What Happens When a Trucking Accident Occurs?

October 24, 2019 Truck Accident Blog

A Complete Guide to Truck Accidents

Approximately 70 percent of the goods that are transported across the country are brought to us by trucks, so these huge vehicles on our roads that everyone likes to disparage are highly useful to all of us. Unfortunately, when collisions occur between trucks and motor vehicles, they have devastating consequences for everyone. In 2012, 3,825 people died in a trucking accident, and in 2013, there were even more at 3,906 fatalities.

Rules and Regulations Governing Trucking Accident Law

It is highly important that truck drivers follow the state and federal rules and regulations when it comes to trucking law. These rules and regulations were put in place to protect both drivers of trucks and everyone else on the road. When these laws are broken, serious consequences result.

One agency that is charged with keeping the roads safe by enacting rules for drivers of trucks to follow is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The purpose of the FMCSA is to reduce the number of collisions that trucks have each year. In so doing, they reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries due to accidents with trucks. The FMCSA has mandated that:

  • A truck driver is not allowed to start a shift unless he or she has been off duty for at least the 10 previous hours.
  • A driver of a truck may not drive more than 11 hours of a 14-hour shift.
  • If a driver is on duty for a seven-day shift, he or she may not drive any longer than 60 hours during the shift. If drivers are on eight-day shifts, they must not drive longer than 70 hours during the shift.
  • Drivers may not start a 14-hour shift unless they have been off duty for at least 10 hours.

Causes of Accidents Between Trucks and Other Vehicles

A large portion of the common causes of accidents is related to the behavior of the driver of the truck. For example:

  • The driver used prescription drugs.
  • The driver consumed alcohol.
  • The driver consumed illicit drugs.
  • The driver consumed over-the-counter medications.
  • The driver was tired.
  • The driver was speeding.

The use of prescription drugs and speeding are the main causes of most collisions between trucks and other vehicles.

What Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Do?

After a trucking accident has occurred, your accident attorney will need to demonstrate to the court that the driver of the truck and others were responsible for the critical outcome. It will not be easy for you to do this if you are not an expert in law. That’s why you must not think about talking to the driver’s insurance company on your own. The other side is going to have experienced attorneys, and they will go out of their way to take advantage of you. Therefore, your best bet is to hire a personal injury lawyer.

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Most likely, your attorney is going to present evidence to the court that the driver of the truck was negligent. If it’s found that the driver of the truck was negligent, he or she will be held responsible for your injuries and pain and suffering. You could receive a sum of money to compensate you for your losses.

Your personal injury attorney will be required to prove that:

  • You are owed a duty of care by the driver who hit you.
  • The driver who hit you breached his or her duty of care.
  • The breach of duty of care was the cause of your injuries.
  • The injuries caused you to suffer economic losses as well as losses that are not economic.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Causing Your Injuries?

Depending on the details of your case, your attorney may file a claim against:

  • The person driving the truck at the time of the collision
  • The company that owns the truck
  • The manufacturer of the truck

Possible Damages in Your Trucking Accident Case

The injuries that you sustain in a collision with a truck can be much more serious than those that result after a collision with a smaller vehicle. Of course, the reason is that trucks weigh so much more than the average car. On average, medical bills for the treatment of injuries caused by trucks usually amount to more than $100,000. In addition, these serious injuries often result in permanent disability.

The guilty party responsible for your injuries will not be able to take you back to the place and person you were before the accident happened, but you could be compensated for the financial losses that you suffered and the emotional distress the accident caused you. There are several types of damages that your attorney can request that you receive.

Monetary damages compensate you for the financial losses that your injuries caused you. You could receive a sum of money so that you are able to pay your bills. If you were unable to show up at your job because your injury prevented you from working, you may also be entitled to lost wages. These damages can be awarded based on the type of injury, its seriousness and the length of time that you suffered from it.

Some damages are for losses that are not financial in nature. They may be awarded to compensate you for any pain and suffering that you are experiencing. Loss of consortium is an example of this type of loss, which means that the victim cannot provide a spouse or another loved one with the same level of companionship or affection he or she did before the accident.

If your loved one dies in a trucking accident, you may receive wrongful death damages. You can receive these damages to compensate you for the loss of your main breadwinner, the expenses for burying your loved one, the medical expenses that were incurred before the death and your emotional distress.

It is rare that punitive damages are awarded, but it is possible that the court could award them to you if your case is especially egregious. Punitive damages are awarded when the court wishes to punish a person for committing actions that led to another individual’s death. These damages are not meant to just compensate you; they are also used for punishing the other driver for acting recklessly. The other driver will have had to have acted without regard for the health and safety of those around him or her.

Punitive damages may be awarded if several people were injured or killed due to the reckless actions of another person. When these damages are awarded, the court wishes to prevent others from engaging in the same types of actions as well as punish the offender.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a collision with a truck, do not hesitate to contact us at RAM Law today. Our phone number for our New Brunswick, New Jersey, office is (732) 247-3600. You can reach our Somerville, New Jersey, office at (908) 448-2560. You can also email us at contact@ram.law.

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