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What Responsibilities Do Truck Drivers Have?

Truck accidents involving other motor vehicles often have devastating outcomes. Drivers and passengers frequently suffer serious injuries resulting in lasting pain or debilitating conditions. The psychological and emotional trauma following an accident has equally serious effects. Recent data shows, truck accidents increased by 52% since 2009, and roadways are getting busier and more crowded each year. Truck drivers are responsible for safely operating commercial motor vehicles per industry regulations and traffic laws.

When truckers violate the law, they must be held responsible for putting lives at risk. If you are injured in an accident, you need a lawyer to protect your rights under the law and make sure you receive just compensation. Fielding Law is the team to represent you when dealing with insurance companies or going to court. When someone’s actions put you in jeopardy, you have the right to be heard.

What Types of Regulations Do Truckers Need To Follow?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets forth federal guidelines to regulate the trucking industry as a whole and individual truck driver responsibilities. While local jurisdictions have authority over operators, FMCSA rules are the standard if local ordinances, laws or regulations don’t meet the high bar of federal standards. These are sections under FMCSA rules that truck drivers must comply with to operate a CMV.

Fatigue and Illness

Trucker drivers cannot operate a CMV if they are ill or fatigued while on the job. A driver must maintain the ability to handle a vehicle and remain alert. When illness or tiredness occurs, a driver cannot decide to drive or be forced to drive by a motor carrier.

Drugs and Substances

Truckers are not allowed to be in possession of or under the influence of drugs and other substances. Narcotics (or derivatives), amphetamines or other substances that prevent the safe operation of a vehicle are strictly prohibited.

Alcohol

A truck driver must not be under the influence of alcohol within four hours prior to being on duty. The driver’s appearance and conduct are substantiating evidence if there is suspicion of alcohol use.

Speed

Truckers must always follow the speed limits. No exceptions are made for delivery times that cause a driver to speed during a run.

Equipment

Oversight of equipment conditions is required of drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. Drivers need to make sure a vehicle is in working order by checking parts and accessories before a trip. Most truck accidents are caused by mechanical defects with brakes and tires. This is an immense liability risk for truckers who are negligent about CMV equipment and put other drivers in harm’s way.

Cargo

Cargo must be securely fastened and the weight adequately distributed before a driver begins a run. There are numerous cargo regulations truckers must follow to prevent accidents on roadways.

Carrier Mandates

Truckers also have to follow a series of federal regulations required by their carriers as a condition of employment. These include taking rest periods, keeping logbooks, and meeting qualifications for a commercial license. Violating these requirements leaves truckers and carriers open to liability in accidents.

What Are Common Factors That Determine Negligence By Truckers?

Truckers have obligations to follow the rules. If they neglect to or willfully make poor decisions, the results could be disastrous for other motorists. While there are many ways regulations can be violated regarding safe trucking practices, certain types of infractions are relatively common.

  • Failing to complete thorough pre-trip inspections
  • Driving while fatigued and not honoring rest periods
  • Operating a CMV while under the influence (substances or alcohol)
  • Becoming distracted while driving
  • Transporting a load that is over the weight limit
  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Passing too closely
  • Using a CMV to block passing vehicles

All these are serious issues when it comes to road safety. If you are injured by a truck driver who doesn’t follow the rules, you need an attorney to fight for you. The trauma suffered in a truck accident could change your life, and you need a trusted law team on your side.

What To Know About Utah Personal Injury Cases?

Utah has specific rules that apply when filing personal injury lawsuits. These are two critical legal matters prospective plaintiffs need to know.

Statute of Limitations

Utah allows you to file a personal injury suit up to four years after an accident. A court will likely dismiss the case if you file after this period. By hiring an attorney, you get legal assistance with the filing requirements.

Fault Determinations

In Utah, you can seek damages for personal injury, even if you are partially at fault for your injuries. Utah law 78B-5-818 sets the parameters for modified comparative negligence regarding the percentage a person is at fault. This law reduces the amount of damages you can recover by the percentage you are at fault in an accident.

If you are awarded damages of $20,000 and are assigned 20% fault, your award is reduced by $4,000. Your final damage award is $16,000. However, because of the 50% rule in the comparative negligence statute, you cannot recover any damages if you are assigned more than 50% fault. A plaintiff can’t collect damages when their proportion of fault is greater than the party or parties to a claim.

It is essential to have an attorney help you with the complexities of personal injury claims and fault determinations. Insurance companies do their best to shift blame to you or deny fault on behalf of their client(s). You need a skilled attorney who understands how to protect your interests and get you fair compensation.

What Damages Can You Seek?

Utah law allows you to seek damages due to injuries caused by another party’s negligence. An attorney looks at a number of factors to determine the totality of your losses. Aside from initials costs related to the accident, you could suffer from life-altering physical or emotional trauma. It is essential that you recover damages that cover all areas of your life affected by the outcomes of an accident. There are two main categories of damages: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages cover quantifiable monetary losses. These are types of damages:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Domestic services

You may suffer expenses and losses for a lifetime due to a serious accident. An attorney determines future economic losses and includes these in damage calculations.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are non-monetary (subjective) losses that take into account a person’s ongoing quality of life. These are some examples of different types of damages:

  • Pain and suffering (physical and mental)
  • Emotional trauma
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Your lawyer knows the types of non-economic damages that the law covers. Personal injuries from the negligent actions of truck drivers can affect relationships, work, home life and social engagement. You deserve to recover damages when a serious accident changes how you live.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Fielding Law is a law team you can trust when a careless truck driver injures you. We do the work of getting your case settled or won while you do the work of healing. Our mission is to get you fair compensation so that you can go on with life. We offer a free case evaluation, so contact us to start the process.

Sources:

https://policyadvice.net/insurance/insights/truck-accident-statistics/

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-49/subtitle-B/chapter-III/subchapter-B/part-392

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title78B/Chapter2/78B-2-S307.html

https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title78B/Chapter5/78B-5-S818.html

https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/shared-fault-rules.html

https://www.facs.org/advocacy/federal/liability/guide-to-liability-reform/ending-the-confusion