Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Violations in Truck Accidents
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Thousands of commercial vehicles drive throughout Georgia each day. They haul heavy cargo on busy highways, as well as on rural roads. Due to their load size, large trucks can be very dangerous when they’re involved in a collision. As Atlanta truck accident lawyers with decades of experience, we have seen many horrific injuries and even fatalities after truck accidents in the Atlanta area and throughout our state. Fortunately, the trucking industry is heavily regulated, which means that there are many state and federal laws and regulations that can help you recover compensation in the event that you are injured by a large truck. In order to identify the rules and regulations that protect you, you should hire a lawyer that is very knowledgeable about the trucking industry.
To speak with an experienced Georgia attorney about state and federal trucking regulations, contact Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC today. For decades, our firm has litigated truck collision cases where people have been catastrophically injured or killed. To discuss your case during a free, initial consultation, and learn how the federal motor carrier safety regulations will affect your ability to recover, call us at (404) 419-6674 or contact us online.
What Does The Federal Government Regulate?
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce the dangers of commercial vehicles traveling across the country. The FMCSA regulates the safety standards of many large truck companies, such as those that own construction vehicles, logging trucks, and 18-wheelers. Each state is permitted to implement its own specific rules for large trucks, however, all state regulations must be at least as protective as the federal regulations. Serious truck accidents typically happen when truck companies and their drivers violate DOT rules and regulations .
Commercial vehicles are defined by federal law as those vehicles that weigh at least 20,000 pounds, or transport at least 16 passengers, or are vehicles of any size that carry hazardous materials.
The FMCSA regulates many aspects of the trucking industry that includes:
- Crash indicators and frequency
If trucks, or trucking companies are accident prone, they might be flagged for removal from the roads.
- Driving safet
This includes many things from turning practices to seat belt usage.
- Hours of service (HOS)
Hours of service rules regulate how long a driver can be on the road. HOS penalties can lead to felony charges if the perpetrators purposefully act in violation of the law.
- Intoxicated drivers
Alcohol and drug use is closely monitored, and violators lose their ability to have a commercial vehicle license.
- Vehicle maintenance
There are standardized scores for truck roadworthiness, and violators can lose their ability to work.
- Hazardous materials
The federal government defines potentially dangerous cargo and makes strict rules that must be followed by truckers hauling those substances.
- Driver fitness
Licensing and even medical wellbeing are closely controlled by federal law.
Insurance Minimum Requirements
Truck accidents cause enormous damage. As a result, the law requires that all vehicles on the road carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage that protects accident victims. Since both state and federal governments appreciate the amount of damage that can be caused by a large commercial truck, they have established high minimum insurance requirements for these trucks. Georgia law already requires minimum policy limits of $100,000 per person affected and $300,000 total per accident.
Federal insurance requirements are:
- $750,000 – For trucks that weigh at least 10,000 pounds and do not carry hazardous material.
- $1,000,000 – For trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds that carry miscellaneous hazardous materials such as oil.
- $5,000,000 – For trucks that either carry at least 3,500 gallons of certain hazardous materials, or carrying certain highly dangerous materials such as explosives or contents that are poisonous if inhaled.
While a truck driver or trucking company may have insurance that covers your injuries after you have been the victim of an accident, you will still need experienced legal counsel to collect the compensation that you deserve. Insurance companies and trucking carriers seek to reduce their liability after a terrible accident, and they will have a team of lawyers working aggressively to you far less than the value of your claim. Skilled truck accident lawyers understand DOT regulations for truck drivers, and they can make sure you get everything that you deserve.
Winning The Damages That You Need
DOT truck regulations make the roads safer for all of us. However, they also work as guidelines to demonstrate how a careless trucker or trucking company failed to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident, such that they owe you compensation for your damages. However, it’s not always easy to recover damages for your injuries. The trucking company and its insurance carrier will not hand over money simply because you are hurt. Rather, you must make it absolutely clear to them that you have a strong case and you’re willing to go to trial if they do not offer a fair settlement.
Truckers and trucking companies routinely violate FMCSA regulations and cause horrific accidents. However, it’s possible that the truck driver that was involved in your accident did nothing wrong. Maybe the trucking company failed its obligations to keep you safe. There are many ways that can happen. One of the most common examples is when they fail to keep their trucks in good working condition. Third parties can also be responsible. For instance, if they poorly distributed the cargo weight when they loaded a truck, or they did not properly label hazardous material, they can be on the hook if their actions led to a terrible accident.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC consider all federal motor carrier safety regulations when we investigate a truck accident. In addition to determining the party responsible for causing your injuries, we will investigate:
- Driver background records and licensing
- Truck company history
- Third party loading practices
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Hours of service logs
- Driver medical and toxicology records
- Photo and video evidence
- Cell phone tower data
- Accident reconstruction data
- Police reports
Do Not Wait To Call Allen, Bills & Scofield, Injury Lawyers
Truck accidents injure or kill thousands of people in Georgia each year. The truck driver may have made the road unsafe due to reckless driving, or perhaps because they violated certain DOT laws or regulations. It’s important to find out if their employer also is responsible for causing the wreck. Given the state’s strict two-year statute of limitations window for filing an injury or wrongful death lawsuit, it’s important that you call a skilled Atlanta accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Truck accidents are technically complex and require a seasoned truck accident attorney. At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, we know that insurance companies will do everything in their power to avoid paying you what you deserve. We have successfully obtained tens of millions of dollars for our truck accident injury clients. Our decades of trial experience enables us to confidently take your case to trial if the insurance companies won’t reasonably negotiate with us.