Trucking Accidents: understanding liability and your rights
A tractor-trailer weighs between 12,000 and 80,000 pounds—about 25 times more than the average car. Being driven at 65 miles per hour on the highway, they aren’t easy to stop and can be a deadly weapon against drivers and passengers in smaller cars. At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C., we see how catastrophic trucking accidents can be to everyone involved.
Pennsylvania is ranked 6th in the nation for the highest number of deaths involving large trucks. In 2017, 145 people died in trucking accidents on our roads. In total last year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports there were 6,807 crashes involving large trucks. Determining who is responsible for any associated injuries or loss can be difficult, especially when big trucking and insurance companies get involved. That’s why it’s important to understand:
- Truck Company Rules and Regulations
- Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- How to Deal with Trucking Companies
Truck Company Rules and Regulations
Truck companies are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules and regulations. They are also liable for the drivers they hire and the trucks they maintain. These rules and regulations are in place to keep all drivers safe on the road. Among some of the regulations—companies must train and supervise their drivers, enforce rest periods to ensure their drivers aren’t suffering from fatigue, and maintain a record of all inspections and safety procedures they have in place.
Other regulations trucking companies must abide by include:
- Truck driver qualifications
- Realistic Delivery Times
- Routes Drivers are Allowed to Take
- Weight of the Vehicle
In 2017, out of all the Level 1 inspections completed on large trucks in the country, 266,256 resulted in at least one violation. When it came to driver violations, there were more than 992,642. A level 1 inspection is the most common and complete inspection detailing both the truck and the driver. Improper driving logs, speeding and driving during mandated “rest windows” topped the list of violations.
In a trucking accident involving injuries, any negligent act that violates federal regulations on the part of the driver or the company, can help you win your personal injury or wrongful death case.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Many truck accidents are preventable. That’s why there are so many regulations in place to ensure the trucks, themselves, are safe and that commercial truck drivers are properly trained, tested and fit to handle these massive vehicles on public roads.
While maintenance issues, flat or worn tires, failing brakes, unsafe cargo loading, uneven weight distribution and falling cargo are primary causes of commercial trucking accidents, in our vast experience with handling truck accident cases, we at Georgelis Injury Law Firm have found that driver negligence and/or recklessness is the single most common cause of accidents on the roads resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.
That is why it is so important to immediately procure video/audio footage from the truck (or other sources) involved, obtain records pertaining to the driver’s traffic history and take a litany of other critical steps as soon as an accident occurs to protect your and your family’s rights.
How to Deal with Trucking Companies
If you’ve been in an accident and it involved a truck, the company whose driver was involved often sends its own investigators and attorneys to the accident scene. An accident victim is likely being treated for injuries and not paying close attention to what’s going on behind the scenes.
That’s why it’s so important to get representation for an injury claim early in the process, even before talking to the insurance company. The cost of severe injuries can be six figures or more, and those injuries often lead to a change in job or the inability to work at all. Experienced attorneys who have handled trucking accident cases are crucial in recovering compensation for these losses.
Our attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. have helped secure millions of dollars for accident victims. If you or someone you know is injured in a trucking accident, Call Georgelis First at 1-800-HURT-NOW.
We’re available 24/7 and will come to you for a free consultation. We never collect a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today and we’ll handle everything from here!