The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues and enforces safety regulations for large commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, eighteen-wheelers, big rigs, and other large vehicles. In addition to enacting regulations on truck weight and cargo limits, it also enforces rules for properly loading and unloading truck cargo, among many other aspects of the trucking industry.
When truck drivers and trucking companies violate FMCSA rules, they significantly increase their chances of causing a severe accident with another vehicle. Moreover, when a large truck or tractor-trailer strikes a smaller passenger vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian, the vehicle or person on the receiving end almost always suffers the most severe injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a recent truck accident, you can pursue legal action against a trucking company or truck driver who violates FMCSA rules or other traffic laws and regulations. Consult a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Chicago for legal advice as soon as possible.
Your attorney can explore all your legal options and file a claim with the offending trucking company or truck driver's insurer. Your lawyer can also represent you during all settlement negotiations and file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer you the fair monetary damages you deserve for your injuries. Your lawyer can handle your case through every step of the legal process and secure the favorable monetary award you deserve, either through a fair settlement offer or litigation result.
Common FMCSA Rules and Regulations
FMCSA rules keep large trucks, including big rigs and tractor-trailers, operating safely on the road. This, in turn, prevents injuries to other motorists in truck crashes.
When trucking companies and truck drivers violate these regulations, a severe accident may occur, possibly leading to debilitating injuries for accident victims.
Some of the most critical FMCSA regulations pertain to:
- Load limits on trucks on various roadways located throughout the region
- Required lighting – including headlights, tail lights, and brake lights – for tractors and trailers that operate on area roadways
- Methods for adequately securing cargo to the bed of a trailer
- Methods for loading and unloading truck cargo.
Serious accidents can occur when trucking companies and truck drivers violate these and other motor carrier regulations. For example, when truck drivers and trucking companies do not perform pre-trip inspections, they may overlook defective devices on their vehicles, including headlights and tail lamps. As a result, other cars may not see the tractor-trailer, and a severe accident may happen.
Moreover, when trucking companies and truck drivers do not observe proper vehicle weight limits, a large tractor-trailer can become top-heavy, causing the truck's center of balance to shift. As a result, the truck or tractor-trailer might roll over in the middle of the road, leading to a massive vehicle pileup.
Finally, when trucking companies and truck drivers fail to properly secure cargo to the trailer bed, the shipment may roll off into the middle of the road. Consequently, an oncoming vehicle may strike the cargo, leading to a severe accident or a massive pileup. In some situations, logs and other heavy loads that fall off a truck may impale the windshield of an oncoming vehicle, bringing about fatal injuries for vehicle occupants.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a recent truck accident that likely resulted from FMCSA violations, you are not alone. However, you need to talk with an experienced truck accident attorney in your area as quickly as possible about your potential legal options.
Your lawyer can discuss your accident circumstances with you and develop a plan of action to move your case forward. Your lawyer can also handle all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives and pursue the maximum monetary damages you deserve to recover in your case.
Potential Truck Accident Injuries That Accident Victims May Suffer
In any of these types of accidents, drivers and passengers in other vehicles may suffer severe injuries. The nature and extent of an accident victim's injuries will typically depend on the truck accident, the amount of force involved in a crash, the number of vehicles involved, and how the accident victim's body moves inside their car during the accident.
In some situations, accident victims may suffer permanent injuries that lead to ongoing complications, sometimes for the rest of their lives. An accident victim who suffers a permanent injury may also require ongoing medical treatment and experience lifetime pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
Some of the most common injuries that truck accident victims may suffer include internal bleeding, internal organ damage, open lacerations, soft-tissue neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis injuries, eye injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, bone fractures, rib fractures, and traumatic head and brain injuries.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent truck accident, get the medical attention needed to recover. You might need surgery or physical therapy according to your healthcare provider. Failing to seek continuous medical treatment for your injuries may jeopardize your right to recover the monetary compensation you deserve.
Insurance companies frequently grow skeptical when they notice significant gaps in an accident victim's treatment or delayed treatment. The insurance company may also grow skeptical if an accident victim discharges themselves from care rather than waiting for a medical provider to formally discharge them.
By seeking ongoing medical treatment for your injuries, you increase your chances of making a full recovery and obtaining favorable settlement compensation in your truck accident claim or lawsuit.
While you focus on treating your injuries, your lawyer can handle the legal components of your case, including gathering important documents to satisfy your legal burden of proof.
Negotiating With the Trucking Company or Truck Driver's Insurer
You must satisfy your legal burden of proof to recover monetary compensation and damages in a truck accident claim or lawsuit.
First, your lawyer must show that the trucking company or truck driver violated their legal duty of care. For example, you can retain an accident reconstructionist who can demonstrate that either the truck driver, the trucking company, or both violated one or more FMCSA regulations.
Additionally, your lawyer must demonstrate that as a direct result of this violation, your truck accident occurred and you suffered severe injuries. When causally relating your injuries to a truck accident, an experienced and qualified medical provider can be beneficial.
An expert medical provider can state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your claimed injury or injuries directly resulted from the truck accident. They can also allege that you suffered at least one permanent injury in your truck crash.
To support your truck accident claim, your attorney can submit a settlement demand package to the trucking company or truck driver's insurer. That demand package will include various vital documents, including copies of police reports, witness statements, video camera footage showing the truck accident occurring, medical treatment records, medical bills, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and lost income documentation if you had to miss time from work after your truck accident.
The insurance company will evaluate all these documents and determine whether to accept fault or liability for your truck accident. Once the insurance company accepts fault for the accident, settlement negotiations may begin between your attorney and the insurance company. These negotiations may take time, depending upon the complexity of your case and other accident-specific circumstances. However, never accept an insurance company's initial settlement offer without speaking with a lawyer, since these offers will rarely pay all of your expenses.
When negotiating with insurance company representatives, your attorney can highlight the strengths of your claim while downplaying any weaknesses. Moreover, your attorney can threaten the trucking company's insurer with personal injury litigation in Illinois court if they fail to offer you favorable monetary damages for your accident-related injuries.
Your attorney will join you every step of the way, guiding you through important decisions about your case, including whether you should accept the insurance company's settlement offer or litigate your case in court. If you decide to pursue truck accident litigation, your lawyer can help you decide between a civil jury trial or various alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings, such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Recovering the Monetary Damages That You Deserve in a Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Following a severe truck accident, you might recover monetary damages, depending on the injuries you sustained in your accident, the nature and extent of your medical treatment, the cost, and other accident-specific circumstances.
First, you can pursue monetary recovery for your related medical expenses and anticipated medical costs you expect in the future.
If you had to miss time from work after your truck accident, you can pursue favorable compensation for your lost earnings or loss of earning capacity. Additionally, you might recover compensation for your intangible losses, such as inconvenience, pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of spousal support and companionship, loss of the ability to use a body part (for example, paralysis), lost quality of life, lifetime care costs, and permanent disfigurement or disability.
Your attorney can set realistic expectations for your truck accident claim or lawsuit and determine your damages and the compensation you may recover in your case.
Talk With an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney Near You Today
After a truck accident, seek the legal representation you need immediately. In many states, truck accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. The statute of limitations imposes a deadline on lawsuits under state law. In many states, you only have two years to file a lawsuit, and you must complete the insurance claim process before you are ready to file a case in court.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time frame, absent very limited circumstances, the courts will prevent you from recovering the monetary damages you deserve for your injuries. so begin the legal process as soon as possible following a truck accident.
A skilled truck accident attorney can handle every aspect of your claim or lawsuit and secure the favorable monetary damages you need for your injuries.
Seek a free case evaluation with a trusted personal injury law firm near Chicago area.