Commercial drivers must follow all traffic laws to lower the odds of being in an accident. If the driver causes an 18-wheeler accident, they may face serious penalties, especially if they are intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances. The laws reduce the blood-alcohol content reading for commercial drivers, and they are guilty with a reading of 0.04%.
After an 18-wheeler accident, the authorities must complete a variety of assessments to determine what caused the accident and if there were any violations of state or federal laws or regulations. The accidents require additional information to determine who was at fault for the accident. Reviewing the laws pertaining to 18-wheeler accidents helps victims identify the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
An Investigation to Find the Cause
After any 18-wheeler accident, the commercial truck accident requires a thorough investigation of the event. These accidents are not managed in the same way as an auto accident, and federal and state laws may apply to the accident and how it happened. Commercial drivers must follow additional laws when operating an 18-wheeler, and if they do not comply, they could face serious penalties. Victims of 18-wheeler accidents can find out more about filing a legal claim by contacting Uvalle Law Firm now.
Assessments for the Driver
An assessment for the driver determines if they are under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substances. If the officers suspect a DUI, they can require the commercial driver to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the commercial driver was injured, the doctor treating them will conduct a toxicology screen per the terms of the commercial auto insurance policy. The driver is also assessed for exhausted driving, and if there is any presence of stimulants in the driver’s bloodstream, the driver could face termination, as the substances will generally violate the trucking company’s policies.
Did the Commercial Driver Follow Federal Regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all commercial drivers to fill out a driving log that shows all their driving hours. Some companies use electronic driving logs that make it difficult for the driver to alter the information. According to FMCSA regulations, all commercial drivers must take part in an eight-hour resting period after all 12-hour driving shifts. If the driver wasn’t complying with these regulations, the trucking company could face penalties.
Did the Driver Stop at Weigh Stations on the Interstate?
Weigh stations are set up along highways and interstates for commercial drivers to weigh their commercial vehicle. With an 18-wheeler, an unbalanced load could lead to an accident if the truck jackknifed because of the irregularity of the load. If the driver failed to stop at a weigh station, this is also a violation of the law, and the trucking company is liable if the commercial driver caused an accident.
When Was the Truck Serviced?
The commercial vehicles must be serviced properly to ensure they follow all DOT and EPA regulations. The trucks must be serviced to ensure they operate properly and do not present a risk to others on the road. When an accident happens, the truck is inspected according to the servicing record, any new parts or repairs are evaluated. If the parts are faulty, the manufacturer may be deemed accountable for the accident and the victim’s injuries. If the repairs weren’t performed properly, the mechanic could face liabilities for the accident. If the truck emits harmful gases or if the trucking company failed to complete a safety inspection, the trucking company is at fault.
Is the 18-Wheeler Owned by an Individual or a Trucking Company?
Determining who owns the commercial vehicle may also determine who is at fault in the 18-wheeler accident. Trucking companies and owner-operators own 18-wheelers, and the owner of the vehicle is the one who faces the liability of the 18-wheeler accident. The owner of the commercial vehicle must maintain commercial truck insurance coverage. After an accident happened, the commercial truck owner must file a claim to compensate the victim for their financial losses.
The insurer may present a settlement to compensate the victim, but it is recommended that the victim consult an attorney before accepting a settlement. If the victim faces ongoing medical costs, they will need an attorney to help them negotiate a settlement that covers their medical expenses fully. If the trucking company presents a lower-than-average settlement, the attorney may recommend continuing with the legal claim against the trucking company.
When to Start a Legal Claim
Accident victims must gather evidence to support their claim against the commercial driver. The victims need medical records that show they sustain injuries in the 18-wheeler accident, and they need estimates showing their vehicle repair costs or replacement expenses. If they lost wages because of their injuries, the victim must include a statement from their employer that shows how much they lost. Calculating all financial losses helps the victim present accurate details about what they have lost because of the accident.
What Happens If the Victim Dies?
If the victim dies, the state requires an autopsy of the victim to establish the cause of death. If the victim died as a result of their 18-wheeler accident, their family has the right to start a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company and the commercial driver. The purpose of the wrongful death lawsuit is to collect financial losses related to the victim’s death. This includes medical expenses, funeral costs, and financial support.
An 18-wheeler accident could lead to profound injuries that could alter the victim’s life forever. When reviewing the cause of the accident, an investigation of the driver and vehicle begins. The trucking company must start an insurance claim to compensate the victims if the commercial driver is at fault. However, if the insurance coverage doesn’t provide enough coverage for all medical treatment, the victim will need to start a legal claim to recover their financial losses. If the driver was guilty of a DUI, the victim may receive restitution through a criminal case. Reviewing personal injury laws helps the victim determine their next move.