Anyone who has seen a commercial grade truck, or Big Rig, veer over a line knows this fear. The fear that a truck driver has been on the road for too long, or has something else on their mind. It happens, and it often leads to crashes.
The risks affect everyone on the road including the drivers. Over many other jobs, truckers face some of the highest on-the-job fatal injuries. That stat doesn’t begin to explore the other deaths and injuries that these crashes cause.
If you suspect the driver in your wreck should not have been driving, you need a Virginia truck accident lawyer.
How A Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Can Investigate For Common Crash Reasons
Here are some of the more common causes behind truck crashes include:
- Drug use – legal or otherwise
- Excessive speed when considering road conditions
- Driver fatigue
- Driver distraction
- Equipment or truck failure
- Bad weather
There are factors that a driver may not be able to avoid such as bad roads or faulty brakes. A lawyer should ensure that the review into these wrecks looks at every option.
What Does The Investigation Review?
A Richmond truck accident lawyer will look closely at the crash from all angles. They may speak with you, any passengers, the witnesses, insurance companies, and the police.
A typical investigation might include a review of any of these materials:
- The truck’s black box
- Driver’s logs
- Police report
- Insurance claims
- Statements from both drivers
- Witness statements
- Phone or electronic records
- Drug test results – standard procedure after a truck crash
- Site evidence such as skuff marks
More Information With Direct Communication
No one wants to spend time going back and forth with insurance companies. If you were in a truck accident, it’s likely that you sustained injuries. In some cases, you may have experienced the loss of a loved one.
Talking to two or three different insurance providers can make recovering from these circumstances more difficult.
As a lawyer reviews what happened during the wreck, and what caused it, you’ll have access to more information.
An insurance company is not going to share that the driver was overworked. They will not tell you that their company policy and best practices are different. A lawyer can share this information.
Claims of Negligence
For many drivers, they expect truckers to drive at a higher standard than everyone else. Most drivers think that truckers know the need for safety as they are driving nearly all day, every day. In some cases, the truckers do know this but work for companies that coach them to act otherwise.
Claims of negligence can go two ways. First, a lawyer can investigate if the cause of the crash was because of the driver. Second, a lawyer will investigate if the ultimate root cause was because of company policy or equipment.
There are a lot of small facets that play big roles in these investigations. Sometimes, there is no clear “cause,” and there are cases where the decision results in shared or partial-fault.
If you believe the driver was distracted in any way, it’s vital that you make that clear from your first statement. That observation can impact the outcome and the at-fault decision.
In short, a distracted driver is negligent. A company that overworks its drivers is negligent. There are many laws that govern a driver’s behavior and time on the road.
A Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Should Explore FMCSA Rules
The FMCSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which has a long list of rules and regulations for truckers. They set out the medical requirements for truckers to protect them from unhealthy work conditions.
They also have regulations regarding the use of alcohol and other substances. An attorney should be able to identify any lapses in FMCSA compliance.
Some basic FMCSA rules are:
- After 10-hours off-duty drivers can work for 14-hours straight.
- After 8-hours of work drivers must take a 30-minute break.
- Drivers cannot exceed 70 working hours in an 8-day period.
- Drivers cannot exceed 60 working hours in a 7-day period.
- In poor driving conditions drivers can add 2 hours to their work periods.
However, trucking companies will try to skirt these rules or encourage drivers to work in a way that pushes the limits of their working hours. These circumstances lead to tired, and overworked truckers that are a danger on the road.
There are many other rules, including extensive regulations for drug-use. Laws about distractions such as phone use falls to state laws.
Get Help Closing Your Case
Call a Virginia truck accident lawyer today to learn what the next step is for you and your family. Commonwealth Accident Injury Law helps victims in VA recover after these awful crashes. Contact us today for help right away to resolve this matter.