What Happens When a Trucking Company Violates FMCSA Rules?

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Federal motor carrier safety regulations, or FMCSA rules, are in place to ensure that large motor carriers – including commercial trucking companies, their drivers, and their employees – operate and load vehicles safely.

Many of these regulations pertain to proper weight limits for large commercial vehicles, including big rigs, 18-wheelers, and tractor-trailers, while other rules relate to adequate loading and unloading procedures for truck cargo.

When truck drivers and trucking company employees violate these regulations, they may cause serious accidents that leave other drivers and passengers severely injured.

If you recently sustained injuries in a trucking accident, consult a Baraboo truck accident lawyer in your jurisdiction as soon as possible. Your attorney can review the documentation available, including police reports, and retain a certified accident reconstructionist who can determine how your accident likely happened.

Your attorney can then file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer for monetary compensation.

After filing a claim with the insurance company on your behalf, your attorney can aggressively advocate for your legal interests by participating in settlement negotiations and working to maximize the monetary damages you ultimately receive for your injuries.

Finally, if the insurance company does not make you a fair financial offer, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf, seeking the full monetary recovery you need and deserve.

Unlike insurers for truck drivers and trucking companies who are never on your side, your truck accident lawyer will be in your corner every step of the way, aggressively advocating for your legal interests and fighting for your rights.

Also, if you have questions throughout the process, your lawyer can answer them in a timely manner and prepare you for various litigation proceedings in your case, including a deposition, civil jury trial, or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.

Your attorney will take all of the necessary steps to maximize your overall monetary award, ensuring that you become whole again after your truck accident.

What Are FMCSA Rules?

Due to their size and weight, a large commercial vehicle that is involved in an accident can cause severe damage and may bring about a single-vehicle accident or a massive, multi-vehicle pileup on a busy highway.

Commercial Truck Accidents

FMCSA rules and regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are in place to promote safe commercial vehicle operation and prevent accidents from happening.

However, when truck drivers and trucking company employees violate these regulations, their chances of causing an accident are significantly higher.

In general, FMCSA regulations:

  • Establish weight limits for large commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers
  • Prescribe requirements for lighting on tractors and trailers, including overhead lighting and undercarriage lighting
  • Establish guidelines for properly loading and unloading cargo onto a trailer, ensuring that the vehicle does not become top-heavy and tip over
  • Establish guidelines for properly securing cargo onto the bed of a trailer so that it will not fall off the trailer and into the road while the truck is in motion

If you suffered injuries because a truck driver or trucking company violated the law, you want a truck accident attorney on our side from the start. Your attorney can investigate the accident and determine your eligibility for taking legal action against the at-fault truck driver or trucking company. If you proceed, your lawyer can take the appropriate steps on your behalf, securing your right to monetary compensation for the injuries and property damage you sustained in your accident.

Types of Truck Accidents that Result from FMCSA Violations

When truck drivers and trucking companies commit wrongful acts and violate motor carrier regulations, serious accidents can happen. In some situations, the tractor-trailer may become top-heavy – and its center of balance may become offset – causing the vehicle to fully or partially overturn in a rollover accident.

At other times, the top-heavy vehicle may become more difficult to stop, especially in a short amount of time. As a result, a truck driver may negligently cause a rear-end accident with another vehicle or a traffic intersection accident (such as when a truck proceeds through a yellow or red traffic light without stopping).

Additionally, if a truck driver or trucking company employee fails to properly secure cargo onto the bed of a truck, the shipment may slide off the truck and land in the middle of the road.

In some situations, such as with logs, the cargo may impale the windshield of an oncoming vehicle, causing the vehicle occupants to suffer permanent injuries or fatalities.

Alternatively, a load that lands in the middle of the road may lead to collisions with multiple other vehicles, causing a chain-reaction collision.

Also, when trucking company employees fail to load cargo onto a sizable commercial truck properly, the vehicle may jackknife, primarily when proceeding down a hill or traveling around a sharp curve.

A commercial truck jackknifes when the tractor and trailer portions fold inward on one another, resembling the shape of a jackknife. In that situation, the vehicle may skid forward and collide with all other vehicles in its path.

If you sustained injuries in one of these types of truck accidents that resulted from motor carrier violations, you are not alone. However, given the state statute of limitations, always consult a truck accident lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Your lawyer can go over all of your legal options with you and discuss which option will best suit the facts and needs of your personal injury case.

Injuries that Truck Accident Victims May Suffer

When a large commercial truck, such as a big rig or tractor-trailer, hits a smaller passenger vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, it is almost always the individual or individuals on the receiving end who suffer the most severe injuries in the crash.

Roll over Truck Accident

In fact, if a truck accident occurs at a high rate of speed – and with a significant amount of force – the accident victim may wind up with permanent and sometimes fatal injuries.

The specific injuries that a truck accident victim suffers will depend on the type of accident that occurs, the force of the collision, the number of vehicles involved, and the accident victim’s position in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Common injuries that are often associated with severe truck accidents include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Permanent cognitive impairments
  • Mouth and teeth injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Bruises
  • Open lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Rib fractures
  • Soft tissue whiplash contusions
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Permanent scarring
  • Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
  • Full and partial paralysis

If you or a person you care about suffered one or more of these injuries in a recent truck accident that resulted from a motor carrier violation, your first priority should be to attend medical appointments promptly.

After consulting a physician in a hospital emergency room, follow through on all medical treatment recommendations and continuously attend your appointments.

For instance, depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you might undergo surgery to correct a broken bone or fracture, attend postoperative physical therapy sessions to recover your range of motion, and more.

When receiving treatment for your injuries, avoid having significant treatment gaps. Otherwise, the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer may become skeptical of your injuries, believing them to be irrelevant or unserious.

While you focus on completing your medical treatment regimen and achieving a full medical recovery, your truck accident attorney can begin the claims-filing process for you by gathering the documents necessary to satisfy the legal burden of proof in your case.

Upon completing your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin involving the insurance company and negotiating for the fair settlement compensation you deserve.

Proving a Truck Accident Legal Claim

Victims of truck accidents frequently suffer debilitating injuries, some of which may be permanent and cause costly issues for accident victims for the rest of their lives. To receive monetary compensation, truck accident victims must first establish their legal burden of proof in the case.

In a truck accident claim or lawsuit, the sole legal burden of proof rests entirely with the injured accident victim. On the other hand, the at-fault truck driver or trucking company does not need to prove anything whatsoever in the case.

First, the injured accident victim must establish that the truck driver or trucking company owed them a legal duty of care. Specifically, truck drivers have a duty to operate their large commercial vehicles safely. Trucking companies and their employees have a duty to follow all professional safeguards and to obey all applicable motor carrier regulations.

Additionally, the injured accident victim must show that the truck driver or trucking company specifically violated one or more FMCSA motor carrier regulations, such as by failing to load cargo onto the trailer properly or adequately securing cargo to the trailer bed.

Commercial Vehicle

The injured accident victim must also demonstrate that their truck accident directly resulted from the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence. Finally, the accident victim must establish that as a direct and proximate result of their truck accident, they suffered one or more physical injuries and damages.

To establish the medical nexus between the accident victim’s claimed injuries and the truck accident, a truck accident lawyer can retain a qualified medical expert who can testify at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial in the case or draft a favorable medical report.

In that medical report, the provider must indicate that the accident victim sustained their injuries as a direct result of the truck accident. Moreover, if the accident victim suffered permanent injuries, the medical expert can address that fact in their medical report or medical testimony.

A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction can retain the necessary experts to establish your legal burden of proof, making you eligible for the monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Recovering Favorable Monetary Damages for Your Truck-accident Injuries

If you sustained injuries in a recent truck accident that resulted from a truck driver or motor carrier’s FMCSA violation, you may recover monetary damages. The specific items of economic damage that an accident victim may recover are very accident-specific.

In other words, the accident victim’s total monetary award will likely depend upon the total cost of their medical expenses, the specific injuries that they suffered in their accident, and whether or not their injuries are permanent.

First, an accident victim may pursue monetary recovery for their related past and anticipated medical costs. Additionally, if they had to take time off work to recover from their injuries and attend medical or physical therapy appointments, they may be entitled to lost income compensation.

In addition to recovering their economic damages in a truck accident case, an accident victim may pursue favorable monetary recovery for their intangible losses, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of spousal consortium, inconvenience, emotional anguish and distress, permanent scarring, and long-term or lifetime care costs.

Your attorney can determine which of these damages you can recover in your case, along with the likely settlement or verdict value. Then, your attorney can file the appropriate personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf to obtain the monetary compensation necessary to recover for your accident-related losses.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyer Today

William Pemberton, Madison Truck Accident Lawyer
William Pemberton, Truck Accident Lawyer

Upon sustaining injuries in a truck accident, involve a skilled truck accident attorney in your case right away. Your lawyer can promptly investigate your accident circumstances and determine whether a truck driver or trucking company likely violated one or more FMCSA regulations – and the specific regulations which they violated.

Your attorney may then file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and aggressively negotiate for monetary damages on your behalf.

Finally, if the insurance company denies liability for your truck accident or otherwise refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, your attorney can file suit and litigate your case to an efficient resolution in the court system.

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