Phoenix Arizona Semi and Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers
Because of their size and weight, commercial trucks — including tractor-trailers, semis, big rigs and other large trucks — pose significant dangers to the cars and trucks with which they share the road. When these trucks are involved in accidents, they are likely to cause catastrophic injuries, temporary or permanent disabilities, and even death to the drivers and passengers in the other vehicles or to pedestrians involved.
Differences in Commercial Trucking Accident Cases and Car and Non-Commercial Trucking Cases – The Complex Federal Rules and Regulations That Apply to Commercial Truck Drivers and Companies
Litigating a commercial trucking accident case is very different than litigating a car, SUV, or other non-commercial vehicle accident case in a number of respects:
- Complex Federal Rules and Regulations. Interstate commercial truck drivers and their companies are regulated under federal law, including the federal Motor Carrier Act and the regulations enacted thereunder, which are referred to as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These rules and regulations are complex and extensive; having an intimate knowledge of these rules and regulations have allowed us to successfully recover for our clients in a number of commercial truck accident cases. The next items concern specific aspects of these rules and regulations.
- Hours of Service Rules. In order to reduce the number of accidents caused by truck driver fatigue, Hours of Service (HOS) regulations have been adopted. These regulations prohibit drivers from driving more than a certain amount of hours over specified time periods, and require drivers to keep detailed logs of their driving.
However, because most drivers are paid by the mile driven, there is a strong incentive for drivers to exceed the Hours of Service limitations in order to earn more money. We are experienced in how drivers sometimes try to falsify logs to increase their pay by violating these regulations.
Learn more about Hours of Service Regulations, Driver Log Requirements, and Your Case
- Safety Programs. Commercial truck companies are required to implement extensive safety programs covering vehicles and driver education. Additionally, drivers must comply with mandated safety regulations, such as being required to check their cargo to ensure that it is properly secured before beginning a trip and often at specified intervals, which must be documented in the driver’s log.
- Driver Qualifications and Training. In investigating a trucking accident, we will want to conduct a thorough background check on the driver’s qualifications for operating as a commercial driver.
- Negligent Hiring. Trucking companies sometimes hire (or retain) drivers that have no business operating a truck. In some instances, drivers have a history of causing crashes or driving under the influence. In other cases, drivers may lose their license, but still continue to drive. Trucking companies can independently have liability if they were negligent, even in cases where it appears that the driver was completely responsible for a crash. Moreover, both drivers and trucking companies can also be liable for punitive damages in some instances.
To find out more about how we can help if you or a loved one was involved in a significant trucking accident involving a semi or other “big rig”, please call our firm to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.