COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
TRUCK DRIVER FAULT
Truck accidents are often linked to multiple causes including truck driver exhaustion. Federal agencies that regulate interstate commerce and trucking have considered trucker logs and records and found that some truckers are required to drive too many hours without adequate rest. Truckers end up simply exhausted on long-haul truck trips.
NEW RULES TAKE AIM AT DRIVER FATIGUE
Over the next two years, approximately 3 million professional truck drivers will convert from paper logs to electronic logging devices thanks to new federal safety regulations. These devices will automatically detect vehicle movement and track engine hours in order to record driving time.
According to estimates calculated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these electronic logs will play a role in saving lives and preventing injuries each year by reducing the number of crashes caused by drivers who are driving without proper rest.
While this is a step in the right direction to help protect drivers and passengers who must share the nation's roads with large commercial vehicles, it will not come soon enough for hundreds of Americans who are injured in crashes with big rigs each year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 56 fatalities in accidents where the truck driver was asleep or fatigued during 2013 alone.
While there have been hours-of-service regulations in place for decades, paper logs made these rules fairly easy to violate. Some commercial drivers willingly violated rules in order to increase their income, and others were pressured to drive longer than legally allowed by their employer, the shipper, or receiver.
The new technology will encourage commercial drivers to comply with the federal hours-of-service rules because their jobs and licenses could be at risk if they are violated. A related law protects commercial drivers from being pressured to violate federal hours-of-service regulations by allowing the FMCSA to take action against trucking companies, shipping companies, and corporations who receive shipments by truck.
The electronic logging devices will only be required in vehicles made in the year 2000 and after. Drivers with older rigs may continue using paper records, although Canadian and Mexican drivers will need to have the devices on board when driving in the United States. All drivers covered by the law will need to have ELD tracking in place before December 16, 2017.
CAR DRIVER FAULT
Motorists are often unaware of the unique challenges presented by a truck's sheer size. Motor vehicle drivers sometimes do not realize that a huge multi-axle vehicle tractor-trailer is unable to stop as quickly as a car. Truck drivers have problems with their visibility, often unable to see as well as a car driver in certain situations.
TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURIES
A collision between a car and truck can result in significant damage to the smaller vehicle and severe injury to the occupants due to significant weight differences between a car and a truck. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident.
CALLING THE POLICE AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT WITH NO APPARENT INJURY
If you are involved in a truck accident and there is no apparent injury and no damage to the vehicle, then you can simply exchange information with the truck driver without calling the police. The police should be notified in a more serious situation.
Police do not always come to an accident site, particularly if the accident is in the middle of an interstate and if there is no local law enforcement agency in the vicinity. Occasionally, it may take many hours for them to reach the accident site, making it not always feasible to call the police.
If the accident transpired in a city or an urban area, you certainly can and should call the police even if there is no apparent injury. It is possible for a motorist to be unaware of an injury until he or she is evaluated by a medical professional.
WHEN TRUCK DRIVER TELLS YOU NOT TO REPORT AN ACCIDENT
No driver involved in an accident, whether he is a car driver, truck driver or motorcycle rider, should dissuade you from reporting an accident. Telling you not to call the police is a suspicious indication that the other driver may be impaired, may have a suspended license, may not have insurance, or may be fearful that the police might discover that there is an outstanding warrant on that driver.
If you are injured in an accident and your instinct tells you to call the police, then do not let the other party dissuade you from taking doing so.
CLAIMING COMPENSATION FOR A TRUCK ACCIDENT
While trucks often carry higher valued insurance policies, the amount of compensation that you can recover from an accident is determined by the extent of the injury that the accident has caused. Your compensation is a function of the injury, not a function of the fact that the other vehicle is a truck.
IMPORTANCE OF A TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Truck accidents or accidents with a commercial vehicle can be complicated and involve various issues such as drivers' logs, vehicle ownership, operation of the vehicle, and state licenses. Claiming compensation from the party responsible for your injuries will require an assessment of all the numerous details surrounding the truck, its driver, and the incident. An experienced truck accident attorney can gather all the data required to establish liability, the extent of your injuries, and any other information that is required to pursue the maximum compensation to which you are legally entitled.
ASSISTANCE IN CLOSE BORDER SITUATIONS
The Law Office of Peter Goldstein is licensed to practice in Nevada and California. We have worked on a number of truck accident cases and are in a unique position to help a Nevada resident who is injured in California, or over the state line.
Conversely, when the accident happens over the Nevada state line but the injured person lives in California and receives medical treatment in California, it is useful to have a lawyer who is licensed in both states. We can represent a person in close border situations such as those occurring in Las Vegas.
If you were the victim of a truck accident, attorney Peter Goldstein can evaluate your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment at (702) 474-6400 so I can fight for you.