Lawsuits for personal injuries from accidents involving commercial trucks require special handling. Trucking accidents are more complicated than regular automobile accidents. There are usually multiple parties who are potentially liable. Federal and state laws set specific standards for safety, and the investigation also involves unique aspects that do not apply to car accidents. Most people would benefit from expert advice about how to handle these types of cases.
Commercial Truck Accidents Involve Multiple Parties
If a big rig truck sideswipes your car, you can typically sue other parties besides the driver. A commercial trucking business ordinarily involves the driver, the company that employs the driver, the company that was hired to haul the goods, and the owner of the truck. Any one of these parties can bear some responsibility for the accident.
Federal and State Laws Regulate Commercial Trucks
Federal and state safety standards regulate commercial trucking. Special laws administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and various state departments of transportation control everything from driver licensing to vehicle inspections. Checking specific compliance with every regulation can establish the full scope of liability in a truck accident. Past or present failures by trucking parties to comply with any of these regulations provide ammunition for a personal injury case.
Federal Law Ensures Liability By Truck Permit Holders
In the past, trucking companies tried to avoid liability for accidents caused by drivers by requiring them to own their own trucks as independent owner-operators. Truck companies argued that liability stopped at the drivers because they were independent. The federal government banned this type of defense by establishing the liability of permitted truck companies for all aspects of their trucking operation, even if the drivers are independent.
Commercial Truck Accident Investigations Require Special Handling
Federal and state laws require a certified truck inspector to inspect any commercial truck involved in an accident before it is removed from the scene. Also, many commercial trucks are equipped with dashboard computers that record a treasure trove of important information. This information can include the speed of the vehicle at any point, rest stops taken by the driver, the number of times the driver hit the brakes, and other information that would be invaluable to a personal injury case. Your representative must know to request this information before the company disposes of it in the ordinary course of business.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding injuries sustained in truck accidents is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.