Everything about Truck Accident
Truck drivers often have to work long hours and drive while tired, which puts them at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident.
Collisions caused by truck driver fatigue can be devastating. As a result, it is important to know and be aware of any signs that a truck driver may be tired when you are sharing the road.
- what to watch
- Watch for the following warning signs that a truck driver is tired:
- yawning frequently
- head throbbing or trouble keeping the head up
- being unable to keep your eyes open
- head shaking in and out of sleep
- not paying attention or not paying attention to the road
- irregular acceleration
- Ignoring traffic signs or signals
- tailgating other vehicles
- frequent or sudden braking
- drift in the other lane or on the shoulder of the road
- wiggle or twist
The diver is on the road, and everyone else is at risk. Fatigue can cause a driver to miss obstacles on the road, under or overreact to road conditions, become easily distracted, and, worst of all, fall asleep completely.
Truck driver fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), responsible for regulating the trucking industry, has hours of service (HOS) regulations.
These laws determine the number of hours a truck driver can drive continuously before taking a break. However, truckers often continue to drive to meet their tight deadlines on shipments.
The FMCSA’s HOS rules are as follows:
- Truck drivers may work 14 hours out of 24 hours but may not drive more than 10 hours.
- Truck drivers cannot continuously drive for more than 8 hours without taking a break of 30 minutes.
- Drivers can only be on duty for a maximum of 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in 8 days.
- Drivers should spend at least 7 hours in the sleeper berth and 3 more hours on duty in or outside the sleeper berth.
Other factors that can cause truck driver fatigue include poor sleep quality, an unhealthy diet, certain medications, alcohol, and highway hypnosis. High hypnosis can occur when truckers are on open highways for extended periods.
What to do if you see a tired truck driver?
If you see a tired truck driver on the road, you can do the following:
If you believe the truck driver is an immediate danger to others on the road, stop and call 911.
Be prepared to describe the truck, including any logos or company names, if you’ve seen one, and the license plate.
Law enforcement will attempt to track the truck and get an idea of the situation.
If you feel you are in danger, don’t chase the truck; if possible, take another route to your destination.
Not in immediate danger
If you are concerned about the alertness of a truck driver but do not necessarily feel they are a danger to others, you have another option of filing a complaint.
How is fault determined in a delivery truck accident?
To recover compensation after an accident with a delivery truck, you need to prove that the driver was at fault.
Even if there appears to be irrefutable evidence as to who caused the collision, the driver or their insurance company will still investigate and consider several factors before determining who is liable.
Before discussing how an insurance company or the courts determine fault for an accident, an important element is a legal doctrine of “negligence.”
A percentage of the blame will be assigned to each party for failing to comply with the “duty of care.” Essentially, whichever party was more negligent would commit the majority’s fault.
How an insurance company determines fault
To determine which party’s negligence contributed to the accident and to assign a percentage of fault, an adjuster will review the following:
Accident scene evidence
The adjuster will look at any available photos and videos of the accident scene that show the following:
- Place of damage to vehicles
- The final position of vehicles after impact
- loss of life in the surrounding area
- road and weather conditions
- skid marks
- road signs and traffic lights
- any available surveillance footage
They will also usually personally examine damaged vehicles.
A police report at fault carries a great deal of weight in an adjuster’s decision. Officers will include:
- The Final position of cars
- Location and extent of damage to vehicles
- were the airbags deployed
- If there are skid marks on the road due to braking effort
- drivers statement
- interview with witnesses
- no matter what car is breaking down
- the video they saw that shows the accident
- did either driver appear intoxicated
- traffic violations
The officials will also give their opinion on how the accident happened and who was at fault.
Traffic violations or if one party is charged with a crime (for example, drunk driving) can serve as important evidence of fault that would be difficult for the at-fault party to challenge.
Statements of eyewitnesses
Eyewitness accounts can provide an objective, third-party account of how the accident occurred.
Since the parties involved in an accident can be biased, eyewitnesses can reinforce that party’s version of events. (Truck Accident)
Medical documents can establish the extent of the injuries and whether they occurred due to the accident. The site of the injuries can also help the adjuster prove where the place of impact was in the collision.
Was the delivery truck driver working?
Under California law, employers may be held indirectly liable for the negligent actions of their employees;
Therefore, whether the delivery truck driver was on duty can play a major role in which party can be held liable for the accident.
If you have collision or comprehensive coverage, you can file a claim with your auto insurance company.
They will then determine who is at fault and which insurer to seek reimbursement for the collision, a process known as “imposition.”
On the other hand, if you only have liability coverage, you will need to file a claim with either the delivery truck driver’s auto insurer or their company. (Truck Accident)
How does the court decide the guilt?
Most injury claims are settled before trial, but you may need to hire an attorney to ensure you recover fair compensation.
If your case goes to court, a judge or jury will determine who is at fault after hearing each side’s arguments and reviewing the evidence.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s determination of fault, you have the right to appeal or file a personal injury lawsuit. (Truck Accident)
What Compensation Can I Get After a Delivery Truck Accident?
After an accident with a delivery truck, you may find that it’s costing you more than just medical bills.
If someone else’s careless actions have caused it, you are entitled to recover compensation that reflects the total cost of your loss. The types of compensation you can collect may include the following. (Truck Accident)
Delivery truck accident victims typically suffer actual financial loss, known as economic damages.
These types of damages are often easy to prove with medical records, bills, receipts, invoices, W-2s, etc., and you can be reimbursed for the following:
One of the most important types of compensation you can get is future medical care.
Current and future medical expenses start from the accident’s date and until you recover, for example, ambulance service, acute care, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, prescription medication, and more.
Some injuries require long-term rehabilitation, adaptive therapy equipment, home modifications, and more.
Medical expert testimony regarding the extent of your injuries and the care you need is usually required to calculate damages for future medical care. (Truck Accident)
Any income you have lost and will lose in the future while you are away from work.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may require an extended period to recover or suffer permanent impairment.
Reduced earning capacity may also be a possibility if your impairment or permanent disability leaves you unable to earn the same level of income as you did before the accident.
Your claim must include necessary repairs on your vehicle or verify its fair market value if it is totaled. If any personal items are damaged, such as a phone, iPad, laptop, etc., you are entitled to compensation for their repair or replacement. (Truck Accident)
This damage may be the most important part of the compensation you receive. Non-economic losses represent more intangible and subjective losses, eg.
Aches and pains
This type of compensation is for the physical and psychological harm or suffering the victim will endure.
These include emotional distress, loss of quality of life, companionship, and more.
Generally, an insurance adjuster will assume that the higher your medical expenses and the more severe your injuries, the greater your pain and suffering. Generally, it will be considered whether you :
Daily living has been affected or limited in some way;
- Relationships have changed as a result of your injuries.
- The injuries are permanent, or how long it is expected to take for you to recover.
- Life expectancy has decreased.
Proving non-economic damages can be more challenging but not impossible. A lawyer can use expert testimony, consultation bills, journals, and friends’ testimony to establish the extent of your pain and suffering.
Punitive damages may be awarded in delivery truck accident cases involving a party (e.g., truck driver, delivery company, truck maintenance company, etc.) who has acted with or willful disregard for the safety of others.
This type of compensation is rare and is meant to punish the at-fault party and deter others from taking similar actions. (Truck Accident)
How to drive safely near a delivery truck and prevent an accident
With the holidays and increased online shopping, there are more delivery trucks than ever. To avoid accidents, drivers should take extra care while sharing the road.
Avoid blind spots
Because of their size, delivery trucks have many blind spots. Avoid driving within 10 feet directly behind the truck or the cab.
The driver will not see you, creating a dangerous situation when attempting to merge or change lanes. (Truck Accident)
Always use signal
Turn signals should always be used, especially around delivery trucks. Using your turn signal will allow the truck driver to see your intentions and adjust accordingly, so you can safely make your turn and avoid a collision. (Truck Accident)
Before passing, make sure you can see the driver in the mirror. Signal right and pass on the left if you can while maintaining speed.
It is easier for the driver to see you on the left side of the delivery truck. Before pulling the truck in front, ensure it is visible in your rear view mirror and give it extra space.
Give extra space
Always give ample space when driving next to a delivery truck. Traveling at a safe distance ensures that you have time to brake and react to the conditions around you. Furthermore, cutting in front of a truck is especially dangerous because larger vehicles require longer stops.
Leave earlier than your scheduled time to reach your destination to make sure you don’t feel rushed.
Delivery trucks require extra room to turn, so be patient. Never try to pass or get between the vehicle and the curb.
Careless driving can increase your chances of skidding or affect your ability to stop in time to avoid an accident. (Truck Accident)
If a distraction takes your attention off the road, you can quickly lose control of your vehicle.
Stay focused and know where the delivery truck is on the roadway. Common distractions to avoid include:
- send text message
- make a phone call
- interacting with passengers in your vehicle
- Using GPS or Electronic Devices
- Adjusting the Radio or Features of Your Vehicle
- reaching for something in the back seat
Adjust your headlights
Be aware that your headlights may dazzle a delivery truck driver because they will reflect off the truck’s large mirrors.
If bright light impairs a truck driver’s visibility, it may affect their ability to operate the vehicle safely.
Whenever you see an oncoming truck or another vehicle on the road coming towards you, lower the high beam of your vehicle. (Truck Accident)
Wear your seat belt
In California, all vehicle riders over the age of eight are required by law to wear a safety belt, and passengers under the age of eight must be restrained in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle.
In the event of a delivery truck accident, one of the most effective measures you can take to reduce your risk of injury or death is to wear a seat belt. (Truck Accident)
How trucking companies may be breaking the law
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of regulating the trucking industry.
The FMCSA has established and enforced commercial regulations to reduce the risk of accidents.
When a trucking company violates these regulations, it can lead to written warnings, fines, other penalties such as license suspension, and liability for any damages they may cause.
Common Types of Trucking Company Violations
Here are some of the ways trucking companies may be flouting the law:
Hours of service
Truckers can work 14 out of 24 hours, drive no more than 10 hours, and drive no more than 8 consecutive hours without a 30-minute break.
Trucking companies may violate this law by encouraging drivers to skip the brakes and hit deadlines.
Inspection of trucks
Commercial trucks must be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained.
Since the FMCSA doesn’t specify an interval, it’s up to the trucking companies to determine what inspection schedule they need to keep their trucks in good operating condition.
Many parts of commercial trucks, such as tires, wear out quickly. If old parts are kept in service for too long, it can lead to a part failure which often results in an accident. If a company fails to inspect, repair, and maintain its vehicles, they are breaking the law.
Records of all inspections of all trucks must be kept for at least three months from the date of each report – failure to do so is a violation of federal regulations.
If the company knew or should have known about the defect and did not remedy the problem immediately, it may be liable if it contributed to the accident. (Truck Accident)
Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of their trucks, including their cargo.
Suppose a trucking company oversees or participates in the loading of a truck. In that case, it may be liable for breaking the law and an accident caused by its failure to secure and deliver the cargo properly. (Truck Accident)
How to File a Complaint Against a Trucking Company
If you see a commercial truck that is an immediate danger to others on the road, call 911.
For example, if the driver is behaving recklessly, sleeping, or you see cargo shifting and falling, etc. Law enforcement will attempt to track the truck based on your information and description.
You then have 90 days to file a complaint with the FMCSA. This can be done online or by calling 888-DOT-SAFT.
Your complaint will be investigated, and the company could face heavy fines and suspension of its operating license if any violations are found.
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