Consider 7 Major Legal Factors If Your Truck Meets with a Deadly Accident
Table of Contents
- What Is Truck Accident Law in Essence?
- Truck Driver Conduct: State & Federal Laws
- 7 Legal Factors to Consider If Your Truck Meets with a Deadly Accident
- Final Words
Truck accidents are prevalent yet unfortunate for both parties: those who collide with the truck and the one who owns it. The post-accident loads can be paramount if you own a truck or two or a fleet of these ‘big rigs’ for commercial purposes.
You may face several legal issues that will cost you time, money, and health. However, if you’re equipped with the necessary preparations, you can aptly tackle the crisis.
In this article, we’ll share ten major legal factors you should consider if your truck meets with a deadly accident. Knowing them may save you from long-term legislative hassles.
What Is Truck Accident Law in Essence?
A truck accident entails many consequences that need both normative and legal approaches. Obviously, you can’t let go of a massive collision between an ‘18- wheeler’ and another passenger vehicle (bus, car, motorbike, etc.) unattended. Things need to be taken care of both practically and legitimately.
You can seek more information from reliable sources like the Florida Truck Accident Statistics blog and many others where you can learn about many truck accident cases.
Firstly, there will be a ‘liability’ charge on the truck driver based on ‘negligence’ since he’s a licensed driver. Several law sources will follow the accidental case to identify and accuse the liable party. Both civil liability rules and traffic laws should wrap their way around the truck accident case so that a conclusive end could be reached.
Here, you must appoint a lawyer to handle the case if you’re the truck owner. A lawyer can render service on related issues, including insurance, repair, maintenance, loading, etc.
Truck Driver Conduct: State & Federal Laws
All trucking businesses must abide by various federal and state regulations. Such a monumental business can’t go radar less or without accountability in its regular functions. The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are the two major regulatory institutions to monitor and control intra-state commercial trucking businesses.
Whatever the regulatory laws cover the laws and regulations, the truck driver and the business owner have to follow them.
Some mandatory rules for truck drivers and owners are:
- License for Commercial Truck Driver: License is a key factor in negotiating truck accidents. All commercial truck drivers, including large ones and 18-wheelers, are bound to have a driving license. Meeting an accident without a license may get the truck driver and owner in trouble.
- Loading Limit: As per the truck size, the loading limit for a truck shall be decided. Twenty thousand pounds of goods can be loaded by a single-axle truck, whereas a two-axle truck can haul up to thirty-four thousand pounds.
- Max Hours of Service: There’s a limit a commercial truck driver can drive without breaks. If it’s found out that the truck driver drove more than the regulated hours when the accident took place, this could prove to be troublesome in negotiating legal cases.
- Carrying Hazardous Materials: A truck driver must follow the safety regulations of carrying hazardous materials in the truck ordained by the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety. If your truck driver is found to be abusing this regulation while hitting another vehicle with casualties, it might not be easy for your driver to get through the legal hassles.
- Maintenance & QC: Your commercial trucks need to go through regulatory monitoring during manufacturing and repair. This is because if the victim’s attorney finds any defect in the components of the responsible truck, it may make a strong case against your vehicle’s manufacturer, repairer, driver, and you as well.
7 Legal Factors to Consider If Your Truck Meets with a Deadly Accident
As you’re now aware of the truck driving laws and what it might cause you legally, let’s get your hands on ten major legal factors you should consider meeting with an accident.
In fact, it’s essential to know the rules to protect your rights if you’re charged for reckless driving and your company-employed truck drivers. Read below:
1. Calling Your Attorney
In such emergency cases where you’re finding yourself helpless amidst a massive collision between your truck and another vehicle with passengers, slipping through the problem is tough. Here, your instant response should be hiring an attorney. Call immediately if you already have one.
Lawyers know every nook and cranny of accidental cases and where they might lead the claimants and the liable ones. Handling insurance, compensation, repairing, etc., will be tough luck without the help of an attorney. Most commercial truck companies have their own legal advisors or attorneys who intervene to neutralize or mutualize the severity of the accidental case.
2. Investigation of Possible Causes
It’s vital to investigate what possible causes might’ve made your truck meet with a deadly accident. Identifying the root cause always helps find the culprit behind such an unfortunate event. You cannot always blame the truck driver itself; sometimes, the vehicle that’s been hit may be held responsible too.
Some possible causes of truck accidents are:
- The truck driver might’ve been on a sleep-suppressing drug.
- He might’ve exceeded the speed limit on that particular road and hit the poor vehicle failing to control.
- Wide turns and fast merging can turn drivers aggressive and lead to collisions with other vehicles.
- The truck might’ve been overloaded with goods.
- It might’ve been carrying hazardous materials that fell on the victims due to rash driving.
- It might have some faulty components like tires, brakes, headlights, etc.
Identifying the cause of the accident may point out the main culprit behind the event, helping your lawyer take appropriate measures.
3. Driver’s Log Book
Maintaining a print or virtual log book in trucking companies has become a norm. It’s a vital practice that monitors the truck drivers, including their driving speed, distancesboth covered, routes, etc. Since the federal government regulates a driver’s driving hours and number of trips, keeping a log is compulsory for trucking businesses.
If the company’s driver fails to meet these requirements, the company might be in trouble. Moreover, authorities like the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) may want to look into the driver’s past record to discover any accidental history. Unfortunately, suppose the driver had committed any accident before out of negligence, breach of law, drunkenness, etc. In that case, he’ll be laid off from the job responsibility.
4. Load in the Truck
The post-accident investigation will also involve NTSB’s overview of the possible load on the truck before the accident. The authority will try to find out the amount of load, who loaded it, the type of goods, and other relevant information to decide the possible causes of the accident.
Furthermore, even if the victim survived, there will be speculation of what worse situation could occur. That’s why the loads on the truck are important to consider to unravel the cause of the accident and predict what legal issues can arise.
5. Maintenance Report
Virtual maintenance reports of trucks and other vehicles ensure transparency in the trucking companies’ service quality. Most truck businesses today keep digital maintenance reports for tracking the trucks’ physical condition.
Both semi or large trucks go through many wear and tear while firing up the road over time. Each truck must have a maintenance schedule. You must keep up with the regular maintenance as per schedule to ensure endurance and long-term service.
The maintenance report will be examined to determine whether the colliding truck went through the scheduled maintenance and repair services. If it weren’t, both the truck driver and owner would face the consequences for not following the safety and service parameters.
6. The Accident Scenario
Apart from various substantial reasons behind the truck accident, you’ll need to speculate on the practical scenario that might have caused the accident in the first place. It may not be possible all the time to find out who was more responsible for this event, but examining the scene is important.
Make sure you talk to any witnesses who were nearby during the accident. Also, look for CCTV footage that gives a clearer shot at the whole scenario. In short, there will be investigators from the police and authorities who’ll want to get every detail from various sources to reconstruct the accident and lead to the conclusion.
7. Victim’s Claim
An inevitable legal scenario you must consider after your truck has met with a deadly accident is the victim’s claim against the truck driver and your company. The surviving family members of the dead or severely injured victims will most likely file a case against you. However, if you’re prepared with good insurance policies for your trucks, the severity of the case can be mitigated to a great extent. Insurance claims can also be used to compensate the victim’s family while saving your business from greater losses. Learning how to choose your car insurance is so important as a means of preparation to deal with such unexpected situations.
Your truck meeting with a deadly accident is very unfortunate and, financially and legally, a big hassle that no one wants to face. But if you’re running a commercial truck business, you must learn to take things into your hand as much as possible.
This is why it’s essential to learn about the potential legal factors you encounter once an accident occurs. We hope you’ll have a better idea of how to save your neck by looking at the seven legal factors we’ve shared above. At least you can minimize your losses due to such legal turmoils.
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