We rely on trucks and tractor-trailers to supply the commodities we use every day. It is unfeasible, with so many large trucks traveling the motorways, to prevent all accidents.
A crash involving a large, heavy vehicle like a tractor-trailer may be serious. The National Highway and Safety Administration reports that the majority of individuals killed in crashes with large trucks were the drivers and passengers of other vehicles.
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Truck accidents causing the death of either the truck driver or another driver were more likely to take place in non-urban areas. No-one wants to be in an accident, but it is a smart idea to learn what to expect if one does occur.
As with any accident, time can work against you. Directly following an accident, a trucking company will begin its investigation by dispatching specialists to gather as much data as possible. Their accident investigators will be on hand as soon as possible to gather any information they can and to find the truck’s “black box” computer.
This onboard computer may include information about the truck’s speed, mechanical condition, and other factors which could have precipitated an accident. You cannot assume that the data they collect will be easily accessible to you. A truck law firm can call upon a team of trained experts to collect and secure evidence for their clients.
A police report may be helpful, but will not be as detailed as the report of a competent accident investigator.
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All interstate commercial truck drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees all facets of commercial trucking, including drug and alcohol testing, hazardous materials transportation, training and licensing of commercial truck drivers, and insurance requirements for trucking companies. States may have their own regulations on trucking as well. If you were in an accident with a truck or tractor-trailer, you need to know if the driver was in violation of federal or state safety requirements.
Very often, truck drivers are discovered in violation of regulations regarding the number of hours they may drive at one time. Including breaks, commercial drivers may not log more than 14 continuous hours. After 14 continuous hours, drivers must be off duty for 10 hours before being permitted to drive again. Drivers should have log books to record their hours, but the books may be neglected or even faked. A driver who is fatigued can be as dangerous as a drunk driver can. It will be important to determine for how long a commercial driver had been on duty just before an accident.
Hazardous materials can lead to additional complications after the initial accident. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, an investigation must be done to determine if all rules regarding the storage and handling of hazardous material have been observed.
All commercial vehicles must also complete regular safety inspections, with higher standards than those for personal vehicles. Improperly maintained equipment may cause accidents, so an inspection of the truck and its inspection records, is important following an accident.
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It may appear difficult to contemplate these details after you have been in a serious accident. The law firm of Campbell & Associates can handle the required investigations, working with insurance companies, and getting you the compensation you deserve while you focus on your health and your family. You may call us at any time at 704-333-0885 to schedule a free assessment with one of our tractor-trailer accident specialists.