According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of trucking accidents has nearly doubled in the last two decades. Often times, accidents are caused when trucking companies become motivated by profits and fail to adhere to safety regulations.

The risks of significant injury and death as a result of a semi-truck, big rig, or 18-wheeler accident are greatly increased compared to ordinary traffic accidents. If you were injured or a loved one died in a crash involving a semi or big rig, you should call the trustworthy Bellingham truck accident lawyers of Walton Law, APC.

Proving Liability for Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations were enacted to regulate trucking companies and truck drivers’ behavior in an effort to keep motorists safe. These laws regulate many issues in the interstate trucking industry, including:

  • Record keeping for trucking companies and their drivers,
  • Suspension of a truck drivers’ licenses,
  • Hazardous material transport procedures,
  • Drug and alcohol use,
  • Truck inspection requirements, and
  • Hours of service rules.

Trucking Hours of Service

Limits on a trucker’s hours of service are a major area of regulation in the industry. These laws are designed to prevent drowsy driving, which can severely impair a driver’s judgment and motor skills but is much more difficult to detect than the use of drugs or alcohol. However, due to the nature of the trucking industry, and its delivery deadlines, long hours are common. Some drivers do not adhere to the hours of service rules; this failure may be actionable negligence.

With the hours of service rules imposed on interstate drivers, they are required not to stay on-duty beyond a certain number or house, and must rest a specified number of hours after being on-duty Among other rules, truck drivers carrying property may:

  • Only drive up to 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off-duty.
  • Only drive if eight hours or less have passed since the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of no less than 30 minutes.
  • Not drive after 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in eight consecutive days – the driver may only start a new work week period after 34 or more consecutive hours on duty.

Truck drivers are required to keep logbooks of their time on-duty and rest break periods. Our lawyers may subpoena these records in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. If a driver’s logbook shows they violated the hours of service rules, this can create a presumption of negligence that makes your case easier to prove.

Negligence and Personal Injury Claims in Trucking Accidents

To recover in most personal injury cases, our attorneys must establish the defendant acted negligently. This requires us to show the following elements:

  • The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim.
  • The defendant breached that duty of care by acting or failing to act in the way an ordinarily prudent person would under the circumstances.
  • The defendant’s actions or inactions proximately caused the victim’s injuries.
  • The victim suffered actual harm from the breach of duty.

In some cases, the doctrine of negligence per se applies. This means that establishing a legal violation alone is enough to prove negligence occurred.

Consult a Seasoned Truck Accident Lawyer

If you were injured or a loved one died after a collision involving a truck, you should call an experienced truck accident attorney right away to ensure your case receives immediate attention and investigation.

Typically the trucking company involved will get an investigator out to the scene as quickly as possible. It may even try to settle with you before you understand the extent of your damages or your legal rights.

Our attorneys can help figure out who is actually responsible for the accident and improve your chances of holding them accountable and obtain full compensation for your injuries. For a free and confidential consultation, please call us directly at (866) 338-7079, or contact us online.

Bellingham Office Location

2219 Rimland Dr Suite 301,
Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 543-1010