Truck Accident Liability: What Does the Law Say?

Some of the most dangerous accidents of all are truck accidents. When you’re driving a passenger car or SUV, you don’t stand a chance against a giant machine like a tractor trailer. Not only are they bigger than your vehicle, but they’re often carrying tons of cargo. Your body just cannot withstand that kind of impact. Palm Springs truck accident attorneys understand this. They meet with clients every month who were devastated by a California truck accident.

Because these accidents are so terrible, they’re treated a bit differently than regular car accidents. For one, there may be more than one person responsible for the crash. The driver who hit you probably works for a company. You may need to pursue the owner of the company for damages. The driver is also likely carrying cargo for a third party. Depending on the cause of the accident, you may need to file suit against the company who owns the cargo.

As you can imagine, with all the possible defendants, it can become hard to keep things straights. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney in Palm Springs, California.

Truck Drivers Are Held to a Much Higher Standard

As you may imagine, professional truck drivers are held to a much higher standard than regular drivers. For example, there are stricter drunk driving laws when it comes to commercial drivers. Ordinary motorists aren’t considered intoxicated for drunk driving purposes unless their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.8%. Commercial drivers, however, are considered drunk half that amount. Professional drivers are considered intoxicated if they blow a 0.4% BAC or higher.

Truck drivers are also held to special standard when it comes to their vehicles and their hours. There are federal laws that dictate how many hours a commercial trucker can work without taking a break. These laws also prescribe how often these truck drivers must service their trucks and log their miles.

If a trucker fails to abide by these rules, they can be held liable for the damages that result in a truck accident. If you suffer the brunt of a truck accident in Palm Springs, you’ll need help. All you have to do is call and speak with one of our Palm Springs truck accident attorneys.

What Are the Special Laws that Apply to Commercial Truckers?

Professional truck drivers are required to follow the rules and guidelines as set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These laws are put in place to keep everybody safe – truck drivers and other motorists. If a driver is found to disregard these laws or violate the standards, they can be fined. They’ll also be liable for any issues that result from these violations.

According to the FMCSA, truck drivers must follow the below rules:

  • No driver can be on the road for more than 14 hours in any one shift
  • They can only drive for 11 of those 14 hours
  • They must take breaks and lunches that total at least 3 hours
  • If there is inclement weather, they can drive 13 out of 14 hours
  • If their company is open 7 days a week, they’re allowed to work up to 70 hours a week. If the company is open for 6 or less days, the weekly limit is 60 hours
  • They must maintain logs that track their hours and breaks

The important thing about the logs is that they must be maintained by the driver. They also have to be handwritten. If they are computerized, they are not acceptable. If a police officer pulls a trucker over and they don’t have their logs, they can be cited and fined. They can even have their commercial driver’s license suspended if they don’t have the documentation ready for inspection.

Truck Drivers Must Also Maintain Documentation of Repairs and Servicing of Their Vehicle

In addition to tracking their hours, truck drivers must also maintain logs that show when their truck has been serviced. If you’re hurt in a truck accident, your Palm Springs truck accident attorney will want to see these logs. If they see that the truck was recently repaired, they’ll want to know if it was done properly. There could be something wrong with the commercial vehicle. This may be the reason the crash happened in the first place.

Depending on what these logs say – both the hours’ logs and the repair logs – you may have a claim against multiple parties. Your personal injury attorney in Palm Springs, California is going to file suit against all possible defendants. This could include any or all of the following:

  • The commercial truck driver
  • The company they work for
  • The company that hired the trucker to carry their cargo
  • The mechanic who serviced the vehicles
  • The insurance companies of all the above parties

One thing about suing more than one person is it increases the odds of collecting damages. It also leads to deeper pockets. If you’re demanding $300,000, you have a better shot at collecting this much with more than one defendant on the hook. Trust that your Palm Springs truck accident attorney will do whatever they can to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call and Schedule Your Free, Initial Consultation

If you or your family have been hurt in a truck accident, you need help. The last thing you should be worried about is fighting with insurance companies. Your truck accident attorney in Palm Springs will handle the legal side of things. This way, you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Dealing with a trucking company and their clients is a lot harder than dealing with personal drivers. You’re not dealing with one insurance company. You could be dealing with two or three. If you have to drag in several defendants, they’re all going to have their own attorney. This means your personal injury lawyer in Palm Springs, California will have to negotiate with all of them to come to a settlement.

The best thing for you to do now is to call our office. Ask one of our agents if you can schedule your free, initial consultation. This way, you can let one of our skilled attorneys review your case and give an idea of how to proceed. They can even give you an idea of what your case is worth.

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