Many drivers experience some level of anxiety about sharing the road with 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers. Frankly, this anxiety is justified. In 2017, there were more than 110,000 accidents involving “big rigs” that resulted in injury. Of these, over 4,500 were fatal. These are not numbers to be taken lightly. Trucking companies are required to follow federal regulations in addition to rules enforced by each state. These rules are set in place to keep drivers like you safe. Occasionally, these policies are broken and disaster strikes. Be sure you are educated on some of these rules and regulations before potential accidents occur as the preparation can save you and your family from unnecessary stress. Take a look at these five must know guidelines.
Notify Law Enforcement
Truck drivers are required by law to notify the police of an accident at the time of the incident. The Public Safety Commission must also get a report of the accident within 15 days. If there are fatalities, the report must be received within 24 hours. The sooner the police arrive after the accident the better, not only for safety reasons, but the officers on the scene can also serve as witnesses to the condition of the scene.
Hide A Lawyer
By the time you contact and hire a lawyer to represent you after your accident, the trucking company has already had their attorneys working on their case. This is true whether a lawsuit is involved or not. Because there are so many parties involved with trucking accidents, (such as the trucking company themselves, the driver, the mechanic checking the vehicle, the employee that loaded the material, etc.), there are going to be attorneys on the case as soon as it happens. It is in your best interest to get a personal injury lawyer fighting for you as quickly as possible.
Consider Product Liability
If a malfunction with one of the truck’s parts is what caused the accident, you may have a case with the manufacturing company, rather than the driver; another great reason to have a lawyer representing you. They will know the proper questions to ask and information needed for your case.
Do Not Speak To The Trucking or Insurance Company
The more you say to the company or their lawyers, the more they have to use against you. Always refer inquiries regarding the accident to your attorney. Insurance companies are not advocating for your case. Most insurance companies have money at the forefront of their brains. If you give them too many details, you could mention something that would help their case against you, harming you in the long run.
Know The Rules
It will benefit you to know the general rules of truck drivers.
- Truck drivers must be licensed with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).
- Drivers may not operate the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The blood alcohol level for truck drivers is half that of everyone else (0.04).
- Drivers are required to take breaks and rest every so often and the number of consecutive hours they may drive is limited.
- Drivers are limited to the amount of weight they can carry. If they’re transporting hazardous waste, there is a separate set of rules to be followed.
While accidents with truck drivers are not inevitable, remaining knowledgeable of the general rules and regulations tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers need to follow will save you and your family a lot of headaches if an accident does occur. Contact a reputable personal injury attorney as soon as you or a family member is able and provide them with as many details as possible.
Our Birmingham, AL personal injury firm can analyze your case. If you believe you have suffered as a result of someone else’s actions, contact us, Lewis & Feldman, at (205) 254-6060 or toll-free at (888) 295-7409 for a free, no-risk consultation about your injuries.
No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.