Truck Accident FAQs

What are the dangers associated with large trucks on the roadways?
Answer:

  • No-Zones – Large trucks have no-zones, or blind spots,
    that are located around the front, back, and sides of the
    truck. When a car is in the No-Zone, the truck driver is usually
    unable to see it. At these times, a large truck could turn
    into a passing car and a serious accident could result.
  • Squeeze Play – Tractor-trailer trucks need to swing wide
    to the left in order to negotiate a right turn. When truck
    drivers make wide right turns; they are often unable to see
    smaller vehicles directly behind or beside them. When a car
    cuts between the truck and a curb, the car can be caught in
    a squeeze, and a serious accident can occur.
  • Stopping Distance – Big rig trucks need a greater stopping
    distance than other vehicles. If there is not enough stopping
    distance between a car and a large truck, the car risks being
    involved in a rear-end collision.
  • “Off-track” – Occurs w hen a truck turns at high
    speed and swings into an adjacent lane unexpectedly.
    Unlike passenger vehicles, transport trucks require up to
    40 percent more space to stop. Following too closely
    results in inadequate stopping distance between large trucks
    which then rear-end vehicles in front. It is not difficult
    to imagine the devastating results that occur when a car,
    van or SUV is hit from behind with over 10,000 lbs. of moving
    metal.

What are some of the causes of tractor-trailer collisions on America’s highways and secondary roads?
Answer:
There are many different reasons for accidents involving large
trucks include negligence on the part of the truck driver or the other vehicles involved.

Others include:

  • Aggressive drivers
  • Unrealistic schedules
  • Failure to inspect tires, brakes and lights
  • Tailgating
  • Long work-shifts
  • Driver fatigue
  • Cell phone use
  • Failure to install blind spot mirrors
  • Jackknifing
  • Speeding and ignoring reduced truck speed limit

Why are traffic accidents involving a commercial trucks more likely to cause injury than one involving a passenger car?
Answer:
Trucking accidents are different from auto accidents in many
ways, one of the most serious being the extent of damages and
injuries when a truck and an automobile collide. A typical fully
loaded large commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more,
while an average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000
pounds. Due to this size disparity, and the basic laws of physics,
any collision between a commercial truck and another vehicle
is likely to result in serious, even fatal, injuries.

Are there any state or federal regulations governing truck drivers?
Answer:
There are both state and federal regulations, that trucking companies are required to follow.

Some of those laws include the following:

  • Trucking companies are required to follow the Federal Motor
    Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations concerning
    equipment and hours of service.
  • Truck drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log.
  • Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry
    certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature
    of the materials hauled. These regulations protect victims
    of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have
    the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.
  • The Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
    requires that individual States, and other political jurisdictions
    unify to develop and implement programs that will ultimately
    improve motor carrier, CMV, and driver safety and establish
    a safer and more efficient transportation system.
  • Commercial driver’s license standards are federal regulations
    in place to reduce or prevent truck accidents and resulting
    injuries and/or deaths by requiring drivers of certain vehicles
    to obtain a single commercial motor vehicle driver’s license.
  • Both Pennsylvania State and/or federal law, depending on
    whether the truck was involved in intrastate or interstate
    transport may govern truck accidents.

What are the regulations regarding prohibited conduct for truck drivers?
Answer:
A driver will not be allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle
if he/she engages in prohibited conduct.

Prohibited conduct includes:

  • Reporting for duty with a blood alcohol concentration of
    0.02 or greater,
  • Possessing alcohol unless it is part of a shipment, including
    medications like cough syrup or cold medicine that contain
    alcohol,
  • Consuming alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions,
  • Consuming alcohol within 8 hours preceding an accident,
  • Reporting for duty while using any drug that affects the
    driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, or
  • Refusing to submit to any DOT mandated alcohol or drug
    test.

What role does alcohol and drug use play in tractor trailer wrecks?
Answer:
Over a period of one year, a study of truck driver
fatalities was conducted by The National Transportation
Safety Board and The National Institute on Drug
Abuse in eight states. Comprehensive drug screenings were performed
on blood specimens taken from 168 fatally injured drivers. One
or more drugs was detected in 67% of these fatally injured drivers
and 33% of these drivers had detectable blood concentrations
of psychoactive drugs or alcohol.

Are there trucking regulations governing the number of hours a truck driver can operate in a 24 hour period?
Answer:
Driver fatigue and drowsiness are conditions that result in reckless
behavior such as failure to keep in the proper lane and running off the road.
Tired truckers are of such concern that in April of 2003, the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) instituted
new hours of service regulations to curb truckers’ problems
with fatigue. While these laws have helped reduce the
number of accidents, the U.S. National Transportation Safety
Board still blames driver fatigue as a probable factor in 20-40%
of truck crashes.

How can I handle trucking companies or their insurance carriers after a truck accident?
Answer:
You should immediately consult with an experienced florida truck accident
lawyer. Truck companies have their own investigators and attorneys
working hard to dismiss liability. One of the worst decisions
individuals can make is to negotiate directly with trucking
companies, insurance adjusters, or the trucking company lawyers.
Most trucking companies are highly skilled at truck accident
investigation and claims. Anything you say or sign may be held
against you further down the road.

What is the statute of limitation in Florida for filing a personal injury claim because of a tractor-trailer accident?
Answer:
Four Years

Why should a lawyer be hired as soon as possible?
Answer:
The major trucking companies will immediately have lawyers hired
and working for them. The scene must be secure. Photographers
and statements must be taken as soon after the accident as possible.
Many important pieces of evidence helpful to you can be lost,
misplaced or be purposely destroyed.

Who can be sued in an accident involving commercial trucks?
Answer:
The person and/or company responsible and at fault for causing
the accident can be sued. This includes the truck driver and
the trucking company, the owner of the trailer, the shipper,
as well as 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.

What kind of a lawyer should I hire?
Answer:
You should choose the Garcia Law Firm that has handled many trucking
injury cases. These cases require a specialist in the Federal
Motor carrier Safety Rules and Regulations. They also require
lawyers familiar with fleet maintenance procedures. Garcia, Artigliere & Schadrack
has experienced lawyers to handle the investigation and litigation
of your claim. Steve has successfully represented truck accident/injury
suits throughout Florida.

Is the investigation of a truck accident important?
Answer:
It is critical. A thorough investigation must be performed to
establish the fault of another. An investigation will include
the examination of the scene and vehicles involved, and obtaining
of statements from witnesses. Be sure that you do not move your
vehicle after the accident. It will be a major part of the investigation.

Will expert witnesses be used to prove fault in a truck accident case?
Answer:
Often, unless there is no question that one party was completely at fault,
a plaintiff in any serious injury or death case involving a truck should
retain an expert with expertise in the design, manufacturing, and operation
of trucks and the rules of the trucking industry.

Where is the case be filed?
Answer:
This will be determined by where the accident happened and the residence addresses of all the parties.

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