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Unique Issues In Big Rig Accidents

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Big rig trucks can be incredibly hazardous to deal with, especially for drivers in small cars. Truck drivers have to deal with different hazards than automobile drivers, and sometimes these issues can result in an accident causing harm to all involved. While it can be difficult to determine who truly was at fault for a specific incident, it can still be worth trying, especially if your injuries are severe.

Which Law Controls?

It is important to keep in mind, before bringing suit against a trucker or their employer, that federal law may control instead of Florida state law in a big rig accident, unlike with the overwhelming majority of car accidents – for example, if a trucker is engaged in interstate commerce, their conduct might fall under the aegis of the Interstate Commerce Commission and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This is almost unheard of with regard to smaller vehicles, simply because most physical loads destined for interstate commerce are too large to fit in most automobiles.

Going along with the issue of which law controls on the issue, the place where the defendant trucker and/or their employer live and work can also make a difference. The choice of law and forum can both play a significant role in the outcome of any suit you bring, both in terms of the holding itself and also in terms of damages if you prevail. Different states have different caps on non-economic damages, and also different procedures for filing or presenting specific types of evidence.

Driver & Truck Condition Can Be A Problem

The other major difference in many truck accidents versus in car accidents is that truck drivers have less control over their own actions. They are not acting for themselves; they have schedules to obey and customers to keep happy. As a result, it is not uncommon for truckers to push their limits, as well as the limits of their rigs. For example, in 2013, new rules were introduced that essentially established hours of service for truck drivers, and set a maximum of 70 hours per week, down from 82. However, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to subtly encourage their employees to push this, which can cause fatigue issues.

Pushing truckers to go above and beyond the regulations can also cause a lot of wear and tear on the trucks themselves. Vehicle failure was one of the most common causes of accidents mentioned in the Department of Transportation’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study done in the early 2000s, and it has not changed much since then. More hours on the road lead to less frequent opportunities for maintenance, and in some cases can even lead to a driver knowingly driving with a mechanical problem so as to be on time. Cars and auto drivers simply do not have the same issues in play.

Contact An Orlando Truck Accident Attorney

In theory, the same monetary losses may result from an accident, whether with another car or with a big rig, but the big rig has the capability of causing much more severe injury. If you have been harmed by a collision with a truck, an experienced attorney can help. The dedicated Orlando truck accident attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are ready, willing and able to assist you with your case. Contact us today to set up an initial appointment.

Resources:

fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations

transportation.gov/briefing-room/new-hours-service-safety-regulations-reduce-truck-driver-fatigue-begin-today

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