Truck accidents are unfortunately common in Northport, often having serious consequences for those involved. If you have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages.
When the unthinkable occurs, you are entitled to justice. Truck drivers and companies are required to follow safety regulations at all times, but unfortunately, some choose to ignore them to gain a competitive edge. However, you should not be made to pay for the unsafe actions taken by a truck driver or their employer. Because these cases are complex, other parties could be involved that contributed to your accident before it even occurred. Our team can help you hold them accountable.
For a free case review with our Tuscaloosa truck accident attorneys, contact Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357.
Regulations That Must Be Followed by Truckers and Trucking Companies in Northport, AL
The trucking industry in Northport is subject to strict regulations that govern the activities of both drivers and trucking companies. These regulations cover a wide range of areas, from driver qualifications and hours of service to vehicle maintenance and safety requirements. If these regulations are violated, causing an accident, our truck accident lawyers can help you get justice by suing the trucker who injured you and the company they work for. The following are common regulations that must be followed but can be used as evidence of negligence if they are not:
Truck Driver Qualifications
In Northport, all commercial truck drivers must meet certain qualifications mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These qualifications include the driver being at least 21 years of age, proficient in English, and physically capable of driving safely.
In addition to this, the driver must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial truck. To ensure the safety of everyone on the road, commercial drivers are also required to pass a medical examination every two years. This is to ensure that they are physically fit to drive and that their health does not pose a risk to themselves or others on the road.
Hours of Service Regulations
Ensuring driver safety is paramount in the transportation industry. To this end, hours of service regulations have been put in place to ensure that drivers have adequate rest periods and are not driving while fatigued.
According to the FMCSA regulations, a driver can drive for up to 11 hours after a rest period of 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, the drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following a rest period of 10 consecutive hours off duty. These regulations are designed to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue, one of Northport’s most common causes of truck accidents.
Truck Maintenance and Inspections
It is of utmost importance that trucking companies take responsibility for ensuring that their vehicles are frequently inspected, repaired, and maintained so that they remain safe and in proper working order. This not only helps to prevent accidents but also extends the lifespan of the vehicle.
In order to ensure that these standards are being met, the Alabama Department of Public Safety conducts random inspections of commercial vehicles to verify that they are being maintained in accordance with state and federal regulations. These inspections include examining important components such as brakes, tires, lights, and the overall mechanical condition of the vehicle. Any issues discovered during these inspections must be rectified immediately to maintain the safety of the vehicle.
Freight and Weight Limitations
There are also specific rules and limitations imposed on the freight and weight that can be carried by commercial trucks. In Northport, the maximum weight allowed for commercial vehicles in Alabama is set at 80,000 pounds. However, certain exceptions might apply based on the type of cargo and vehicle. Therefore, before transportation, it is crucial for truckers and loading companies to double-check the weight limitations imposed by the authorities to avoid devastating accidents in the future.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
To ensure the safety of drivers and everyone else on the road, certain regulations must be adhered to when it comes to the use of drugs and alcohol. The FMCSA has set guidelines for drug and alcohol testing, which include pre-employment testing, random testing, post-accident testing, reasonable suspicion testing, return-to-duty testing, and follow-up testing for controlled substances and alcohol. These tests are crucial in identifying and preventing drug and alcohol use among drivers, which can lead to impaired driving and deadly disasters on the road.
Parties that You Can File a Lawsuit Against for a Truck Accident in Northport, AL
Identifying the liable parties in a truck accident lawsuit can be a complex process, requiring thorough investigation and understanding of trucking regulations and operations. The following are common parties sued after getting injured in a Northport truck accident:
The Truck Driver
Often, the first party considered in a truck accident lawsuit is the truck driver. If evidence suggests that the driver was negligent—perhaps they were speeding, driving under the influence, or violating other traffic laws—they could be held liable for the accident.
The Trucking Company
In many cases, the trucking company may also bear responsibility for an accident. If the company failed to properly maintain its vehicles, hired an unqualified driver, or encouraged unsafe driving practices, such as skipping mandated rest breaks, it could be held accountable in a lawsuit.
The Truck Owner
If the truck involved in the accident is owned by a party different from the driver or the trucking company, the truck owner could also be named in a lawsuit. For example, if the owner leased the truck to a driver or a company and neglected necessary maintenance or repairs, they could be held liable for resulting accidents.
The Cargo Loading Company
Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause serious truck accidents. If a third-party cargo loading company was responsible for loading the truck and did so improperly, resulting in an accident, they could potentially be sued for damages.
The Truck Manufacturer
If a defect in the truck or one of its components contributed to the accident, the truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer could be held responsible. In cases of product liability, the manufacturer can be held liable even if they were not negligent.
In some cases, a government entity may be to blame for a truck accident. If, for example, the accident was caused by poor road conditions or faulty traffic control devices that the local government failed to address, it might be possible to file a claim against the relevant government agency. However, lawsuits against government entities are subject to specific rules and limitations under Ala. Code § 11-93-2.
Our Northport, AL Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help Get Justice for Your Injuries
Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 to speak with our truck accident attorneys and get your free case consultation.