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Truck Driver Accident FAQs

 

What are the common causes of truck accident?

There may be a multitude of reasons and causes for the accident. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:

  • Lack of Training on the part of the truck driver;
  • li>Overloaded Trucks;
  • Oversized Trucks;
  • Poorly maintained brakes on the trucks;
  • Driving in conditions of poor visibility due to smoke, fog,snow, or rain;
  • Truck driver inexperience;
  • Fatigued, sleepy or tired driver driving too long and too many hours without rest;
  • Speeding over the limit or driving at speeds or beyond the road and weather conditions;
  • Running off the road;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Aggressive driving behavior;
  • Truck drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol while driving;
  • Driving the truck in bad weather conditions;
  • Dangerous or reckless truck driver with a long record of wrecks and accidents;
  • Unsafe safety systems, reflectors, lights and other warning devices and
  • Failure to have an under-ride or under-guard protection system installed on a truck.

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How do I deal with a trucking company or their insurance carriers after a semi truck accident?

One thing you have to know is that you are not negotiating on level ground when dealing with a trucking company after a semi accident.  Most trucking companies are highly skilled at truck accident investigations and claims.  These adjusters represent the truck company, not you.  Do not give them any type of statements or sign any releases for medical records or employment records.  Often the medical release allows the adjuster to talk to the doctors without you or your representative being present.

Truck companies have accident investigators that are on call and dispatched to the scene of the crash as soon as the trucking company learns there has been an accident.  Further, while the families of the accident victims are tending to medical care, rehabilitative therapies, or funeral arraignments, the trucking company is investigating the accident and setting up their defense.  This is why the victims of truck accidents need to have a team of investigators on their side, fighting for their rights.

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Is my case any different if I am injured, or a family member is killed, in a tanker truck accident by a truck?

Yes. Although the same laws of negligence will apply for a tanker truck accident, there are special Vehicle Code sections which apply only to commercial truck drivers and trucking companies and there are special licensing and training requirements of truck drivers which generally make a tanker truck crash harder to defend and easier to win for plaintiffs.

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Are trucking companies regulated by the Federal Government?

Yes.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes rules and regulations that govern commercial motor vehicles and the companies who operate these vehicles.  Their stated purpose is to attempt to make the roadways and interstate highways safer.

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Does Federal law limit the hours that a trucker can operate his truck?

Yes. Since 1939, Federal law has placed restrictions on the "hours of service" that a trucker may operate his truck. Recent changes have been made to these rules for the first time in over 60 years. These rules are designed to promote safety by helping to ensure that truck drivers are getting the needed rest to operate their big rigs safely.

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Are trucks required by Federal law to carry insurance?

Yes. Federal law requires commercial vehicles traveling in interstate commerce to carry $750,000 of insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Most State laws also impose minimum insurance requirements on trucks not covered under Federal law.

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Who can sue in a truck accident death or injury case?

Anyone who is injured or the family members of a deadly truck accident can sue as long as some other person or entity is at fault for the truck accident death.  This includes adults and children (who can sue through guardians or parents); and even truck drivers if another person or entity was at fault for the accident.

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Who can be sued in a semi truck accident case?

Any person or entity that was at fault for causing an accident can be sued.  This includes the truck driver, the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, and the shipper.  In addition, any other driver, person or entity who in anyway contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved in the accident, the manufacturer of a tire that contributed to the accident or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident.

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Is investigation important in a truck accident case?

Yes.  It is critical.  If the truck was commercially owned ex. Cement Truck Accident, in most situations large trucking companies will perform their own investigation immediately after the accident.  This puts you at a vast disadvantage.  It is important that you retain an attorney who will immediately investigate the case to attempt to pin down liability on any potential at-fault defendants.

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Are expert witnesses necessary to prove fault in a truck accident case?

In some cases.  Unless there is no question that one party was completely at fault, the plaintiff’s lawyer should usually retain an expert in any serious injury or death case involving a truck.  Further, that expert should have special expertise in the design, manufacture and operation of trucks and the rules of the trucking industry.

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What damages can I, or the survivors of a loved one, recover in a truck accident injury or death case?

Each state has a different law.  A seriously injured plaintiff may be entitled to recover all of his or her past and future medical expenses associated with the accident; past and future loss of income/earning capacity; damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant.  If a person dies in a truck accident, the survivors may recover monetary damages for their economic losses, emotional distress, loss of companionship, love, and comfort.

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How soon must I bring an injury or death case based on a truck accident?

Each state has different laws regarding Big Rig Accidents and/or wrongful death action.  In some states, a truck accident case must be brought within two years of the date of the decedent's death

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Do I need an attorney to litigate my truck accident case?

Yes.  Unless you have an inconsequential injury, which is rare in truck accident cases, you will need to retain an attorney to establish liability against any potential defendants and help maximize your damage recovery.

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If you or your loved ones have been injured in a commercial trucking accident, contact the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. Learn about your legal rights by filling out our Free Case Evaluation Form. An experienced attorney specializing in truck accident litigation is available to discuss your legal options. Call TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 .

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The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claim, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney from the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. by calling TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 OR by filling out the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
1811 Bering Drive, Suite 300     Houston, TX 77057     Toll Free: 1-800-773-6770     Fax: 713-668-1980