Federal Trucking Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets forth detailed federal trucking regulations, which apply to drivers and trucking companies in interstate commerce. A violation of these regulations may be an important factor in a personal injury claim arising out of a collision with an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle. However, it may require some investigation to recognize FMCSA regulations violations, which is why it is important to consult a truck accident lawyer with experience guiding people in the Dallas area through the process of asserting their rights.Holding a Trucking Company Accountable for Violating Federal Regulations
The FMCSA regulations cover a wide range of conduct, including maintenance of the truck, hours of service and keeping a log book, restrictions on consumption of alcohol and drugs, and securing cargo. Proving a violation of these regulations requires experience and an understanding of the trucking industry.
For example, truck drivers are required to keep a log book of their hours, so that their employers can be sure that they are following the rules related to rest breaks. Inside the truck is a black box that measures the speed of the vehicle and start and stop times, among other things. In the event of an accident, an experienced attorney may check the data from the black box against the log book. If a violation of the hours of service rules is found, it may be important evidence of negligence or negligence per se.
A plaintiff trying to establish negligence must prove the truck driver's duty of care, a breach of the duty, causation, and actual damages. All truck drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care. What is reasonable in a particular situation may be complex to define. In many cases, however, the FMCSA regulations spell out a truck driver's duty, and a violation of the regulations is usually a breach of that duty. Under the doctrine of negligence per se, if a regulation relates to a safety standard and the violation is the cause of an accident that causes harm that the regulation was designed to prevent, the plaintiff may be able to recover compensation for a wide range of losses. These may include medical bills, lost income, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
In some cases, a trucking company's negligence in hiring or supervising causes an accident. Under the federal regulations, companies are supposed to conduct background checks of driver applicants. This helps to ensure that people with DUIs or a history of negligence are not on the roads in control of a gigantic piece of equipment. However, some trucking companies either fail to conduct this background check or hire someone in spite of various red flags in the applicant’s employment history.
Among the items an experienced attorney will check after an accident is an employee file. This file should provide evidence about the truck driver's past history, and it may contain important evidence as to whether the trucking company's negligence contributed to or caused an accident. Often, a truck driver's insurance policy provides insufficient coverage for catastrophic injuries. Usually, truck companies carry more coverage than individual drivers do, and being able to hold a company directly liable can make a difference to your chances for actually recovering the full range of your damages.Discuss Your Truck Accident Claim with a Dallas Lawyer
If you are have been hurt by a careless trucker in Dallas or the surrounding cities, you should enlist a motor vehicle collision attorney who understands the regulations at issue. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent people in Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, Arlington, and Plano, among other Texas cities.