Truck accidents are often devastating for drivers and passengers hit by 18-wheelers – and they are even worse for cyclists and pedestrians. These accidents are often the fault of major trucking companies, whose drivers are often overworked and underpaid but still pushed to meet deadlines and deliver packages along difficult routes on cramped schedules. Often, these schedules and demands even violate federal regulations.
If you were injured in a truck accident, there may be grounds to get you substantial financial compensation for your injuries. Medical bills alone could cost tens of thousands of dollars in many cases, and damages for pain and suffering can be even higher. In some cases, punitive damages might even be available to punish negligent trucking companies.
Call Howe Law’s truck accident lawyers today for a free case review by dialing (844) 876-4357.
How Trucking Companies Break the Rules and Cause Accidents in Sandy Springs, AL
Truckers and trucking companies are subject to many federal and state regulations about trucking safety, licensure, driver health, cargo loading, vehicle equipment, and driving hours. These regulations help ensure that the tons upon tons of cargo that get transported by truck every day in this country and in Alabama alone are transported safely. When trucking companies or their drivers violate these rules, people can be hurt – but these rules can help those victims get compensation for their injuries.
Driver Licensing and Health Requirements
Truck drivers are supposed to carry commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to show that they have the skills and training to operate large trucks. In some cases, certain classes of license will not be necessary to drive smaller commercial vehicles, but CDLs are typically needed. Driving a large truck like an 18-wheeler or semi truck requires specific licensing.
To get these licenses and maintain commercial trucking jobs, drivers must be in good health and have good eyesight, hearing, and control of their limbs. There are many health issues that can bar people from legally being truckers, such as uncontrolled diabetes. In some cases, even though there is no strict regulation against it, other health issues can also contribute to a driver being unsafe behind the wheel, such as sleep apnea.
If a trucker violated these regulations on their own, our truck accident lawyers can help you file a claim against them. If a trucking company hired a driver they knew violated these regulations, they could be on the hook for those damages instead.
Cargo and Loading Regulations
Regulations have strict requirements for weight limits on trucks, tie-down and securement requirements, and regulations for how trucks are supposed to be loaded. There are also unwritten safety rules in the industry that reasonable truck drivers are supposed to follow. For example, trucks should be loaded with the heaviest items to the front, as trucks become more unstable and susceptible to “trailer sway” and fishtailing if the heavier items are toward the back.
Usually, trucks must follow an 80,000-pound weight limit. Trucks are often overloaded by trucking companies who want to get extra freight in fewer deliveries, and these kinds of violations can be incredibly dangerous to other drivers if it makes the truck harder to control and slow down.
Hours of Service Regulations
Drivers are limited in how much they are allowed to drive to help eliminate tired driving and the effects of a long shift. Drivers who spend a lot of time on the road are often a bit less diligent when it comes to signaling properly, making full stops at stop signs, and staying under the speed limit. Truck drivers in a hurry to make deadlines are even worse about these things and might try to drive long hours to make up lost time. Long shifts can also mean tired driving, which is incredibly dangerous.
Trucking companies have, in the past, been found by courts to have engaged in pressure campaigns to force drivers to violate hours of service rules, driving their workers beyond legal limits to make more money off of them. Many drivers are also complicit in this because they also make more money in some cases. However, driver logs should be accurate, and signs of tampering or falsification can potentially lead to punitive damages in cases where tired drivers have repeatedly caused accidents or where the trucking company condoned the violations.
Damages for Injured Trucking Accident Victims in Sandy Springs, AL
If you were hit by a truck, you might be in the most excruciating pain of your life. You could face substantial medical bills, and all the while, you might not be able to afford to pay them because you are out of work. Our lawyers can help you fight for these damages and more.
Getting full compensation for your medical bills and lost wages will be a priority when we represent you in court. This means getting every dollar you spent or lost paid back, along with damages for other expenses like vehicle damage, childcare costs, help around the house, and wheelchair ramps and accessible home features to deal with any new disabilities.
We can also fight for damages that go beyond the monetary issues. Pain and suffering, along with emotional distress and other “non-economic damages,” can be paid to victims on top of the other damages they receive. In many cases, these damages are paid as a multiple of your other economic damages.
On top of these damages, we may be able to fight for punitive damages against a trucking company that knew they were violating trucking regulations. These damages can help prevent the same trucking company from violating rules in the future and potentially keep others safe. They can also send a message to other trucking companies that might try to violate rules in a similar way.
Contact Our Trucking Accident and Injury Attorneys in Sandy Springs
Call Howe Law’s Birmingham truck accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357 for help with your injury case.