Each day, Louisville motorists share interstates and major roads with large commercial trucks. It's very common for drivers of smaller cars to get nervous in the presence of a large truck. Once a large truck careens out of control, the damage it causes is often catastrophic. Due to the size and weight of large commercial trucks, multiple people can sustain serious or fatal injuries from a single crash. Establishing liability after a truck accident is often a painstaking and complicated process. That's because trucking companies often go to great lengths to cover up any wrongdoing on their part. They hire their own team of investigators and adjustors to yield biased evidence. Sometimes, they even destroy, hide, or forge documents to avoid liability.
According to state crash statistics, 114 people were killed on Kentucky roads in crashes involving large trucks. Many more sustained injuries. When you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need a skilled and dedicated legal advocate on your side. The attorneys at The Whaley Law Firm know exactly what to look for when investigating trucking companies and helping victims build strong cases. Here's what you need to know when pursuing a truck accident claim.
Trucking companies must comply with strict federal laws
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established several federal rules and regulations that trucking companies must comply with. When trucking companies fail to comply with these regulations, they endanger other road users and can be found liable as a result.
The most common regulations pertaining to truck accidents are:
- Hours of service of drivers - Under the federal hours-of-service law, truck drivers can only work for 14 hours within a 24-hour period, with 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time between shifts. During their shifts, they can only drive for 11 hours. Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break within 8 hours of being on duty.
- Inspection, repair, and maintenance - Mechanical failures often result in serious truck accidents. Federal law requires trucking companies to inspect, repair, and maintain all commercial vehicles.
- Drug and alcohol testing - Trucking companies are required to administer drug tests when hiring new drivers. Additionally, they must conduct random drug tests and prohibit drivers from duty when they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Drivers who have been suspended must also undergo return-to-duty testing before they can begin driving again. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for truck drivers is 0.04 — half the limit for non-commercial drivers.
- Hiring of drivers - Drivers must have completed truck driving school and have a valid commercial driver's license. Additionally, drivers must have a clean driving record and be physically and cognitively able to operate a large truck.
Louisville law firm experienced at dealing with trucking companies
The legal team at The Whaley Law Firm knows that trucking companies and their insurers have an advantage over crash victims. We know the tricks they use to avoid paying victims and their families. We won't stand for it. If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck crash, our attorneys would be glad to discuss your legal options during a free legal consultation.
Our law firm will conduct a thorough investigation into your truck crash and gather the facts. This will likely include:
- Checking the truck driver's hours-of-service logs.
- Getting access to the truck driver's "black box" to check for speeding, reckless driving, or sudden braking.
- Getting access to the trucking company's maintenance and inspection records.
- Obtaining driver hiring records.
- Interviewing witnesses and cross-referencing their statements with other evidence.
- Obtaining video surveillance footage from inside or outside of the cab (if possible).
When you hire The Whaley Law Firm to handle your truck accident case, you can count on us to leave no stone unturned. We'll work tirelessly to build your case and fight to maximize your compensation. Contact us online or call our Louisville law office to get started.