Millions of trucks and tractor trailers drive our highways and roads every day, delivering food and other goods to the stores in every city and town in America. With so many trucks on the road, accidents are inevitable.
Because of their size and weight, trucks are particularly dangerous 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 accidents. Surprisingly, a majority of fatal accidents involving trucks occurred in rural areas (61%). What do you need to know if you or a loved one are injured in a truck accident?
Hickory Truck Accident Attorneys
As with any accident, time can work against you. Immediately after an accident, a trucking company will begin its investigation by sending experts to collect as much information as they can. They will look for skid marks on the road, take pictures of the accident scene, interview witnesses, and collect data from the “black box” computer that many trucks carry. This on-board computer may contain information about the truck’s speed, mechanical condition, and other factors which could have caused an accident. The trucking company and their insurance carrier are not obligated to share this information with you, so it is important to have your own team of experts to collect this data. An experienced truck accident attorney will have a team of experts on call, helping to collect evidence for you before it is destroyed or degraded.
You will have access to the police report after the accident, but do not assume that the police report contains all of the information you might need. The police will not collect as much detailed data as a trained accident investigator.
All interstate commercial truck drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates all aspects of commercial trucking, including drug and alcohol testing, hazardous materials transportation, training and licensing of commercial truck drivers, and insurance requirements for trucking companies. Commercial truck drivers must follow all federal and state regulations at all times. Evidence of a violation of any of these regulations may be crucial to proving your case.
Very often, truck drivers are found in violation of regulations regarding the number of hours they may drive at one time. Drivers are limited to 14 consecutive hours at one time, including breaks and meal times. After 14 consecutive hours, drivers must be off duty for 10 hours before being allowed to drive again. Drivers should have log books to record their hours, but the books can be neglected or even falsified. Studies have shown that fatigue has the same effect on one’s ability to safely drive as alcohol, so failing to follow these regulations can have disastrous effects. After a truck accident, it is very important to access the driver’s log book, and to interview witnesses who might have information about the length of time the driver had been on the road.
A truck carrying hazardous materials may cause additional injury or illness after an accident. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, an investigation must be done to determine if all regulations regarding the storage and handling of hazardous material have been followed.
Commercial vehicles, like all motor vehicles, must pass periodic safety inspections. Safety inspections for commercial vehicles are more rigorous and detailed than those for private vehicles. Cutting corners on safety inspections or equipment can lead to accidents. After an accident involving a truck, it is important to access inspection records, and to have the truck inspected for faulty equipment that may have been improperly maintained.
Truck Accident Lawyers Near Me
All of this may seem overwhelming for someone who is already struggling with a serious injury or with the loss of a loved one. The Hickory truck accident attorneys here at Campbell & Associates will handle your case with compassion, and will work fast to secure all the evidence needed to maximize your ability to get the compensation you deserve. We are available for a free consultation at 704-333-0885. Call us today.