Monterey Trucking Accident Attorney
Trucking and moving products from state to state is big business. Trucking companies and the businesses that use them only care about getting their products to market quickly. These businesses press their drivers to meet deadlines and often times take shortcuts in order to do so. When shortcuts are taken, catastrophic and fatal accidents happen. When these accidents do occur, these same companies have skilled investigators and teams of attorneys there to protect their interests. These companies have rapid response teams and protocols that allow their experts and insurance providers to arrive at the live scene where they investigate and discuss the accident investigation with law enforcement. If you are a victim of a trucking accident it is critical that you have an attorney involved from the onset to help you with your case.
Trucking accidents differ from regular automobile accidents and require special handling. Unlike regular car accidents, trucking accidents usually involve commercial motor carriers moving products from state-to-state. This means two things. First, the wrongdoer is a business or corporate party. Second, that the actions of the trucking company are covered by federal trucking regulations established by a division of the Department of Transportation.
These federal rules, that apply to truck drivers and truck companies, include regulations related to: the hiring of truck drivers, the qualifications of truck drivers, the licensing of truck drivers, the physical examination of truck drivers, limitations on the hours driven, required rest periods, logbook requirements, drug and alcohol testing, the cargo carried, and the inspection and maintenance of the trucks driven. Not every attorney is familiar with the unique regulations that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies. It is important that you obtain an attorney who is familiar with these rules and regulations. The attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group, LLP have experience handling claims involving trucks and trucking companies.
The seven most common reasons for trucking accidents are:
1. Unsafe Driving: This is operating a commercial motor vehicle or truck in a dangerous or unsafe manner. This includes speeding, reckless driving, improper lane changes, inattention, use of cell phones, failure to reduce speed in bad weather or other actions that are a violation of traffic laws.
2. Tired Driving (Hours of Service): This is the operation of a commercial motor vehicle or truck by drivers who are ill, tired or who have exceeded the maximum hours allowed by the federal regulations. This includes any violation of log book regulations or hours of service regulations.
3. Driver Fitness: This includes drivers who are unqualified due to lack of training, experience or medical qualifications. This includes drivers who do not have a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license or are medically unqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle (examples: Diabetes, seizures, physical deformity).
4. Controlled Substances/Alcohol: This includes operation of a commercial motor vehicle or truck by drivers who are impaired by drugs, alcohol or prescription/over-the-counter narcotics.
5. Vehicle Maintenance: This includes failing to properly maintain a commercial motor vehicle or truck. Examples of violations include: faulty or failing brakes, burnt out lights, inadequate tire tread, uneven tire pressure, or other mechanical defects and failure to make required repairs.
6. Cargo: This involves the failure to adequately prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo and unsafe handling of hazardous cargo. Some examples include improper load securement and negligent cargo retention.
7. Distracted Driving: This is the diversion of a driver’s attention while driving. This can be visual distraction (taking eyes off road); manual distraction (taking hands off wheel), mental distraction (thinking about something other than the road or driving) and audible distraction (listing to the radio or someone talking).
In addition to unique laws that regulate trucking, there are also specialized databases and systems that have been established to promote trucking safety. These include databases on trucking companies and companies with their own trucking fleet. These databases provide a snapshot of a company’s safety history including information on inspections, accidents and safety ratings. There are also national databases that deal with the collection of crash data, safety violation data, analyzing the weight and severity of each violation and crash, and intervention procedures utilized to address safety issues.
A commercial motor vehicle, to which the unique federal regulations apply, include more than just “big rig” trucks. A commercial motor vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds. This means that buses, box trucks and even heavy duty pick-up trucks with cargo trailers, may qualify as a commercial motor vehicle and is subject to the federal regulations. In addition, the companies that can be held responsible for these accidents may include companies other than the trucking company itself. For example, a company that uses a trucking company with a spotty safety history may be held responsible for failing to select a safe trucking company. If you do not have a skilled attorney handling your case, your attorney may not recognize what is considered a commercial motor vehicle and the parties from which recovery may be sought.
A commercial motor vehicle or truck driver is a professional driver and should be held to a higher standard. These drivers have specialized training. These drivers are operating a motor vehicle that is usually ten to twenty times heavier than the average automobile. As a result, these vehicles pose a deadly risk to other drivers on the road.
If you or a loved one are a victim of a trucking accident, you need an experienced attorney to represent you and protect your interests. Whether you are a driver, passenger, or a truck driver yourself, injured by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, you should consult with a skilled attorney immediately. The attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group, LLP are available to discuss your case and provide a consultation at no cost.