Truck accidents often result in more serious physical injury than regular passenger vehicle accidents. In turn, truck accidents lead to larger settlement payments or a more substantial award of damages. However, this is countered by the fact that truck accidents are more challenging than typical car accident cases.
While typical car accidents may be governed by state case law and statute, a commercial motor vehicle or truck is governed by the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The FMCSR has provisions that are not found in other laws. For example, it greatly expands the definition of an employee, which now includes independent contractors. In typical car accidents, the employer is usually freed from liability if he/she is able to prove that the driver is an independent contractor and not an employee. This defense, however, does not lie in truck accident cases involving commercial motor vehicles.
The FMCSR also places stringent standards on commercial motor vehicles, especially when it comes to record-keeping. Records can be vital later on if the vehicle is involved in an accident, as records could prove a violation of the FMCSR. To ensure knowledge and compliance with its provisions, the FMCSR requires that persons involved in the trucking business be trained on the regulations.
Evidence is a necessary part of any case. The evidence that can be presented in a truck accident case generally falls into three categories: evidence involving drivers, evidence involving the vehicle, and evidence involving load.
Drivers are expected to observe certain limits and requirements when it comes to driving trucks. For example, a driver is required to keep their hours in a logbook. A driver is also not allowed to drive beyond a number of hours under the FMCSR. Evidence such as the logbook falls under the category of evidence involving drivers.
There are different kinds of evidence that fall under the category of evidence involving the vehicle. Perhaps one of the most common is tire marks, which can show how the truck accident occurred. Another evidence involving the vehicle are the records of the vehicle’s maintenance and repair.
Evidence involving load could include evidence showing the type of load it was carrying, the weight of the load, and what was used to secure the load.
The parties involved in a truck accident may also differ from the typical car crash. This is caused partly by the broad provisions of the law.
For example, the law classifies a person who leases a commercial vehicle as an employer. In cases such as this, the person who leases the vehicle may be impleaded as an employer of the driver.
Commercial motor vehicles are big businesses, and substantial damages are often awarded in truck accident cases. With this in mind, trucking companies are usually ready to fight cases with their own legal teams. It’s considered a good business practice in the industry to have a legal team on hand, specifically for cases involving truck accidents. Thus, the victims may be at a disadvantage when it comes to these experienced truck accident lawyers.
Considering the size and mass of trucks, accidents involving them often feature severe injuries and death. The reconstruction of the accident scene may be difficult, especially if the vehicles are a total wreck.
I help clients secure financial compensation for their injuries. Specifically, I help injured clients recover compensation from insurance companies, negligent drivers, and other liable parties.
The first step to financial recovery is a free consultation. Call my office at (916) 270-6880 Monday – Saturday from 8 AM to 6 PM to learn more about your personal injury rights and damages.