We have seen people and their lawyers treat commercial truck collisions as if they are just big car wrecks. This is just a mistake. It can cause an injured person to miss out on getting the fair compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Commercial truck drivers are required to develop specialized knowledge, skills, and get training above and beyond that of a regular driver. To establish they have the proper abilities, truckers must test for and obtain a CDL (“commercial drivers license”). Commercial trucks include among others those called “18-wheelers,” “semi-tractors” “tractor-trailers” as well as many construction and delivery trucks.
The complexity of trucking transportation operations sometimes means that a broker or other person not behind the wheel of the truck involved actually has a measure of responsibility for the collision. Having a lawyer involved who knows their way around the trucking industry can be a key to getting treated fairly.
Truckers Have Special Obligations.
One aspect of the trucker’s responsibilities is meeting the standards required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. And in addition, there are special duties arising by industry custom and practice. For many companies there are books with specialized procedures and policy. If a trucker does not know about or comply with these regulations and policies liability can attach for injuries they cause. Among the responsibilities are certain record keeping and reporting requirements. Many of these have to do with fatigue which is a real problem for long-haul truckers.
Truckers Required Inspections and Preparation.
Among the safety requirements with which a trucker must comply is the mandated “pre-trip inspection.” This generally includes evaluation of areas of the machinery like the engine compartment, driveline, steering, tires and wheels, and brakes. There are further obligations for those truck drivers who choose to work under special conditions and driving situations like the transportation of hazardous materials.
Do Not Delay in Hiring An Experienced Trucking Attorney.
Collisions involving commercial trucks are not the same as ordinary car accidents just with bigger vehicles. Often because of the nature of the incidents an expert investigator with specialized knowledge, training and experience who understands commercial vehicle and vehicle operations. There are many specialized documents to obtain and evaluate. In trucking cases we often find that there are people beyond the driver responsible for the injury collision. To fully develop a case we often need to obtain witness statements, evaluate police reports, examine the driver’s log, review maintenance records, peruse personnel files, company records, and often document the crash scene itself.
Consulting with an attorney early after an injury collision involving a commercial truck can be the difference between fair and unfair (or even no) compensation. If you have any questions, we are happy to offer a free case review and evaluation. Just give us a call.