Being involved in an accident can be a highly confusing or stressful affair, however, if the accident is caused by a commercial truck, the accident can be even more stressful and confusing. The sheer size of a commercial truck practically ensures that any injuries sustained will be serious in nature. In addition, trucking accidents often involve more than 2 vehicles which thereby compounds the situation and leads to additional complexity. Thus it is critical for people who have been in trucking accidents to have a modicum of awareness regarding the laws related to the trucking industry. Commercial trucks generally weigh over 10,000 pounds and can include big rigs, 18 wheelers as well as tractor trailers.
Generally, the maximum allowed weight for a commercial truck is 80,000 pounds. Research has indicated that most trucking accidents involve trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or more. Therefore it can be inferred that the weight and momentum of commercial trucks cause devastating consequences for the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved. Federal regulations have also been passed after realizing the significant risk that commercial trucks present, to try to make these trucks as safe as possible. Commercial trucks that cross state lines on route to their destination are subject to federal regulations. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is the federal agency with the authority to register commercial trucks and establish regulations pertaining to these vehicles
The FMCSA has specific requirements related to all operational aspects of commercial trucks including training, licensing and operating these vehicles. These federal regulations dictate the number of hours a truck driver can drive before taking a mandatory break and the minimum length of their off-duty period. Federal regulations also apply to documented vehicle inspection, keeping and maintaining logs and preservation of other records. Trucking companies that violate these regulations can be charged with fines and assessed other penalties as per FMCSA regulations. Trucking companies must keep a record of safety and compliance which is accessible to the public. This record is of critical importance particularly in a personal injury lawsuit. Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System is accessible online as well as the Motor Carrier Management Information System. These sites are regularly updates regarding trucking companies so that people can view any changes in the company’s safety rating over time.
It is absolutely critical to start an investigation as early as possible after an accident involving a commercial truck before any relevant evidence is lost. A competent personal injury lawyer or their investigators are able to collect pertinent evidence to support your claim. Certain pieces of evidence must be collected or preserved in a timely manner to avoid its spoliation. Pictures can be taken of the accident scene, the damage to both vehicles and any other signs of the accident on the road. It is also important to interview eyewitnesses and get their accounts recorded while their memories are fresh. Although these are common steps in any traffic accident, there are additional steps that the attorneys or their investigators must take in accidents involving commercial trucks. Commercial trucks generally maintain electronic data which can also be helpful in establishing a claim. This data may include information such as when brakes were applied and the speed the vehicle was traveling at before the collision.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a commercial truck in Georgia it is critical that you hire a competent and experienced personal injury law firm such as the Angell law firm in Atlanta to gather relevant evidence in a timely manner thereby ensuring that your injury claim is resolved in a favorable manner and you get the compensation that you truly deserve.
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