If you suffered injuries in a Miramar trucking accident, you might be entitled to compensation. However, filing — and winning — a claim for injuries sustained in a truck accident requires knowledge of the laws that truckers and trucking companies must follow, and an understanding of how liability in a truck accident works.
The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine has this knowledge and an in-depth understanding of how truck accident claims work. To schedule a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Miramar, call us today: 800-747-3733.
What Laws Must Trucking Companies and Drivers Follow?
All drivers must follow the rules of the road. However, truckers and trucking companies have additional laws they must follow.
Driving Time Restrictions
To maximize profit, many trucking companies require drivers to be on the road without rest for extended periods of time. According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, driving after receiving only six to seven hours of sleep a night doubles a driver’s chances of having an accident. That risk is four to five times as high if the driver has slept less than five hours.
For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted strict laws that limit how long drivers can remain behind the wheel. Truck drivers cannot legally drive more than 60 hours over seven days, or 70 hours over eight days of work per week. Drivers must also take 30-minute breaks every eight hours. Drivers must note how long they operate their truck, how often they take breaks, and how long they sleep in their hours of service logs.
If a driver or trucking company disobeys these rules and an accident occurs, the driver or company can be liable for any injuries that occur.
The legal limit for truck drivers is much lower than for private drivers. Because intoxicated driving has been a problem with truck drivers, FMCSA requires all trucking companies test drivers who cause an accident that results in an injury, death, or damage that requires a tow truck to remove vehicles from the scene.
If the truck driver’s test results come back with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.04, he is legally intoxicated and behaved negligently by getting behind the wheel.
FMCSA prohibits handheld phone use. Drivers cannot text or hold their phone while they talk. Drivers can only make phone calls if they only need to press one button.
Drivers who cause accidents while distracted can be liable for any injuries.
Large trucks require regular maintenance. If we can prove the trucking company failed to maintain its fleet, we can hold it liable for any accident that resulted from a lack of maintenance. We might also be able to hold a mechanic shop liable if sloppy maintenance led to the crash.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries?
Driving a truck requires special skill and training. When a driver operates a truck negligently and causes an accident, he may be responsible for your injuries. However, because of a law called vicarious liability (i.e., responsibility for employees’ actions when they take them within the scope of their employment), the trucking company will likely be your liable party.
To prove the trucking company is liable, we must be able to prove the driver acted negligently and that the trucking company is the driver’s employer (i.e., the driver is not an independent contractor).
Truck drivers can be negligent if they:
- Drive while fatigued, distracted, or intoxicated
- Follow too closely
- Merge or change lanes without checking blind spots or using turn signals
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Breaking traffic laws
- Failing to secure a load
Trucking Company Negligence
While a trucking company is vicariously liable for its employees’ actions, it can also be directly liable. If a trucking company forced its driver to stay behind the wheel longer than allowed, hired a driver with a history of reckless driving, failed to take a dangerous driver out of rotation, or failed to maintain its fleet, it might be liable for any injuries that occur.
What Evidence Do I Need to Have to Prove the Driver Was at Fault?
To recover compensation for your injuries, we must gather various pieces of evidence. This evidence, depending on how the accident occurred, might include:
- Surveillance video
- Police report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Drug and alcohol test results
- Hours of service logs
- Maintenance reports
- Personnel records
- The truck itself
Obtaining the evidence we need can be difficult because the trucking company holds most of it. Even worse, the trucking company can destroy some of it after a certain period of time. We will send a spoliation letter immediately to ensure the preservation of the evidence we need.
Can I Recover Compensation for My Injuries?
Yes, you can recover compensation for anything the accident cost you. However, the trucking company and its insurers will likely be unwilling to give you the compensation you deserve. After proving the truck driver, trucking company, or mechanic was liable for your injuries, we will establish your eligibility for damages, which might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish (e.g., depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Miscellaneous expenses, such as parking fees for doctor’s appointments or the costs of modifying your home or vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair
Evidence we might use to prove your damages includes:
- Medical records (to prove your injuries)
- Medical bills
- Payroll records or W-2s
- Expert testimony from your doctors
- Expert testimony from financial experts to determine how much you might have made over your lifetime had the accident not happened
- Testimony from friends and family to establish noneconomic damages
Experts can also help explain how your injuries will affect you in the future. For example, an expert may testify that you will likely need future medical procedures or that you may not be able to obtain a promotion at your job.
When calculating your future medical needs or lost wages, our experts will also consider future inflation.
A mental health expert can help prove how your accident and injuries have affected your mental health.
Schedule a FREE Consultation With a Miramar Truck Accident Attorney Today.
Truck accidents can take so much from you. We can help you get it back. The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine knows how to obtain and review the evidence required to get you the compensation you need. Contact us today at 800-747-3733 for a free consultation to discuss your trucking accident case.