Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles
Commercial vehicle claims are typically complex because of the nature of the accidents and the enterprises responsible. First, injuries tend to be worse when a commercial vehicle hits a passenger car. In addition, commercial vehicles are often owned by corporations, which are often better funded and lawyered up.
Berenson Injury Law has close to 40 yearsof experience representing victims in commercial vehicle accident claims. We negotiate the maximum possible damages in claims involving commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, heavy construction equipment, delivery vans, sanitation vehicles, fire trucks and buses. If the corporate defendant and its insurance company refuse to agree to an equitable settlement, our Fort Worth truck accident lawyer is prepared to argue for justice before the jury.Why Commercial Vehicle Crashes Are Catastrophic
Commercial vehicles are difficult to operate and require a heightened level of skill, experience, training and attention. When inexperienced, reckless and distracted drivers make mistakes, the consequences are often catastrophic, resulting in critical injuries and deaths. This is because commercial vehicles are larger and heavier than passenger cars. When a car and a commercial vehicle collide, the smaller, lighter car bears more of the force of impact, and thereby puts its occupants at greater risk of injuries.Liability of Truck Drivers and Trucking Corporations
Driver error is a factor in about one-third of commercial vehicle collisions. However, the corporation shares in the liability whenever its driver makes a mistake under two legal theories: respondeat superior and negligence. Respondeat superior means literally let the master answer. In other words, the employer answers vicariously for its employee who negligently performed his job duties.
The company’s direct negligence may also have contributed to the crash. For example, did the trucking corporation properly screen its driver’s crash history? Did the corporation fail to sufficiently train its drivers? Did the company violate federal or Texas safety regulations? These are just some examples of how a trucking corporation might be liable for negligence. A trucking accident lawyer in Fort Worth can help you hold the corporation accountable for your injuries.Regulations Governing Commercial Vehicles
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial vehicles, trucking corporations and truck drivers. Corporations may be fined and drivers face license suspension or revocation for violations of these FMCSA rules:
- Hours of service laws (HOS) restrict a driver’s drive time and work time and mandate rest breaks. Drivers are required to keep a logbook to record hours worked, hours behind the wheel and time off. As of December 2017, tractor-trailer corporations are required to install electronic logging devices that record when the truck is in operation and moving. ELDs are tamperproof and should eliminate manipulation of logbook data, a formerly common tactic to hide HOS violations. These laws help keep tired drivers off the road.
- No texting rules ban reading and manually entering text into an electronic device while operating a commercial vehicle. Truck drivers are also not allowed to use the Internet, social media or other features of an electronic device.
- Hands-free mobile phone regulations prohibit cell phone use that involves pushing more than one button to dial or answer a phone while in a seat-belted, fully seated position. Drivers are allowed to use hands-free phone operations that comply with local and state distracted driving laws.
- Drunk driving legislation sets the upper blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit at .04 for commercial drivers. This BAC equals just about one beer for most men.
- Drug testing laws require testing of a driver involved in an accident that resulted in injuries, death or property damage and allows testing of a driver suspected of drug use. Drivers also may be subjected to random drug testing.
- Medical requirements keep drivers with unsafe medical conditions out of service. Drivers must undergo a physical examination and carry their medical card that shows they do not have an illness that interferes with their ability to safely operate a tractor-trailer or a bus.
Schedule a free case evaluation with Berenson Injury Law by calling 817-885-8000. Our personal injury law firm handles claims throughout North Texas. Our contingency fee plan means you pay lawyers’ fees and expenses only if we recover damages for you.