Truck Accident Frequently Asked Questions
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Can I file a truck accident claim if I was injured by hazardous materials that spilled from the truck’s cargo?
If you were injured by flammable, toxic or otherwise hazardous materials that spilled from a truck’s cargo during an accident, you may receive compensation for your injuries. Just as trucking companies and truck drivers are responsible for handling their larger vehicles diligently, they are responsible for taking all reasonable precautions when carrying hazardous materials. If failure to take those precautions resulted in a truck spill, and your resulting injuries, you have every right to seek compensation.
Identifying Defendants and Making Your Claim
The truck driver and the trucking company are the two obvious defendants in a truck accident claim. However, when a truck accident involves hazardous materials, there are some instances in which the company that was shipping the materials also may be liable. Speak with a personal injury attorney in Peachtree City to identify all potential defendants in your claim positively.
There are basically three parts of a personal injury claim: (1) the defendant owed you a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury or harm, (2) the defendant failed to do so, and (3) that failure was the cause of your injuries. Whether your truck spill accident was caused by a truck driver’s error, a mechanical defect or improper securing of the hazardous materials, you should be able to show that your claim meets those three criteria.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz are ready to advise you about your claim and help you decide what steps to take from here. Call us today for a free consultation at: (404) 474-0804.
The Importance of Hours of Service Rules for Your Accident Claim
Long hours on the road can take a toll on anyone, but given the vast disparity in size between trucks and passenger vehicles, truck drivers need the ability to pay full attention to their driving at all times behind the wheel. In an attempt to reduce the amounts of accidents caused by intoxicated, distracted, fatigued, or negligent drivers on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created regulations, such as hours of service rules, which limit what drivers can do on the road.
Injuries from truck accidents can be severe and costly, but if you can prove the accident was the result of the driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. The hours of service rules can be extremely helpful in proving this negligence. Call Jason R. Schultz for help: 404-474-0804.
What are hours of service?
Simply put, hours of service are the number of hours a commercial vehicle driver can spend behind the wheel. There are two separate categories for the restrictions affecting drivers carrying property versus those who carry passengers:
For passenger-carrying vehicles, drivers must adhere to the following limits:
- No more than 10 hours of driving a rest period of eight hours
- No driving after 15 on-duty hours following eight consecutive off-duty hours
- No more than 60/70 on-duty hours over seven/eight consecutive days
- Drivers must spend at least eight hours in a sleeper berth (if using one), although drivers can break up those hours over two periods as long as each period is at least two hours.
For property-carrying vehicles, the following limits apply to drivers:
- No more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours
- No driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty after the 10 consecutive off-duty hours
- Drivers must take rest breaks. There must be eight hours or less from the time a driver last was off-duty or had a minimum 30-minute sleeper berth period unless a "short haul" exception applies.
- May not drive more than 60/70 on-duty hours over seven/eight consecutive days. May restart a seven/eight day period after 34 or more consecutive off-duty hours
- If using a sleeper berth, drivers must spend at least eight consecutive hours in the berth, plus an additional two hours either off-duty, in the berth, or a combination of the two.
How do drivers record their hours of service?
Drivers must record hours; however, there is no specific mandate as to how drivers must record them. Some truckers may use logbooks, others may choose to use onboard recording devices. Drivers must log:
- Hours spent off-duty
- Hours spent in the sleeper berth
- Driving hours
- Hours spent on-duty but not driving
You can use this data to prove that the driver broke FMCSA regulations and was therefore behaving negligently. For example, if you see that the driver had been driving for 17 hours at the time of the crash, you can prove that he was fatigued at the time of the accident.
How do I obtain this information?
To obtain hours of service logs, you must request it in writing as soon as practicable. Because truck companies can destroy evidence after a certain period of time, the evidence might be lost forever if you wait too long.
Your attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can send a letter of spoliation, which requires the trucking company to preserve any evidence you request.
As shown above, the issues surrounding a truck accident can be complicated and difficult to prove.
How do I determine if the truck driver was impaired by drugs, alcohol or prescription medications during a Newman truck accident?
How do you determine truck driver liability? Newnan truck accident lawyers can help you figure things out. Many times, you can determine if the truck driver was impaired by drugs, alcohol or prescription medications during a truck accident simply by assessing his or her actions.
How was the accident caused? Was the truck driver driving erratically or speeding? Did you observe his or her physical appearance? A truck driver may exhibit red eyes and a smell of alcohol on his or her body if he or she has been drinking.
Truck drivers are not allowed to use any controlled substances unless prescribed by a doctor. Even then, any prescription drugs should not be used if they interfere with the truck driver’s ability to drive safely. According to federal laws, truck drivers must submit to random drug testing. In addition, they must be tested for substance abuse after being involved in a fatal accident.
After an accident, police officers will be called to the scene and they will create a report based on:
- what they saw;
- evidence collected; and
- who they determine to be at fault.
You will want to obtain a copy of this report, as it will state if the police noticed any signs of drug or alcohol use. This report could be a useful piece of evidence to Newnan truck accident lawyers in determining truck driver liability.
If you noticed the truck driver who caused your accident exhibiting strange behavior or erratic driving abilities, he or she may have been impaired at the time of the accident. Get help from an attorney who can advise you how to proceed with your claim. If you are looking for Newnan truck accident lawyers to handle your case, contact the office of Jason R. Schultz today at (404) 474-0804 to speak with a Newnan truck accident lawyer.
How can I prove that poor maintenance caused a fatal semi-truck accident in Clayton County, Georgia?
You have several resources at your disposal to prove that poor maintenance led to a fatal semi-truck accident in Georgia. To start with, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers to inspect their trucks every day. This includes documenting the inspection, which details the truck’s brake system, steering, tires, lights, etc. If your loved one or relative was killed in an accident in Clayton County, a personal injury attorney can help.
Other documents that could help your claim include:
- end-of-trip reports/logbooks;
- fuel receipts;
- maintenance receipts; and
- trip documentation (which must date back at least six months).
What’s perhaps most devastating about fatal truck crashes caused by vehicle malfunctions is that they can be avoided when proper maintenance is performed.
Another Important Issue to Consider After a Fatal Georgia Truck Accident
Unfortunately after a crash, the driver, trucking company, and insurers will often blame one another for the crash. This tactic wastes precious time and resources, and it could cost you compensation that you could use to put toward a loved one’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, and more.
When you opt to work with an attorney, your time will be freed up to grieve, spend time with loved ones and look forward. Meanwhile, your lawyer will use all documents and resources available to prove poor maintenance led to the Georgia accident.
Georgia Truck Accident Victims Turn to a Clayton County Personal Injury Attorney
In the days following a fatal accident in Georgia, Jason Schultz works to protect the rights of family members and survivors while holding negligent trucking companies and drivers accountable.
Trucking companies have a team of lawyers working on their side; shouldn’t you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation – 404-474-0804.
What kinds of evidence will be helpful in my truck accident claim in Atlanta?
Preserving evidence is vital if you want to build a strong case after a truck accident. An Atlanta truck accident attorney can help in assembling what you will need.
Evidence is the basis to any claim, so the more you have the better off you will be. One of the first pieces that can be used is the accident scene itself. Damage to the vehicles involved, where they ended up after the collision and other factors can play a significant role in determining fault.
Pictures of the vehicles and the scene itself can be helpful. You should also get a copy of the police/accident report, which will provide further details.
If there is an electronic logbook or “black box” device onboard the truck, this can be used as evidence. Even a paper version of a logbook can indicate the driver’s amount of time spent on the road, as that may play a role in the cause of the accident.
The driving history of the trucker may also provide some insight. This is especially true if they are found to have numerous past violations or other issues.
Liability can be found with others, such as the company responsible for maintaining and repairing the trucks or the drivers’ employer. With this in mind, other evidence that may help includes a history of the truck’s inspections and repairs, along with records kept by the employer.
Contacting an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
If you were the victim of an accident, you have rights that the insurance companies cannot ignore. While they have a team of lawyers working on their side, shouldn’t you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation on your case – 404-474-0804.
What defenses are commonly used against a truck accident claim?
If you are filing a truck accident claim, you have to make sure that you know what to expect. That includes knowing common defenses so that you can refute them and prove that you are in the right to win your case. With a truck accident attorney on your side, you'll have a much better chance of fighting back and being aware of what the defendant's legal counsel might bring to the table in your court proceedings or settlement discussions.
One defense that is used is the "assumption of risk" claim. Basically this means that you were aware of some inherent risk when you were driving at the time of the accident.
Another common defense is simply reversing the blame. They may try to make the case that you were just as responsible, or even more so, in the accident that occurred. You have to have the evidence to prove them wrong.
Even worse, many drivers who are on the hot seat for an accident may try to get out of negligence by claiming that your injuries weren't actually caused by the accident. For example, if you had a shoulder issue before and the accident caused a rotator cuff tear, they might try to place blame on you.
There are a lot of defenses that are used in a truck accident claim, whether or not they are faulty. With a proper truck accident attorney on your side, you can ensure that you are prepared to handle anything that comes at you in your personal injury claim. To learn more or schedule a consultation, call us today: 404-474-0804.
What’s a trucker’s black box and why would it be helpful in my accident claim?
Most of the trucks made in the United States since the 1990s are equipped with an Electronic Control Module (ECM). The ECM, often referred to as a “black box,” is designed to record all of a truck’s operational data, which can help with truck accident claims.
The information stored in the black box includes:
- average speed and highest speed;
- amount of time driven;
- driving time spent at 65 miles per hour or more;
- average revolutions per minute (RPMs);
- seat belt usage;
- air bag performance; and
- idling time.
ECMs: A Valuable Truck Accident Claim Tool
Even though the ECM was set up to monitor unfounded engine warranty claims, accident victims and Coweta County personal injury attorneys now use it to prove a truck’s liability in a collision. Not only is it effective in showing a truck’s various operations, but it also can be compared to a trucker’s personal log to see if driving time exceeded the ECM’s statistics.
In order for the ECM to help a victim in a truck accident claim, there are a number of factors that need to be addressed.
Time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining ECM data. Your Coweta County personal injury attorney must make securing the truck’s black box a top priority so that they can check for a variety of things.
- Recording time – the ECM box typically records a truck’s data for 30 days, after which it will record over and erase previous information. That’s why it is imperative for lawyers to attain the ECM as soon as possible during a truck accident claim.
- Data destruction –It’s common for the black box to be destroyed after an accident. A restraining order is necessary to save the ECM's data.
- Safeguarding additional data – some trucks have a black box and cab electronic modules. Information such as hours of service, maintenance and vehicle performance should not be overlooked in a truck accident claim.
Contact a Coweta County Injury Attorney for Your Truck Accident Claim
The Law Offices of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. is always available to help you understand and apply the law to your personal injury claim. We even offer a free book, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia: The Truth about your Injury Case. If you or a loved one needs to file a truck accident claim, contact the tractor-trailer/truck accidents team at Jason R. Schultz, P.C. We are also accessible toll-free at 1-866-455-4709 or 1-404-474-0804 for a consultation at no cost to you.
Who can be held liable if my car accident in Carroll County was caused by a commercial truck that spilled debris on the road?
There are several parties that could be held liable if your car accident in Carroll County was caused by a commercial truck that spilled debris on the road. Because this kind of case can be very complicated, you should acquire the assistance of a Mount Zion injury lawyer.
A commercial truck with an unsecured load is a hazard to others on the road. Debris falling from an overloaded truck can significantly damage your car or slam into your windshield, causing injury to you and your passengers. If the truck was carrying hazardous materials, the spilled debris could cause fatal or life-altering injuries.
Parties that Could be Liable for Your Car Accident in Carroll County
The following parties could be considered negligent in your case:
- the truck driver;
- the trucking company; and
- the company that loaded the truck.
Tying down a truck's contents may not always be sufficient to prevent a car accident in Carroll County. When the truck is in motion, the load could shift, causing the commercial truck to tip and fall on a much smaller vehicle. This could lead to fatal injuries.
Companies responsible for loading trucks are aware of safety regulations for securing loads to avoid balance issues and spillage. If safety regulations have been ignored and you were injured as a result, a Mount Zion injury lawyer can help you hold the negligent parties accountable.
You may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, physical and emotional anguish, and altered quality of life. It's best that you seek immediate medical care and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Contacting a Mount Zion Injury Lawyer
Several parties can be held accountable if a truck's spilled debris caused your accident. As the victim of a car accident in Carroll County, you have rights that the insurance companies cannot ignore. While they have a team of lawyers working on their side, shouldn't you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation on your case - 1-404-474-0804.
What kinds of damages are available in a Decatur, Georgia truck accident claim?
If you are in a position to file a Decatur, Georgia truck accident claim there is a good chance that you're facing costly bills for medical care and property damage. If the truck accident was caused by the negligence of another driver then you may be eligible to receive compensation for your financial, emotional, and physical costs. A personal injury attorney in Georgia can explain your legal options and help you take steps toward seeking compensation.
Available Damages in a Decatur, Georgia Truck Accident Claim
The process of filing a personal injury claim can be intimidating and it is recommended that you have a personal injury attorney in Georgia help you. An attorney can answer any questions you have and keep you on track with deadlines as he or she will be more familiar with the overall legal process.
Proving negligence can be a difficult process. To increase your chances of success you will need strong evidence to prove that the truck driver, truck manufacturer, or trucking company is at fault. The damages you may be able to recover are as follows:
- medical expenses (past, present and future if they are related to the accident);
- lost wages (current and projected future amounts if you are unable to return to work);
- permanent disability benefits;
- pain and suffering (both physical and emotional);
- punitive damages (if your case goes to trial and a judge decides harsh punishment is necessary, such as in a case involving a DUI or the intentional use of faulty parts in a truck); and
- any other miscellaneous expenses related to the accident.
To protect your case, you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible so evidence can be preserved.
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
As the victim of a Georgia truck accident, you have rights that the insurance companies can't ignore. While they have a team of lawyers working on their side, shouldn't you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation on your case - 404-474-0804.
What could be considered an act of negligent or careless driving on behalf of a truck driver who causes a truck accident in Atlanta?
If you're involved in a truck accident in Atlanta, it could have been caused by a negligent truck driver. There are 10 common examples of a truck driver's negligence that you and your Fulton County, Georgia accident lawyer may prove in order to seek the compensation you want to claim.
10 Types of Negligence Relating to a Truck Accident in Atlanta
Types of behavior that may leave a driver open to liability in an injury claim include:
- aggressive driving;
- not using turn signals;
- overlooking inspections;
- insecure cargo loads;
- overweight cargo loads;
- driving in severe weather;
- breaking federal law of truck driver hours;
- drunk driving; and
- being under the influence of drugs.
Truck driver negligence can cause serious damages and major injuries that can turn fatal. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2008, there were 11,441 fatal truck accidents around the United States.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident in Atlanta, it's best to partner with a Fulton County, Georgia accident lawyer to fight your case. Your accident lawyer is a professional in determining a truck driver's negligence and what parties were at fault for your truck accident in Atlanta.
You should not suffer the financial, physical, and emotional costs from your truck accident because of someone else's negligence. Third parties also need to be held liable for any negligent truck driving. Your Fulton County, Georgia accident lawyer will research all aspects of your truck accident in Atlanta so you can pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
Contacting a Fulton County, Georgia Accident Lawyer
As the victim of a Georgia truck accident, you have rights the insurance companies cannot ignore. While they have a team of lawyers working on their side, shouldn't you have experienced legal representation fighting for your best interests? Before accepting any settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of Jason Schultz to schedule a FREE consultation on your case - 404-474-0804.