Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured as a result of a truck accident, you need the experience of the Ritchie Law Firm on your side. We put together a deep investigation of the incident to get you the best result. Get a free case evaluation with the Ritchie Law Firm today.
We take your injury personally, let’s get started today with a free case evaluation:
Should I Hire a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer?
Yes. You should choose a law firm experienced in handling trucking cases. Truck accident cases require attorneys who will work aggressively to fight the big trucking companies. An experienced trucking attorney will know which evidence is important to collect to prove your claim and will know how to present your case so you are fairly compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
The lawyer you choose does make a difference. An attorney who is not experienced in handling tractor trailer accident cases will likely not obtain the best result.
The Ritchie Law Firm is experienced in obtaining favorable verdicts and settlements for victims of truck accidents. Our lawyers have been recognized by the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and Super Lawyers.
We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay us a fee unless we get results for you. Call us today for a free consultation 800-277-6124 or use our convenient online form.
“The truck came across the center line and side-swiped my car. My wife and I were both injured in the accident. The Volvo was totaled. My wife needed surgery on her knee. I was suffering from post-traumatic stress as a result of the accident. It affected me far more seriously than I would have expected. I needed legal help and I went to the Ritchie Law Firm. This was a very difficult case because of complicated medical issues and the Ritchie Law Firm was able to handle the problem. They worked very hard for me. I was very satisfied with the outcome. They were a great help to my wife and I. If you’ve been injured, I recommend you call the Ritchie Law Firm.”
$2.5 Million Recovery: Tractor Trailer Crash
Client came to the Ritchie Law Firm after retaining another attorney who could not figure out how to get a large enough amount of insurance coverage for his injuries.
Client’s case was a complex one. They suffered an exacerbation of their pre-existing Chiari Malformation symptoms when their work vehicle was hit by a large truck. The Ritchie Law Firm was successful in getting client’s medical expenses covered despite client’s pre-existing conditions.
What Regulations Apply to Tractor Trailer Drivers and Trucking Companies?
There are both state and federal regulations that trucking companies and their drivers must follow. When a trucking company or driver fails to follow these regulations and this causes a collision, they can be found negligent and held liable for the accident.
While many states have their own regulations that govern tractor trailers and other big trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) makes regulations that apply to interstate traffic. These federal regulations cover various aspects of the trucking industry, including hiring and supervising drivers as well as the maintenance of a commercial vehicle.
Importance of Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Investigations
A thorough investigation of a truck accident is vital to the success of any litigation which may follow. The investigation should be conducted quickly to insure that evidence such as skid marks, points of impact, and the tractor trailer are preserved in their unaltered states. The investigation will also include obtaining important documents such as logbooks. Thoroughly conducted investigations often reveal mechanical failures on the truck or impaired drivers.
How Do I Handle the Tractor Trailer Accident Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, you should immediately consult with a lawyer experienced in handling tractor trailer accidents. Negotiating directly with the trucking company or insurance company can lead to disastrous mistakes. The trucking company may use something you said during negotiations against you later in the case.
Federal law requires trucking companies to carry minimum insurance coverage amounts on their tractor trailers. Vehicles that are 10,000 GVW (gross vehicle weight) or over carrying nonhazardous material has the following insurance coverage requirements:
- Bodily injury liability $750,000
- Property damage liability $750,000
- Truck cargo coverage $300,000
For vehicles 10,000 GVW (gross vehicle weight) or over carrying hazardous material, the following coverage applies:
- Bodily injury liability $1,000,000
- Property damage liability $1,000,000
- Truck cargo coverage $5,000,000
A tractor trailer accident lawyer will help with communications with the trucking and insurance companies and will ensure that you have access to all available insurance coverage. A personal injury lawyer who is skilled in handling tractor trailer accident cases will be able to ensure that you receive sufficient money to cover your medical bills and lost wages.
What Are Some Examples of Prohibited Conduct for Tractor Trailer Drivers?
In addition to rules governing the number of hours a tractor trailer driver can operate his or her vehicle, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has also adopted other rules which prohibit the driver from conduct such as:
- Reporting for duty with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.02 or greater;
- Possessing alcohol unless it is part of a shipment, including medications such as cough syrup or cold medicine which contains alcohol;
- Consuming alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions;
- Reporting for duty while using any drug which affects the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle; or,
- Refusing to submit to any DOT-mandated alcohol or drug test.
Additionally, these regulations require that the truck drivers take rest periods after a certain number of driving hours, perform an inspection of the vehicle, and keep inspection records and logbooks.
What Happens if Logbooks Are Falsified?
Before onboard computer systems became widespread, a leading cause of accidents involving large trucks and tractor trailers was the falsification of trucking log books. Some tractor trailer drivers and trucking companies kept two sets of logbooks.
Before onboard computer systems, tractor trailer drivers were asked to record in their logbooks:
- Time spent on duty
- Time spent off duty
- Time spent sleeping
- Time spent driving out on the road
- Time spent performing work such as loading and unloading
Now, many trucking companies use satellite tracking systems to record the location of the tractor trailer at any point in time. These electronic systems help to eliminate a tractor trailer driver’s ability to falsify logbooks.
What Are the Regulations Governing the Number of Hours a Tractor Trailer Driver Can Operate?
Driver fatigue has become a huge problem in causing accidents and other careless driving. In fact, fatigued drivers and the accidents they cause have become such a concern for federal authorities that in 2003, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted new regulations concerning the number of hours a trucker is permitted to drive. Even with these new regulations, the United States National Transportation Safety Board indicates that driver fatigue is still the likely cause of 20 to 40 percent of all trucking accidents.
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to make certain that their drivers do not go over the maximum number of allowable driving hours.
Are the insurance companies on my side?
Claims adjusters work for insurance companies and must act in the best interest of the insurance company. It’s that simple. They have lawyers to protect their interests, and you need the same protection.
If you file a car accident claim, you may find that the insurance company is not your friend. DON’T GET HURT TWICE! Call the auto accident injury attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm to make sure you are protected. We are your WALL OF DEFENSE!
Are your case evaluations free?
YES! When you schedule a free case evaluation, we’ll ask you to bring your accident reports, documentation, and medical papers. We’ll go over the fees schedule, signing of a medical release, and specifics about the accident and witnesses.
You’ll have the opportunity to meet the legal assistant handling your case, and go over the process, timeline, and contact process for working together.
Still need a little more information? Download our auto accident brochure for more.
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Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.