A “regular” car accident and a commercial truck accident involve a different set of challenges and a different group of players.Though these vehicles share the same roadways, they are operated in a much different fashion, under different circumstances and for obviously different purposes. Further, the companies that insure large commercial trucks are specialized companies that are well versed in all manner of strategy aimed at avoiding liability for the negligent acts perpetrated by commercial truck drivers. It is critical that claimants be aware of this as collisions involving large commercial trucks, unfortunately, often result in catastrophic injury and/or death to innocent victims.
From the very inception of a trucking collision case you must be prepared to act with the utmost diligence in making sure that your case develops in such a way that you receive the just and fair compensation you deserve.
Car accident attorneys are accustomed to collecting evidence after a crash, including witness statements, photographs of the vehicles involved, police reports, and more. However, when a commercial truck is involved, there is a different set of evidence that must be collected. Evidence in a commercial truck accident can be divided into three distinct categories:
This includes the driver’s qualifications file, the driver’s training file, the hours of service documentation, the driver inspection records, and post-collision drug and alcohol screening.
This includes downloads of the on-board systems, maintenance history documentation, inspection history, and data GPS tracking systems.
This includes weight tickets, trip envelopes, dispatch instructions, delivery documents, and bills of lading.
While all vehicles operated on the roadways and highways are bound by the “rules of the road,” such as speed, headlight use, etc., commercial trucks are subject to additional and far reaching regulation. Those regulations exists on both the Federal and State levels.
At the Federal level rules are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Transportation.
For the State of Maryland, the State Highway Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, establishes trucking rules. The District of Columbia Department of Transportation serves this same function in Washington, DC. Commercial trucks are required to comply with the rules and regulations established by these applicable agencies and the failure to do so can be the basis for a claim of negligence even where the commercial vehicle operator has otherwise complied with the more universal traffic regulations applicable to all vehicles.
For this reason it is of great importance to have an attorney on your side who is knowledgeable in the rules and regulations that govern these commercial trucks and who is prepared to use that knowledge to get you the maximum recovery available.
Regardless of the type of truck accident, if you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, you are entitled to compensation for your losses related to the wreck.
These typically occur due to fast speeds, steep inclines or steep declines, tripping on a curb or another object on the road, taking a curve too fast or trying to correct a trailer that has drifted off the road. Many rollover accidents are single vehicle accidents.
This type of accident usually involves the only the truck and commonly occurs from hazards in the roadway, driver behavior, and mechanical defects in the truck.
Often times these accidents are caused by driver fatigue and the truck collides with traffic in the opposite direction. Head-on collisions generate tremendous forces that usually cause deaths or severe injuries.
Although these create less force than head-on collisions, they can still cause death and serious injury. When either a car or truck driver fails to realize how much distance is needed to stop, the risk of a rear-end collision increases. The stopping distance for an 80,000 pound truck that is driving at 60 mph is approximately 420 feet (140 yards), which is longer than the length of a football field.
One of the most dangerous and fatal types of truck accidents, happen when a smaller vehicle hits the back of a truck that is near the same level as the top of the vehicle, causing the car to go underneath the rear trailer. Similarly, this type of accident occurs when a large truck (tractor trailer) comes into contact with a smaller vehicle and the smaller vehicle is pulled beneath the trailer. These types of catastrophic accidents can often be avoided through the use of an underride guard.
In fact the U.S. Department of Transportation has required that all trailers manufactured since 1998 be equipped with underride guards. Even for those trailers that aren’t mandated to have them underride guards are essential equipment and could well mean the difference between life and death for the drivers and passengers of motor vehicles involved in these type of collisions with tractor trailers. It is essential that you have an experienced attorney with access to the necessary trucking experts to secure the appropriate evidence and prepare the proper case to best ensure that you receive fair compensation and due justice for your injuries.
There are thousands of commercial trucks navigating our roadways every day. Unfortunately, some will be involved in serious accidents. Truck accidents result from a variety of factors, here are some common causes: