Legal Issues Unique to Truck Accidents

The Unique Legal Aspects of Truck Accidents

Tractor trailerIf you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident involving a large commercial truck, from an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer to a delivery van, there are specific legal concerns that differentiate your case from a typical crash involving a passenger vehicle. Here are the primary issues you need to address, and why it’s important to have an attorney who has experience handling a truck accident claim.

Commercial Truck Drivers and Trucking Companies are Subject to State and Federal Regulation

Companies that operate big rigs, semis and other large commercial vehicles must comply with a broad range of state and federal regulations, designed primarily to ensure the safety of everyone on the road:

  • Truckers must submit to mandatory drug and alcohol testing
  • There are limits on the length and weight load on a commercial truck
  • Truckers and trucking companies must perform regular routine maintenance and keep accurate logs showing compliance with maintenance requirements
  • Drivers must take regular breaks to avoid fatigue, with limits on the number of consecutive hours on the road, amount of time on the road over a 24-hour period and over a one-week period
  • Trucking companies must conduct pre-hiring screening
  • Drivers must have valid CDLs (commercial drivers licenses)

The Collection of Evidence May Be Compromised

Many modern trucks have complex computers that monitor a wide range of actions and motions. The data is typically stored in a “black box” and can be used to determine the cause of an accident. It’s not uncommon, though, in the aftermath of an accident, for the trucking company to repair the truck and “reset” the black box, so that critical information is lost therefore it is important to get a lawyer quickly.

It Can Be Difficult to Determine Who Is Primarily at Fault

There can be a lot of parties involved in the transportation of goods by a large commercial truck. For example, there will typically be a separate company that loads the truck, so that, if the accident was caused by overloading or poor weight distribution, that company may have liability. There may be operator error, negligence by the trucking company itself, or even defects in the manufacture or design of the truck.

If You Have Been Involved In A Truck Accident Contact Us

To set up a free initial consultation, call our office at (215) 458-2222 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged, if necessary.