinsured).
We would invite you to call our firm for a free consultation, and to learn how we can help.
Our firm founder – Mark Hurt – graduated in the top 10% of his class at Duke Law School, and he has helped secure millions of dollars for injured clients and the families who have lost a loved one over the past 30 years. If you retain our firm, you will be working directly with Mark – not a junior attorney.
We represent clients on a contingency fee basis (no fees for our firm unless compensation is recovered), and we advance costs on behalf of clients during litigation (the costs advanced are usually repaid from settlement proceeds or a jury award if compensation is obtained).
Why Are Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Large tractor-trailer trucks (18 wheelers) that are fully loaded can often weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even when traveling at legal highway speeds, the speed and weight of these trucks create tremendous force, which are no match for passenger trucks, cars, or other vehicles (which typically weigh around 5,000 pounds).
As Virginia semi-truck accident and crash lawyers, we know well the devastation that crashes can cause when semis crash into passenger vehicles. Not only are the passenger vehicles much lighter, the much higher profile of the semi-trucks often cause significant damage at the point of impact, as crashes may not result in bumper-to-bumper contact.
Understanding the Rules and Regulations Required of Interstate Truckers
Unlike non-commercial motorists, commercial interstate trucking companies are regulated under the federal Motor Carrier Act, as well as the rules and regulations developed under this Act. These Regulations require (among other matters) the following:
- Truck drivers are prohibited from drinking or using certain types of legal prescription drugs (such as amphetamines) within a certain time period before driving.
- Truck drivers may not drive more than a prescribed number of hours during any day, or over certain time periods, and they must also get a prescribed number of hours of rest. These rules are referred to as the “Hours of Service” rules.
- Drivers must keep electronic logs about their driving activities and rest breaks.
- Drivers must be trained by their company regarding a wide range of safety regulations.
- Drivers must carefully inspect loads to make sure that they are secure, and must also re-inspect such loads within a certain distance after starting a trip.
These and other rules and regulations were enacted to increase safety, particularly with respect to making sure drivers are fully alert and not sleep deprived.
Distracted driving is one of the major causes of vehicle accidents in the United States. With cell phones, texting, and built in smart-phone connectivity, all drivers are increasingly at risk of being easily distracted. Truckers are not immune to distracted driving.
For truck drivers, the simple task of searching for a specific song to be played through their entertainment system can result in seconds of more of complete inattention to the road, during which their rig may travel hundreds of feet or more at a high rate of speed. As a result, a shot period of driver inattention can result in a horrific crash.
Call us for a Free Consultation, and to Find Out More About Our Full-Service Injury Representation and Investigation of Truck Crashes
At the law offices of Mark T. Hurt, we offer a free consultation, so if you or a family member was injured or killed in a truck or bus crash, we would invite you to call us to learn how we can help. We are meticulous in investigating large truck and bus crashes, and determining if the driver or company violated any of the federal rules regarding driving, safety, and inspection matters.
As we represent clients on a contingency fee basis, and because we advance litigation costs for clients, you will not need to come out of pocket any money for attorney’s fees or other costs while your case is ongoing. We will only be entitled to a fee if we are successful in recovering compensation, and litigation costs that are advanced are normally subtracted from a settlement or jury award (if a case is successful).
We are also there to help clients out with many of the related issues of their case, such as gathering medical and insurance information, speaking with physicians to understand future medical prognosis and treatment, and interacting with bill collectors to advise that litigation is proceeding to obtain compensation. When applicable or possible, we will also work with insurance companies and others in seeking to have liens reduced, which can result in more compensation to a client.