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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes rules and regulations which govern commercial motor vehicles and the trucking companies who operate these vehicles. Their mission is to make the interstate highways safer.
Federal regulations require that a commercial carrier maintain evidence for a limited amount of time. A carrier may destroy a truck driver's log after six months unless a potential plaintiff obtains a court order or takes immediate action.
Federal regulations also require commercial trucks to carry some levels of insurance coverage, depending on materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck accidents from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay out-of-pocket damages. Minimum insurance levels ensure that an innocent victim need not cope with the burden of paying for property damage as well as damages resulting from truck injuries or deaths.
In order to successfully collect compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or for the wrongful death of a family member, a plaintiff must establish that the driver or commercial carrier operated or maintained the truck in a negligent manner.
Pretend that the trucking companies are Goliath and you and your truck accident attorney are David.
Truck accident negligence: The critical question for negligence is whether the truck driver failed to act as a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. If a truck driver acted in the same way that a reasonable person would consider unsafe – then negligence exists. Another way to show a presumption of negligence is to show that the driver or carrier failed to adhere to safety regulations.
When a plaintiff (or most likely his or her truck accident attorneys) establishes the negligence of the defendant (the truck driver or carrier); the plaintiff must show that the defendant's negligence caused the accident that resulted in injury. Causation can be a complex issue. However, if negligence resulted in the injury to person or property, for which the plaintiff has sued, causation exists.
In order to have a negligence suit, a plaintiff must prove that he or she has suffered damages. Damages include economic injury such as loss of income or wages, medical and funeral expenses, lost support and services, and replacement value or repair costs of personal property damaged in the accident. Damages may also include non-economic injuries such pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience as a result of bodily injury that resulted from the accident. Punitive damages may be awarded because of the defendant's reckless indifference to the rights of others.
Sometimes a trucking company may not pay medical bills immediately. In these cases, the (plaintiff) driver's insurance will contain medical payment provisions to pay for bills ranging from funeral costs to medical expenses. While many people do not wish to involve their own insurance company in any medical claims, most policies require the car owner to notify the insurance company of any collisions.
After a serious truck accident, a trucking company's claims adjuster begins to protect the trucking company's interests immediately. An investigator for the company may begin to collect evidence to defend or minimize the claim. It is usually in the victim's best interest not to sign a medical release or give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting an expert truck accident attorney. The trucking company may try to advise a victim against legal counsel, because they know that with an expert truck accident attorney at your side - you will most likely receive a greater settlement.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident injury or fatality, contact an expert truck accident lawyer, for a NO-OBLIGATION, free consultation.