Big rigs and other large commercial trucks move goods and products all over the country. They are massive vehicles that are significantly larger than the passenger cars they often share the roads with. Because their use is so prevalent and they are travelling around the clock, there are many rules and regulations in place to protect both truckers and others on the road.
These safeguards are in place for a reason. If one was disregarded and it led to your accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation. A semi-truck accident lawyer near you can examine the details of your accident, often at no cost or obligation to you. They can explain the regulations that govern big rig trucks and how they impact your case.
Hours of Service Regulations Improve Driver Performance
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines, truck drivers are only allowed to drive a specific number of hours in a row. The current regulations include:
- 11 hour driving limit: The driver must first have been off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours.
- 10 hour driving limit: The driver must first have been off duty for at least eight consecutive hours.
- 14 hour working limit: The driver must stop driving after their 14th on-duty hour after having been off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours.
- 15 hour working limit: The driver must stop driving after their 15th on-duty hour after having been off duty for at least eight consecutive hours.
Truck drivers also have regulations that govern the number of breaks they must take and how often they must be taken.
How an Hours-of-Service Violation Could Impact Your Case
When a personal injury lawyer accepts your case, they review the cause of the accident to determine liability. These regulations were initiated to give truck drivers the chance to operate when they are well-rested, refreshed, and alert.
If the driver involved in your accident committed an hours-of-service violation, your lawyer will obtain their logbooks and other documentation that proves it. They will use this evidence to build the strongest possible case for you.
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Repair and Maintenance Regulations Promote Truck Safety
49 CFR § 396.3 requires trucks to be inspected for safety before the beginning of each trip. It requires systematic inspection, repairs, maintenance of the vehicle and its parts, and identification of the truck and its tires.
It also requires accurate record keeping of the name and identification of the person who did the inspections and who supplied the vehicle. These regulations help ensure safe vehicles in good condition are on the road.
How Faulty Repair and Maintenance Impact Your Truck Accident Case
Multiple parties can bear liability for a truck accident. The facility responsible for repairing and maintaining the truck could be held liable if:
- The truck was in need of repairs it did not receive.
- The truck received flawed or faulty repairs.
- The truck was not properly inspected or maintained.
- The truck’s repair and maintenance records were inaccurate.
One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer is their ability to obtain evidence you might find challenging to obtain on your own. Your lawyer will obtain the truck’s repair and maintenance records and consult trucking industry experts to substantiate your case.
Cargo Loading and Securement Regulations Promote Truck Stability
FMCSA guidelines include regulations for the loading and securing of cargo. Depending on its type, cargo is required to be secured with the appropriate number of tie downs or other securements. Properly secured cargo will not:
- Shift from its position
- Fall off the truck
- Create an imbalance
Interior and exterior cargo regulations were put into place to prevent accidents caused by cargo-related issues. If incorrectly loaded cargo contributed to your accident, the facility may have financial liability.
How Improperly Loaded Cargo Can Impact Your Case
When a big rig is properly loaded with cargo, it can be easier to drive and maneuver. It can also decrease the risk of an accidental shift that changes the balance of the truck and the way its weight is distributed. The cargo also needs to be properly fitted for the size of the truck.
Your lawyer will use cargo loading records, notes from your truck accident report, photos, videos, and witness statements that describe the cargo and its role in causing the accident.
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Driver Error Is the Leading Cause of Big Rig Truck Accidents
Big rig truck accidents can occur because of environmental factors, truck maintenance issues, and truck driver error. Common truck driver errors and behaviors that lead to accidents include:
- Driver fatigue (which can stem from an hours-of-service violation)
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
Driving a truck is a huge responsibility which requires truck drivers to practice care and caution. If a truck driver’s error led to your accident, your lawyer will conduct a comprehensive investigation and fight for a fair settlement.
The Legal Elements That Establish Negligence and Liability
To prove liability in your case, your lawyer will collect evidence that proves the elements of negligence — duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. They can prove one or more regulation violation contributed to your accident with a solid evidence collection.
Get a Free Consultation Today and Discuss Your Big Rig Truck Accident
Were you or someone you love injured in a recent big rig truck accident? If so, our law firm will investigate the cause of your accident. If a violation of the regulations that govern big rig trucks caused your accident, we will explain how they will impact your case.
Learn more about how hard our team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins fights for you by contacting one of our case review team members now.
We represent injured parties and the surviving families of car accident fatalities. Contact one of our client-focused team members at Loncar Lyon Jenkins to get started on your quest for financial compensation today.