Even with these regulations in place, every year thousands of truck accidents occur because of deliberate violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations or unskilled / impaired drivers trying to handle multi-ton vehicles at highway speeds.
Accidents involving large commercial trucks are not simply "big" car accidents. These types of collisions are much more complex. They require more investigation and specialized knowledge of engineering, crash reconstruction, and regulatory guidelines. As a result, you need a Cleveland truck accident attorney with experience in this area who can represent you effectively and knowledgeably. At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, our Ohio trial attorneys specialize in the most serious accidents, where our resources and sophistication make all the difference.
Highway Trucking Regulations in Cleveland
There are nationwide regulations to the trucking industry that help to improve vehicle safety across the country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) was established to regulate the trucking industry and can utilize force of law in the United States. When trucking companies or their drivers ignore the safety rules and, as a result, cause injury to others on the road, they may be held responsible for damages to punish conduct.
How Many Hours Are Truckers Allowed on the Road?
The FMCSA allows truckers to work 14-hour workdays, however in this 14-hour window truckers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours. The remaining time must be spent on rest and meal breaks. After a driver reaches their 14 hour daily max they are required to take at least 10 hours off to rest.
Likewise, the FMCSA regulates when a driver must take a day off, this rule is referred to as the 60/70 rule. If a trucking company is open seven days a week, a driver can work up to 70 hours in an eight-day period before taking at least 34 consecutive hours off. If a company is open less than seven days a week they may work up to 60 hours in a seven-day period before taking the mandatory 34 hours off.
Who is Liable For a Truck Accident?
Unlike a car accident where the negligent driver is usually the one held liable, several people can be held liable after a truck accident depending on the specific circumstances. The trucking company is the first possible responsible party. Since employers are responsible for their employees, they may be held liable if their drivers are in an accident, additionally, trucking companies have been known to encourage their drivers to break FMCSA regulations in order to help their bottom line. Doing this often leaves their drivers overworked and fatigued increasing the risk an accident will happen.
If a driver is an independent contractor of the company they drive for they may be held personally liable for an accident. Likewise, if a driver is engaging in illegal behavior they may also be held liable. In instances where a truck had a defective part or was not serviced correctly, the truck’s maintenance provider or auto manufacturer may be held liable. An attorney can help determine who is responsible for your accident.
What Are the Most Common Types of Trucking Accidents?
Trucking accidents can involve a number of different large-sized trucks, such as:
- Dump truck or garbage trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Tank trucks
- Big rigs
Truck driver errors cover a large percent of the trucking accidents across the state. These drivers can make a number of errors that result in a serious accident, such as:
- Heading distractions, such as reading a text message
- Fatigue from being overworked
- Impaired driving from one too many beers at the last rest stop
- Speed from trying to make a tight deadline
- Lack of experience
- Poor judgement
Although these are the same general causes of any motor vehicle accident, these vehicles can result in substantial damage to all other vehicles involved when in a crash. Even a minor distraction from a truck driver can result in loss of life.
Hurt in an 18-Wheeler Accident? Call Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP.
Our trial attorneys in Cleveland have access to a full range of experience, knowledge, and resources among our entire legal team. Our firm is backed by seven decades of sophisticated representation in the most complex types of personal injury cases involving semi-truck accidents—including those that resulted in catastrophic injury and death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a truck, it is important that you don't wait until the truck company's insurance adjustor talks to you. Because of the significant liability they have for injuries and death they cause on public roads, many large freight carriers carry insufficient liability insurance. Some gamble by self-insuring for any additional amount of liability they may be required to pay.
As a result, these companies will do everything possible to find a reason to avoid paying out of their own pockets to cover the full extent of your medical and financial losses. You need someone dedicated to you and your rights—not to the trucking company that put a dangerous driver or rig on the road. Our truck accident attorney in Cleveland is absolutely here for you, and we encourage you to contact us regarding your case.