There are specific regulations in place, set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), that govern the trucking industry. If a trucking company or truck driver happens to violate one of the regulations in place and an accident results from it, then your truck accident lawyer may be able to leverage this violation to show negligence against the trucking company or driver.
The fact is, there are a few FMCSA regulations that can apply in a truck accident injury case. Keep reading to find out what these are.
Establishing Liability in Truck Accident Cases with Help from FMCSA Regulations
Establishing liability in a truck accident requires you to prove negligence. To prove negligence, you have to show the following elements:
- The truck carrier or driver owed you a duty to operate their vehicle safely, hire qualified drivers, and maintain their fleet.
- The duty wasn’t fulfilled by the company or the driver
- The actions or inactions of the driver or company resulted in your accident
- Your injury took place because of the accident, and you experienced damages
If there’s a violation of an FMCSA regulation, hiring a truck accident attorney can be beneficial. This legal professional can help to show that the trucking company or driver breached the duty they owed you.
The FMCSA Standards That Govern Trucks and Truck Drivers
The standards outlined by the FMCSA cover a truck driver’s conduct and the condition of the truck they operate. These standards include:
- It’s necessary for the driver to have a commercial driver’s license (this is a state law)
- The driver has to be 21 years old to work in the field of interstate commerce
- It’s only legal for a driver to go a certain number of hours before they rest or take a break
- It’s necessary for federal employees to inspect their trucks regularly
- Drivers must submit to an alcohol or drug testing if certain accidents occur
There are other minimum standards set by the FMCSA, too. Also, Florida may opt to impose regulations that have higher standards.
How FMCSA Standard Violations May Result in an Accident
If you are injured in a truck accident, it’s necessary to connect the FMCSA violation to your accident. An example would be if the truck driver fell asleep because they didn’t follow the regulations regarding how many hours they were allowed to drive before resting.
When there is an FMCSA standard violation, it may show a pattern of conduct by the driver or the trucking company. One example is that the logs could show that the truck driver didn’t properly record the hours of rest or that they did not write down potential mechanical issues with their truck.
Filing a Lawsuit to Receive Compensation After a Truck Accident
It’s possible for you to use FMCSA regulation violations as a source of evidence to help you build a case. An example would be obtaining logs from the trucking company to determine if the driver was behind the wheel too long before taking a break or resting.
How to Use Negligence Per Se to Prove Truck Accident Liability
It’s possible for you to prove negligence in a truck accident case if you focus on negligence per se. You can do this by providing proof that the driver or company did not follow the FMCSA regulations that were in place.
Negligence per se occurs when an entity violates a law that’s designed to protect the general public. This includes things like driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Trucking Companies and Vicarious Liability of Drivers
It’s also important to understand vicarious liability. With this, liability is assigned to the trucking company for the actions of the truck driver that occur within the course of their daily tasks or employment.
Trucking Company Liability for Negligent Hiring or Retention of a Truck Driver
If it is proven that a trucking company was negligent when they hired or retained a driver, it’s possible for liability to be assigned to it. According to the FMCSA regulations, there are certain things that must be done when hiring or training drivers. These include:
- Employers are required to administer road tests
- Employers are required to look into the applicants driving record for a minimum of three years
- Employers must perform background checks
- Employers may require that the driver pass a drug screening and submit to random drug testing
- Employers have to conduct yearly reviews of all drivers
If the trucking company fails to follow the regulations from the FMCSA, it may create a defense of negligent hiring or retention. This would also help you win your legal claim after a truck accident.
Potential Types of Compensation for Injuries After a Truck Accident
The compensation that you may be able to receive for your injuries from a truck accident often includes the following:
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
You may also be able to recover additional expenses depending on the circumstances of your situation.
The FMCSA has set regulations that outline the conduct of those working in the trucking industry. If a driver or trucking company violates a federal regulation and an accident occurs, it’s possible to use the violation to show the liability of the driver or company.
Our Legal Team is Here to Help with Your Legal Claim
When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident, having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side is highly recommended. This is going to help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve to help you fully recover from your injuries and damages.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we are here to help with your personal injury lawsuit. Schedule an initial free consultation today to learn more about how we can help with your case.