Commercial trucks are very different from ordinary vehicles. Not only are they much larger and more dangerous, but they require more vigilance and knowledge of their operation than the standard vehicle.
Because of this and what they are designed to do, there are certain rules trucking companies and truck drivers must follow to protect themselves and those they share the road with. However, that doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen.
If you have been involved in a car accident involving a truck driver, here’s what you should know about trucking regulations and how to file a claim.
State Rules Commercial Trucks Must Follow
A truck driver can’t just hop in a vehicle and start using company equipment. There is rigorous training and strict expectations that must be met before a truck driver can legally use company trucks on the road. Additionally, it’s up to the employer to make sure regulations and rules are being followed to protect themselves from legal issues.
Before a truck driver is allowed on the road, they must pass a CDL class in order to obtain their license. Once they receive their license, renewal must occur every year so that the driver is consistently aware of any changes that may have been made to state laws and that knowledge for vehicle operations remains fresh in their minds.
Here are Florida requirements for commercial trucks to be on the road:
- Proper licensing
Not everyone can operate a commercial truck. This is where proper licensing comes in. It’s a requirement for all truck drivers to always have their CDLs active and updated, or they cannot drive a company vehicle.
It is also a requirement for trucking companies to make sure their trucks are the proper size, carrying the allotted amount, and follow inspection guidelines. Failure to keep up with these requirements can result in severe wrecks, penalties to the company, and long term hardship on accident victims.
Common Reasons Why Truckers Get Into Accidents
There are reasons why truckers are involved in accidents that may or may not be the truck driver’s fault. Regardless of if the driver is on the interstate or main road, here are some reasons as to why truckers get into accidents.
It can be difficult to operate a normal vehicle in a downpour or on icy roads. The same can be said about commercial trucks. This is why truck drivers need to undergo training in order to know how to operate these commercial vehicles in different kinds of weather, so they’re prepared and know how to react.
If a truck driver does not know how to control their company vehicle in certain weather, it can cause a literal slippery slope to a severe accident.
Some companies are cracking down on speeding with the use of driver telematics, but that does not eliminate speeding on the driver’s end being a cause for some accidents. Although speeding is dangerous regardless of the weight or speed of a vehicle, it can become even more dangerous when the driver of a tractor-trailer does not follow the guidelines and acts carelessly.
Driver fatigue is an issue that all drivers can experience, but a truck driver who is putting in long hours may tend to experience it more.
When a driver has been on the road for long periods of time without rest, they can begin feeling worn out and risk falling asleep at the wheel. Drivers who make long journeys will typically drive a truck with a cab in the back that provides a bed and place for them to rest. It’s important that truck drivers realize the fatigue when it starts and pull over to rest to prevent any accidents.
It’s safe to say big company vehicles have a lot more blind spots than a typical car does. The length of a tractor-trailer is nearly six times the length of a regular vehicle, so seeing every angle isn’t possible for these drivers.
Because of this, there’s more room for error on the driver’s end while trying to switch lanes or turn.
What To Do If You Were Involved in A Trucking Accident
If you were involved in an accident with a truck driver in West Palm Beach, Florida, you could be entitled to seek compensation.
The first thing you should do after the accident is seek medical treatment. Then, speak with an attorney as soon as you can. Trucking car accidents can be difficult to handle alone since you will still have to go through your insurance before discussing the possibility of filing a lawsuit.
Although the requirement in Florida is that all drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection, you could be offered a lower or inadequate settlement amount from your insurance company. To help negotiate a fair and adequate amount, it is well-advised to have a West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyer present.
A lawyer can work with you to help you seek a fair settlement from the start with your insurance agent. Insurance adjusters look for ways to save the company money and you may not realize that things you say to insurance companies can be inadvertently used against you. Having a lawyer on your side can help mitigate these issues.
If your case meets the requirements to file a lawsuit, you can discuss this option with your lawyer. You could potentially either sue the driver or the company for the accident. Your attorney will start investigating the background of the company to see if the rules and regulations were followed.
While collecting evidence for your insurance claim or lawsuit, your lawyer will want to see a few documents:
- Medical records from the accident
- The police report
- Photo evidence you may have
- Insurance information
The medical records and police report can serve as excellent evidence in your case since they are unbiased and accurately depict the accident in its entirety. Especially when you are not at fault, these documents can prove this and give you options to seek adequate compensation for the accumulated damages.
If your case appears meritorious, the trucking company may offer a settlement in lieu of going to court. If a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached and you decide to proceed, then your case can go to court for a jury to determine how much compensation you deserve based on the evidence and your total damages from the accident.
There is no set timeline or guaranteed expectations in these cases. To understand what your possibilities are, ask your lawyer for an indication.
Confused With Your Claim? Here’s How We Can Help
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and confused when these types of accidents happen. Since these vehicles belong to a company and not one person, there can be more hoops to jump through in terms of legal battles.
That’s why the experts at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers want to help. Contact us to speak to a West Palm Beach Truck Accident Lawyer with years of experience that has been helping residents seek recovery for damages and fight for justice.
Our firm is highly awarded based on our past successes and we have the right tools to help you throughout this legal process.
You can get started with your case by filling out our online case evaluation form or by calling us at (561) 800-8000.