Laws Regarding Truck Accidents
When it comes to trucks, truck accidents, and the rules of the road, there are some laws that pertain to truck accidents, at both the state and federal levels.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
At the federal level, Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations speaks to regulations in the trucking industry. Title 49 dictates things such as how long truck drivers can work (14 consecutive hours). Of those hours, they can only drive 11 of them straight. The code also regulates how often they can have shifts and the recording of their driving information.
California Department of Transportation
Within the state of California, the Department of Transportation has regulations as well. In order to increase safety, there are many rules, such as limiting how much weight a particular truck can carry, who can be licensed to drive a semi-truck, and even how their driving hours are logged each day. Some of these are similar to federal regulations.
Statute of Limitations
If you or a loved one do get into a truck accident, there is a statute of limitations on filing the claim. In California, the time window is two years from the date of injury.
In any kind of personal injury case, including 18-wheeler accidents, fault must be determined. In a truck accident case, there are a few different parties that may be held liable, including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer (or parts manufacturer)
- The person who loaded the cargo
- The maintenance personnel
Every case must be assessed individually to determine fault.
Factors in Determining Liability
In addition to figuring out who is at fault, the factor of liability must be considered as well. The three main factors are the road conditions, the truck driver, and the vehicle driver. Uncontrollable elements, such as weather, can play a factor. The roads can be slippery from snow and ice or visibility could be low due to fog. The truck driver could have inadequate training or be fatigued from long shifts. The vehicle driver may be distracted in some other way or tired.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, you must have standing. This happens two different ways: either you are the victim of the accident, or a loved one is. In order for you to file on behalf of a loved one, they must have lost their life or be incapacitated. Only immediate family members — spouses, children, and parents — may file on their loved one’s behalf.