We rely on trucks and tractor-trailers to supply the products we utilize every day. With so many trucks on the road, traffic collisions are inevitable.
Given their size and weight, eighteen-wheelers are particularly hazardous in an accident– according to the National Highway and Safety Administration, 73% of those killed in accidents involving large trucks were occupants of the other vehicles, and 81% of the fatal accidents involving trucks were multiple vehicle collisions.
Contrary to popular belief, a preponderance of fatal accidents involving trucks happened in rural areas (61%). What do you need to know if you or a loved one is hurt in a truck accident?
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As with any accident, time can work against you. Directly following an accident, a trucking company will launch its inquiry by sending experts to compile as much information as possible. Their accident investigators will be on hand immediately to collect any information they can, and to find the truck’s “black box” computer.
If the truck had an on-board computer, it may contain the same information as the black box on an airplane. You cannot assume that the information they accumulate will be easily accessible to you. A truck accident law firm can employ a team of trained experts to gather and protect evidence for their clients.
A police report might be useful, but may not be as detailed as the report of a skilled accident investigator.
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs all aspects of commercial trucking, including training, licensing, insurance, and drug and alcohol testing. Commercial truck drivers have to follow all federal and state laws at all times. Documentation of a violation of any of these procedures may be crucial to proving your case. Drivers often overlook rules regarding the number of hours they are allowed to drive without a break. Drivers are limited to 14 continuous hours at one time, including breaks and meal times. After 14 consecutive hours, drivers must be off duty for 10 hours before being authorized to drive again. Commercial drivers carry log books to record their hours, but incomplete or inaccurate log entries are not unheard of. Regulations concerning the maximum number of driving hours allowed exist for a reason – fatigue is a common cause of accidents. It will be important to ascertain for how long a commercial driver had been on duty prior to an accident.
An accident involving a truck carrying hazardous materials can be especially treacherous. Improper storage or handling of hazardous materials may cause explosions, chemical spills, or other problems.
Commercial vehicles, like all motor vehicles, must successfully pass routine safety inspections. Poorly maintained equipment may cause accidents, so an examination of the truck and its inspection reports, is very important following an accident.
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All of this may seem too much to handle for someone who is already struggling with a serious personal injury or with the loss of a family member. The lawyers at Campbell & Associates will manage your case with compassion, and will work fast to safeguard all the evidence needed to optimize your potential to obtain the settlement you deserve. If you have been in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer, call us for a no-cost assessment at 704-333-0885.