Injuries sustained in collisions with commercial trucks tend to be particularly severe – and in some tragic cases, deadly. For this reason, drivers and trucking companies are required to comply with specific federal regulations regarding hours of service, driver qualifications, and inspections. When a driver fails to follow these rules, any drivers who are also on the road at the same time are at risk of sustaining serious injuries. Fortunately, injured parties who can demonstrate that a driver or a driver’s employer violated a federal regulation may be able to collect compensation to cover their medical expenses and other losses. So, if you or a loved one was involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney who can represent you.
In an effort to cut down on the number of truck accidents occurring in Virginia and across the country, the federal government instituted a series of mandatory rules regarding:
- How long drivers are permitted to operate a vehicle during their shifts
- How cargo should be loaded and unloaded
- Maximum truck weight limits
- Maintenance and repair standards
- How and when safety inspections must be conducted
- Qualifications that a driver must have prior to being hired.
To ensure that these requirements are fulfilled, federal law also requires drivers to keep logbooks recording specific information, including:
- The number of miles driven per day
- Starting times
- Dates and times of rest breaks
- Shipping document numbers
- A detailed log that tracks a driver’s travel in one-hour increments
- Notations explaining when a driver was on duty, off duty, or on duty but not driving
Drivers must provide their logbooks when requested for inspection and must turn them over to employers within 13 days of their completion. Furthermore, truck companies are required to retain these records for at least six months. Access to these documents can prove crucial to the success of a case, as properly completed logbooks can reveal whether a driver violated federal regulations. Drivers who falsify their logbooks face criminal penalties.
When a truck driver fails to comply with these rules and causes an accident, he or she can be held personally liable for resulting injuries. However, victims may also be able to collect damages from the following individuals or entities:
- The driver’s employers if they failed to use reasonable care when hiring or did not adequately supervise drivers
- The manufacturer of the cargo that caused the injuries if they failed to warn the driver of its dangerous propensities
- Vehicle parts distributors if they negligently designed or manufactured a vehicle part
- Negligent mechanics who failed to use reasonable care when repairing or inspecting a truck
Collecting compensation from these parties can go a long way toward helping accident victims move on with their lives and begin the long process of recovery.
Contact a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney in Richmond Today
Please contact the legal team at Emroch & Kilduff by calling (804) 358-1568 or by visiting us at our office in Richmond to learn more about your legal options.