Due to their large weight and size, an accident involving a commercial truck tends to produce more serious injuries or even death where a motor vehicle crash occurs on the roadway. If you've been injured in an accident that was caused by a commercial truck driver, there are a number of considerations that will impact the amount of compensation you are able to receive. A personal injury lawyer can help you make sense of your legal options. One critical fact that is often examined is whether the commercial truck driver should have ever been behind the wheel. In many cases, the attorneys investigate the background of the driver and whether this individual was properly hired and supervised by the company. In some instances, the attorneys learn about issues involving drugs, alcohol, the use of cell phones while operating commercial vehicles, poor driving records, non-compliance with DOT and FMCSA industry regulations or other factors that impact the facts of the case.
The trucking industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the U.S., with specific rules in regards to how many hours a truck driver can work, the requirement of electronic logs, routine testing of truck drivers for alcohol or drug impairment, regulations on the size of the truck, regulations on materials being transported, regulations on the weight and volume of a load they can carry, as well as other considerations. The employer is financially responsible for the driver when accidents and injuries occur during the course and scope of that driver’s employment. The company is responsible for conducting background checks before hiring and properly supervising drivers after they are hired. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Impairment due to over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal substances
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Poor truck maintenance
Trucking companies are required by the federal government to conduct a number of periodic background checks on drivers. These standard checks include:
- A current motor vehicle record, followed by annual MVRs
- Verification of the driver's commercial drivers license
- Physical examination to ensure that the driver is healthy
- A check of the driver's previous three years of employment
- The driver's accident and crash history
- Random drug and alcohol testing
Because of the increased liability that trucking companies have through federal and state regulations, many times they will employ a corporate ‘white shoe’ law firm to protect them from liability. These law firms often work only in the area of trucking accidents and federal violations and know the loopholes available to prevent their clients from facing legal consequences for their actions.
Personal Injury Claims
Injuries caused by trucking accidents often carry life-long consequences such as the need for continued medical care. It is important to hire an attorney with extensive experience in trucking accident cases who is unafraid of the corporate law firms that trucking companies employ and the ability to investigate all aspects of the case in order to identify potential liable parties and sources of insurance to pay for these damages.
The Importance of Background Checks
Whether a company performed the federally required background checks is an important factor in Colorado personal injury cases. If the background checks are not performed and it is discovered that the accident was caused by something the trucking company should have known about -- such as substance abuse issues -- the trucking company can be found negligent and held liable for the damages caused in the accident. Shipping companies are also required to ensure that the trucking company they use has complied with all federal regulations, including background checks, or else they may face liability for the accident as well.
Past Case Results
Many truck accident victims fail to get the compensation they deserve unless they have experienced personal injury attorneys on their side to fight these firms and their clients. Simply put, there are law firms with proven results and track records against these defendants. That should be an important consideration in hiring your injury attorneys. At Whalen Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have a strong record of fighting the trucking companies and securing substantial settlements. We’re happy to offer you a free consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your legal options.
Our office in Denver is conveniently located at 7955 East Arapahoe Court, Suite 2375 in Centennial, CO 80112. Reach us in Denver by calling (720) 307- 2666. Our Colorado Springs office is located at 102 South Tejon Street, Suite 1100, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Contact us in Colorado Springs by calling (719) 644-7000. Call today. Let us help you get the fair compensation you deserve.