Car wrecks are bad enough. If you get into a wreck with a commercial van, a flatbed truck, or an 18-wheeler, the damage and injuries can be catastrophic and incredibly costly.
The federal government has rules to protect us from the dangers of sharing the roads with these vehicles, but all too often the rules are ignored in the interest of profits or because of negligent business practices.
If you are injured because a driver or their company has ignored the rules of the road or federal regulations, your personal injury attorney can help you hold the driver and their employer accountable.
Rules of the Road for Trucking Companies
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on who trucking companies can hire to operate their vehicles. Companies are required to document that each driver:
- Has a valid commercial driver's license;
- Has passed an examination and meets the physical requirements to drive a commercial vehicle;
- 21 or older;
- Reads and speaks English well enough to understand traffic signs and signals;
- Has an acceptable driving and employment record; and
- Has tested negative for alcohol and other drugs.
The government has adopted these rules to prevent catastrophic accidents on the highways. What happens when companies ignore them?
What's the Purpose of Federal Regulations?
Drivers with a history of alcohol or other drug problems are more likely to drive while impaired.
Drivers who do not have the appropriate license are less likely to know how to safely handle their vehicles.
Drivers who do not meet the physical requirements are likely to get exhausted by the demands of operating a commercial vehicle.
And, drivers with a history of traffic violations are more likely to use bad judgment on the road and commit future traffic violations.
The federal requirements are designed to make sure these kinds of drivers are not put behind the wheel of some of the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road.
Trucking Companies do not Always Follow the Rules
Unfortunately, companies do not always make sure their applicants meet these strict federal requirements. They often hire unqualified drivers, and this failure puts our lives at risk on the highway.
Sometimes companies don't ask the required questions. This is negligent hiring.
Other times, companies do ask, but they hire an applicant even when he or she doesn't meet the requirements. This, too, is negligent.
Trucking Accident Cases are Different
Trucking accidents can be a complex area of the law.
Your SC trucking accident attorney must be experienced in the basics of auto accident and personal injury law, and they must also know what to look for during their investigation of the commercial vehicle, its driver, and their company.
If you are injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you need to know if the driver met federal requirements and if their employer did their part to find out. If they did not, neither the driver nor the company is likely to admit it. Your personal injury attorney can find out.
Your attorney will dig into the company's hiring practices, examine the driver's record, and obtain copies of the federally required driver qualification file. We will also investigate the scene of the accident and determine if driver negligence, inadequate training, poor vehicle maintenance, or faulty equipment played a role in the accident.
When you are injured because of the negligence of a commercial vehicle driver or their employer, you need to get an experienced SC trucking accident attorney on your side quickly who can find the evidence that will prove the cause of the accident and get you maximum compensation.