Actual and potential truck driver negligence is to be taken seriously. Truck drivers are behind the wheels of massive vehicles that can do a great deal of damage. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and a driver error can lead to an accident that results in serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and fatalities.
When you are the victim of negligent driving by a trucker, you need to talk with an experienced attorney at Lugar Law PC. That truck driver should have been licensed, trained, experienced, and cautious. Their truck should have recently been inspected, well-maintained, and defect-free. But through our investigation, we may find that the truck driver?s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct led to the accident and your current injuries. When we can establish your accident was caused by a negligent truck driver, we will demand you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Call (540) 384-0348 and schedule a free consultation with us to discuss this possibility.
What Is Truck Driver Negligence?
Negligence is a failure to maintain a duty of care, which can cause another party harm.
Private individuals driving personal vehicles are held to this standard of care and must act as a reasonably prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances. Another way to think about this standard is that a driver in their personal car must be careful to avoid a collision.
Truck drivers, however, are held to a slightly different standard. Not just anyone can hop behind the wheel of a big rig and take it for a spin. To drive a truck, the motorist must obtain a Commercial Driver?s License (CDL) and have additional training. The CDL, and the fact that truckers are hauling cargo for compensation, makes them professionals.
As a professional, a truck driver should have a greater level of skill, knowledge, and experience than the average private motorist. These facts can matter in a case of trucker negligence.
When you are hurt in a collision because of a truck driver?s conduct, it can be reasonable to argue that the trucker should not behave as a reasonably prudent person in a car, but instead, that a trucker should be required to use the same knowledge, training, and skills other professional truckers would have used in the same or similar circumstances.
To put the concept succinctly, truck driver negligence occurs when a trucker fails to use the knowledge, skills, training, and experience they should have as a professional driver, causing a crash and your injuries.
Types of Truck Driver Negligence
At Lugar Law PC, we have worked on many cases and are reading to assist you with your negligent trucker case. Some of their most common forms of truck driver negligence include:
Driving without a valid CDL
To drive a large commercial truck, federal law requires a person must have a CDL. If a person lacks a current, valid CDL, driving a truck is illegal and negligent. This is true even if the trucker previously had a CDL that was suspended or revoked.
Lack of necessary endorsement
A CDL is not enough to qualify a trucker to operate all commercial vehicles or haul all types of cargo. Truck drivers need various endorsements, which means the trucker has received the necessary training to operate certain vehicles. For example, truckers may need a tank, HAZMAT, or double/triple trailer.
Driving over the Hours of Service requirements
Federal HOS regulations dictate how long truck drivers can operate a vehicle within certain durations. Truckers who drive beyond those limits may be overly tired and increase the risk of a crash.
Using electronics while driving
Long hauls can be boring, and trucks may try to fill the time by using their cell phones, watching movies, or playing games. Using electronic devices while driving is a dangerous distraction.
Truck drivers should stick to the posted speed limits or reduce their speed when traffic, weather, and road conditions call for it. Truckers who speed beyond the limit or what is safe for the circumstances are careless.
Driving while impaired
Hauling cargo across the state or country is challenging and tiring. Truckers may begin to rely on over-the-counter drugs or prescription medications to stay alert. These drugs can have serious side effects, including harming the trucker?s judgment. Some truckers abuse illegal drugs, which impacts their ability to operate a truck carefully and safely.
Following too closely
Truck drivers should know how much their rig and cargo weigh and how much room and time they need to slow down or come to a complete stop. Truckers who follow other vehicles too closely know they will cause a serious accident if the vehicle in front of them suddenly stops.
Failing to inspect the truck
Federal regulations require truckers to perform routine inspections on their vehicles. Truckers who lie about performing inspections or give inspections less than their full attention could miss a serious and dangerous defect.
Failing to secure cargo
The truck driver may not be the party responsible for loading and securing the cargo. However, the trucker is responsible for ensuring they can safely head out onto the road. A trucker who fails to review the security of the load is careless.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Truck Accident?
You may be confident your truck accident was caused by operator error or negligence, but to obtain compensation, you must prove it. We can help you establish your case in court or during an insurance claim.
Your testimony, as well as the testimony of other motorists who saw the accident happen, can be extremely helpful.
When you are injured in a complex or strongly contested truck accident, we may hire an accident reconstructionist to recreate the crash.
The truck driver?s testimony
The trucker?s testimony may reveal what they were doing in the minutes or seconds leading up to the crash.
The truck driver?s logbook
We will closely examine the trucker?s physical or electronic logbook to determine if they violated HOS regulations. We also will scrutinize the logbook and compare it to the truck?s data to determine if the trucker was fudging the books.
Dispatch communication records can help us identify if the truck driver was doing something they should not have. It also can show us the trucking company directed the trucker to violate HOS regulations.
We will carefully review whether the trucker had the proper qualifications to operate that type of vehicle and haul that type of cargo at the time of the accident. They also show us if the company received any complaints about that trucker?s driving.
The trucker?s driving record
We will look into whether the truck driver has a history of traffic violations or accidents while driving their personal or commercial vehicle.
Truck?s electronic data
Most modern commercial trucks have an electronic data recorder, casually known as a black box. We will obtain a copy of this data to determine what the truck was doing in the minutes or seconds before the accident. This can tell us how fast the truck was moving, when or if the trucker braked, and more.
Let us Fight for Your Truck Accident Compensation
When you have been hit by a negligent truck driver and injured, you need to prepare a thorough and strong case. By finding the evidence to prove the truck driver?s negligence, you have the best chance of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Gathering this evidence on your own can be tough, if not near impossible. Much of the evidence is under the truck driver and trucking company?s control. You need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the trucker and their employer and then, can demand copies of this evidence during discovery. This is an essential step in an in-depth truck accident investigation.
When you can prove truck driver negligence and your injuries, the law may entitle you to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.
To talk more about how we establish truck driver negligence and win our client?s compensation, call (540) 384-0348. We offer free initial consultations.