Truck Accidents 

What should you do in the aftermath of a truck accident?

The drivers and manufacturers of commercial “18-wheeler” trucks are held to a different set of standards than most other vehicles. Due to its huge differences in size and weight, a commercial truck creates its own specific body of legal concerns.

With a maximum weight over 80,000 lbs, commercial truck accidents can prove devastating.

Whether you are a driver of a truck or someone who has been involved in an accident with a truck, we highly recommend you deal with a specialist in this field of accident law.

Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer is the best way to protect your rights after a truck accident. Because trucks, their drivers, and the companies that insure them, are all held to different standards, it can be difficult to decide who is to blame in a truck accident. Here are several ways a truck accident lawyer can help you:

  • They may be able to successfully sue for compensation despite the fact you are partly responsible for the accident.

  • They will use their expertise to choose the best legal strategy
  • They can help you decide which party’s are to be held responsible for your accident.
  • They will negotiate the best possible settlement deal on your behalf.

There are multiple party’s who may be liable for a commercial truck accident. Some of them will not be immediately obvious:

  • The truck driver’s employers
  • The vehicle manufacturers
  • The trucking company in ownership of the truck
  • The various insurance companies involved
  • Government entities charged with keeping the roads hazard free

What Information Should I Gather Before Meeting With My Lawyer?

If you have been involved in an accident with a truck and are preparing to make a legal compensation case, there are certain facts and details you should try and gather before your meeting.

1. Driver and Trucking Company Details

For example:

  • Name and license number of the driver
  • The license plate of the truck
  • Name of the trucking company

2. Accident Details

For example:

  • When, where, and how exactly did the accident occur?
  • Was a police report filed?
  • Was either driver charged with any traffic violations?

3. Medical Details

For example:

  • Did you incur any injuries as a result of the accident?
  • Did you receive medical treatment, from who and where?
  • Have you been unable to partake in your usual activities as a result of your accident?

4. Your Vehicle Details

For example:

  • Year, make, and model of your vehicle
  • What damages did your car receive as a result of the accident?
  • Can you provide before and after photographs of your vehicle?

5. Your Financial Details

For example:

  • Employment status and wage if applicable
  • Insurance details
  • Medical and loss of income costs that resulted from the accident

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

When the truck driver is responsible:

  • Some truck drivers do not receive adequate training. This can lead to a poor driving technique and limited awareness of truck-specific safety concerns.
  • The truck driver being financially encouraged to drive above the advisable speed
  • The truck driver being financially encouraged to drive the vehicle for more consecutive hours than advisable
  • Trucking companies setting hard to meet scheduling demands despite poor weather conditions and other hazards.

When the other vehicle is responsible:

  • Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck
  • Failure to slow down or speed up when a truck is changing lanes
  • Being blown into a truck while overtaking
  • Misjudging and approaching trucks speed at an intersection
  • Pulling out in front of a truck without sufficient acceleration

Truck Specific Laws

Here is a brief description of some truck specific laws to consider if you have been involved in a truck-related accident:

  • Truck drivers must have a commercial truck driving license.
  • Truck drivers must adhere to the strict regulation in their hours of service - this refers to the amount of consecutive driving time they are allowed to do without resting.
  • There are maximum weight restrictions on all trucks that must be adhered to.
  • Quality control regulations place unique requirements on truck manufacturers to ensure their vehicles are safe to drive
  • Any truck carrying hazardous waste falls under the related set of regulations concerning hazardous materials

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