Hurt in a Trucking Accident in Virginia, Maryland or DC?
Our Truck Accident Lawyers Explain Laws and Regulations
An accident involving a semi truck has the potential to cause widespread injury and wrongful death, owing to the size and scale of these vehicles compared to passenger cars. Due to these dangers, state and federal trucking laws and regulations impose restrictions on drivers and their employers to minimize certain risk factors. Still, despite the risks, many companies neglect mandatory safety procedures and precautions in the interests of profits. If a truck accident harms you or a loved one, then you may be able to recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, truck accident claims are more complex than regular car crash claims, as many different parties may be liable for your injuries.
The trucking accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you navigate the complexities of a legal claim following a truck crash. We have decades of experience in personal injury law in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. In one case involving a dump truck accident that caused a carpenter’s wrongful death, we recovered a settlement of $15.2 million for the family.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Semi Accidents?
Unlike most other motor vehicles, a semi truck is usually the property of a commercial company and driven by an employee. The company is therefore generally responsible for the vehicle’s upkeep and for the actions of its drivers. As a result, trucking company negligence is often to blame for the conditions which cause a crash. Common examples of such causes include:
- Drowsy driving. Fatigued driving lowers reaction times and makes it more likely that a driver will make errors. Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict limits on the number of hours a driver may remain behind the wheel. However, many trucking companies pressure drivers to violate FMCSA regulations to make more deliveries, putting profits over people.
- Mechanical defects. Flaws in a truck’s brakes, tires, and other components may cause a serious wreck. While these defects may result from manufacturing or design negligence, mechanical failure is usually the result of poor maintenance.
- Lack of maintenance. Trucking companies must perform regular maintenance and safety checks on their vehicles. However, many neglect these checks, resulting in crashes due to worn tires, brake failure, broken lights, and engine failure.
- Speeding. Often, trucking companies pressure drivers with unrealistic deadlines, causing drivers to speed. Speeding increases the risk of an accident, often contributing to serious crashes.
- Inexperienced drivers. Many trucking companies hire newly licensed drivers and fail to adequately train them. These drivers may be unable to handle the size and weight of the truck and are more likely to make mistakes.
What Trucking Laws Apply to Big Rig Drivers and Companies?
The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains rules and standards to promote safety in the trucking industry. Some of the most important FMCSA regulations include:
- Hours of service. The FMCSA limits the number of total and consecutive hours a driver may spend on the road. It also has rules regarding mandatory rest and sleep brakes. These limitations are intended to prevent drowsy driving, which is a major concern for truckers.
- ELDs. By mid-December 2017, all trucks must have electronic logging devices (ELDs). These track the number of hours an employee drives to ensure he or she follows hours of service regulations. ELDs help prevent falsification of logbooks, a practice not uncommon with paper logs.
- Medical exams and background checks. Trucking companies must perform drug, alcohol, and certain medical tests before hiring drivers. Additionally, the FMCSA requires companies to check for past criminal activity and traffic violations when hiring.
- Cargo loading. Truck drivers and employees who load trucks must follow FMCSA regulations concerning cargo securement.
- Employee training. Truck drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), but companies must also train new drivers before allowing them to make solo deliveries.
- Inspection and maintenance. The FMCSA requires commercial carriers to perform regular inspections and maintenance to eliminate crash risks.
If you sustained injuries in a trucking accident, then you likely do not know whether the driver or company violated any of these rules. However, our Washington DC truck accident lawyers can examine the company’s records and the truck’s ELD to determine if violations contributed to your injuries.
Hit by a Truck? Contact Washington DC Truck Accident Lawyers Today
After a trucking accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death from the commercial carrier and/or its insurer. However, the trucking company itself will control much of the evidence crucial to your claim, including the truck. The qualified trucking accident attorneys from our law firm can take steps to obtain that evidence and can represent your interests in a lawsuit.
We represent injury victims throughout Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland and other states. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call (202) 463-3030 or contact us online today.