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Any time someone gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, they assume a duty to drive carefully and responsibly. This is no different with trucks—because of how large and unwieldy they can be, operating commercial vehicles requires the utmost attention and skill on behalf of truck drivers. Even the slightest lapse in judgment can lead to a catastrophic, life-altering collision.
The consequences of a truck crash can be especially debilitating for the drivers of smaller vehicles. If you have been in an accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence, you may face costly medical care and rehabilitation for the foreseeable future. You should not be responsible for covering the costs of a crash that was not your fault. After your injuries are stabilized, contact a Marietta truck accident lawyer to discover your legal options. Our team of personal injury attorneys can negotiate with insurers or file a lawsuit against those responsible for the compensation you deserve.
Ohio has set safety rules and regulations when it comes to operating commercial trucks. A failure on behalf of a truck driver or their employer to adhere to these parameters can be the basis of a negligence claim.
Owners of trucking companies are often profit-driven and will do anything to complete more deliveries in less time. Some owners may even bribe their drivers with cash bonuses if they bend the rules of the road, both federal and state, to make this happen. As a result, truckers often exceed the number of hours the FMCSA allows them to drive in a 24-hour or any seven-day period.
Additionally, many trucks sport ‘black boxes’ or similar onboard cameras that will record unusual motion such as an accident. Such footage has been known to disappear if a plaintiff’s Marietta attorney does not demand this evidence immediately following the truck collision. This evidence is critical when building a negligence case after a crash.
Not everyone can jump into a commercial truck and drive off. In Ohio, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required before logging hours on the road as a paid trucker. To earn a CDL, candidates must:
Following an accident, a knowledgeable Marietta attorney can assemble evidence by scrutinizing onboard black box and camera evidence, truck maintenance records, and whether the driver possesses a valid CDL license. Any irregularities could indicate that the driver is liable, as well as the trucking company (under the doctrine of vicarious liability). This means that the company that owns the truck can be held responsible for a driver’s actions while performing his or her duties.
Trucking companies are required by federal law to carry more accident insurance than automobile owners. Under the US Code of Federal Regulations § 387.9, commercial carriers whose routes extend beyond Ohio must carry $750,000 in liability insurance and as much as $5 million if they are transporting hazardous cargo. A Marietta truck accident attorney can instigate litigation against the negligent parties if an insurance settlement does not adequately compensate an injured party.
Because truck accidents are often catastrophic, it is essential for truckers to adhere to the state and federal safety laws set forth. In addition to these regulations, truckers must be granted a special license and cannot drive to the point of exhaustion. Commercial vehicles also feature equipment and logs that can chart the driver’s actions and the truck’s road performance.
Accidents still happen despite all of these measures that intend to protect others on the road. If you were harmed because of a truck driver’s negligence, the insurance company, driver, or trucking company may be liable for your injuries. Contact our firm today to speak to a Marietta truck accident lawyer about your unique situation.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law