An 18-wheeler accident could lead to catastrophic results, and victims could sustain more serious injuries. The impact of the commercial truck could demolish an automobile and increases the risk of a fatality. Victims who are injured in 18-wheeler accidents must follow guidelines for filing a lawsuit. An attorney can help them evaluate the findings from the accident investigation, and they could prevent common issues that lead to a dismissal of the personal injury claims. Determining what to do after an accident shows victims where to turn when they need help.
Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Regulations
Law enforcement evaluates the driver for violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. The laws require all commercial drivers to take an 8-hour rest period after all 12 to 14 hour driving shift. They must also log all their hours in a log book, and law enforcement reviews the log after an 18-wheeler accident. If the driver didn’t comply with these regulations, it’s possible that they were guilty of exhausted driving. Victims that were injured in a collision can contact an attorney if the commercial driver wasn’t compliant with FMCSA regulations.
A Drug and Alcohol Screening
All commercial drivers involved in an 18-wheeler accident must submit to a drug and alcohol screening. This is a term of the trucking company’s insurance to determine what liabilities the company faces. If the law enforcement officers suspect a DUI, they conduct a breathalyzer test on the scene of the accident. A commercial driver is guilty of a DUI if they have a blood-alcohol content reading of 0.04%. If the breathalyzer shows an illegal reading, the driver is arrested for DUI. This shows the driver committed a crime and gives the accident victims an immediate lawsuit.
A Comprehensive Inspection for the Commercial Vehicle
The commercial truck must undergo a comprehensive inspection. The inspection determines if the cargo weight exceeded legal weight limits, and this could indicate the driver didn’t stop at a weigh station when traveling on major highways. Unbalanced loads can cause an 18-wheeler accident.
Next, they evaluate the mechanical repairs and new installations. The trucking company must provide a log book for all maintenance and repairs for the truck. They trace the repairs back to a mechanic. The auto parts installed in the truck are identified by manufacturer. They assess the repairs and the parts for issues. If they are faulty, the mechanic and the auto parts manufacturer could be liable for the accident. They test every mechanical system for failures that could have caused the accident.
Pinpointing the Exact Cause of the Accident
The findings of the truck inspection and accident investigation determine the exact cause of the truck accident. The exact cause of the 18-wheeler accident defines what party is responsible for the accident. This information determines the defendants in a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim has an attorney, these details are available through discovery, and they must be disclosed to the accident victim’s attorney.
The Financial Losses Incurred by the Accident Victim
When it comes to commercial trucking accidents, the trucking company needs a full cost assessment for the victim’s financial losses. These losses start with the victim’s medical expenses. Auto repair costs and lost wages are added, too. However, if the victim sustained serious injuries, any ongoing medical expenses will be included in the claim. This includes medical treatment, in-home nursing, and/or fees for staying in a nursing home facility. If the victim has a traumatic brain injury, they may require around the clock care on a permanent basis, these costs must be considered when calculating the projected award.
Hiring an Attorney to Help You
Accident victims need legal help to prevent low-ball settlement offers and a denial of accountability. The attorney gets details pertaining to the accident that could help the m build a legal claim. This includes information from the truck inspection and accident evaluation. All 18-wheeler accidents require an investigation through federal authorities. The FMSCA and the Department of Transportation conduct investigations for these accidents according to where the accident happened. With 18-wheeler accidents, both federal agencies could get involved.
Who is the Lawsuit Defendant?
When filing a legal claim, the victim must know all parties involved. Their attorney can get information through discovery and add defendants according to these findings. This could include the trucking company, the driver, and any parties that didn’t enforce 18-wheeler regulations or traffic laws. It can also include a mechanic shop or auto parts manufacturers. Adding all defendants to the claim helps the victim hold all parties accountable for their role in causing the accident.
Settlement Offers and Insurance Claims
Trucking companies may try to settle the lawsuit out of court by filing an insurance claim for the victim’s financial losses. However, the settlement must include all expenses listed in the claim. If the victim has a permanent injury or disability, the trucking company may be liable for preventing the victim from supporting themselves financially. This could equate to lifetime earnings and a larger settlement if the insurer makes an offer to cover all costs incurred by the victim.
The victim should never talk to the trucking company, the driver, their legal team, or anyone involved with the defendant. They should allow their attorney to communicate their wishes to the trucking company or other defendants on their behalf. The defendant’s attorney could trick the victim into agreeing to a settlement without realizing they have. If this happens, it could affect the lawsuit negatively.
After an 18-wheeler accident, the trucking company must comply with all investigations and assessments. The driver must follow the guidelines of the FMSCA and DOT. This means they must submit to a drug or alcohol screening to ensure that they weren’t guilty of a DUI. The findings of the truck inspection and the accident investigation define what party is liable for the accident and how the accident happened. Trucking companies have insurance policies to cover accident-related expenses such as medical costs and auto repair expenses for the victim. Understanding 18-wheeler accident laws shows the victim what to do and why they may want to hire an attorney.