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Raleigh Truck Accident Attorney Explains a Commercial Truck Accident Case

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A crash on the highway between two cars can be a terrible scenario for a victim, but we have a lot of folks who come to us who are victims of what we call commercial truck crashes. In other words, it involves an 18 wheeler or some large commercial motor vehicle. The commercial motor vehicle term is something that the state and federal government specifically use for large vehicles with extraordinary weight that are capable of an extraordinary amount of harm. Those types of crashes and incidents are very, very different than a residential automobile crash between two cars. They're very different because one, they require the attorney and the trucking company or the commercial truck company adhere to certain federal requirements in addition to state law requirements. So, federal law comes into play in those cases a lot more than an average car crash case. Second is they typically are much more harmful to the victim. But where commercial crashes become most complex is in the investigation and reconstruction of the engineering and the crash data. In other words, what happened in this crash? Well, in a commercial truck crash, it is almost a necessity to obtain professional engineers to do a full crash reconstruction of the scene. It is almost a necessity to get experts to download the computer data, for example, from the engine of the 18 wheeler that shows all kinds of helpful information in determining the vehicle speeds, how far the vehicle went that day, the stopping distance, and other important crash data that is used in reconstructing what happened.

Now, we talk a lot with our clients about the federal laws that are involved in the trucking industry. And there are a host of laws and regulations that the trucking industry has to follow in order to keep us all safe on the roads. For example, we don't want sleepy truck drivers. So, there's rules requiring how much sleep time you have before you can go on a long-haul trip. There are rules about how much weight you can carry. We all drive on our family vacations and we pass on the interstate those scale stations off to the side. Well, those are weighing trucks to make sure that they're not weighed down too heavily so that they don't encounter mechanical failures on the highway because that also puts us all at risk. So, the trucking industry has regulations they have to follow. A thorough review after hiring an attorney into the documents and data that are kept by the trucking industry can show big violations in those standards. They can show that the driver did not have adequate training for the particular job he was doing, and the training responsibility is that of the trucking company. The documents can show that the driver did not have adequate sleep time. In other words, he was operating on very little sleep and fell asleep at the wheel. That is a very common occurrence because the trucking company does not enforce the sleep time requirements for its drivers. But most importantly is safety training. Trucking companies have a duty to safely train their professional commercial drivers to keep us all safe on the roads. If the trucking companies don't adequately and safely train their drivers, then that puts everybody at risk, including the driver, him or herself. And so, the attorney that you retain in a commercial crash incident has a responsibility very early on to conduct a thorough review of how the trucking company complied with these regulations. And in our experience, in almost every case, we find a number of violations that had they been followed, this would have never happened.

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