If you have been in South Carolina for any length of time at all, you have probably been stuck for hours on a major road as a result of a serious accident involving a truck. Generally speaking, truck accidents are different, and far more serious, than are regular car accidents. Truck drivers operate under different rules than the rest of us, and commercial vehicles are very different than passenger vehicles. If you have been injured in a truck accident, the actions taken post-accident when seeking to recover for your damages are also different.
What Is Different About Truck Accidents?
The weight of a loaded truck is much heavier than any passenger vehicle on the road. If a tractor trailer is loaded, it can weight up to 80,000 pounds; oversize loads, which we have all seen, can weigh even more than that. For reference, an average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds, so a crash with a loaded tractor trailer means crashing with something 20 times heavier than what you are inside of. Even the safest, highest rated vehicle cannot adequately protect the people inside when matched up against something so powerful. Unfortunately, this means that the injuries sustained in accidents involving tractor-trailers are more often serious, or even fatal.
Aside from and because they are so much heavier, which renders them capable of causing astonishing amounts of damage, the rules surrounding the safety of the tractor-trailers and the rules governing the driver of big rigs are different and apart than rules governing passenger vehicles and their drivers. For example, there are extensive regulations for tractors and other large trucks, such as the requirement of routine inspections to legally operate on the roads. Trucks require much more frequent maintenance for this reason as well. Truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which requires a level of driving skill and knowledge above that required to drive a passenger vehicle.
Enhanced Requirements for CDL Drivers and Commercial Vehicles
Drivers of commercial vehicles must meet many other requirements in addition to obtaining a CDL license, designed to ensure safety behind the wheel and minimize the danger to the rest of us. For instance, CDL drivers must pass a physical from the Department of Transportation (DOT), to prove fitness for long hauls. Federal law also governs how many hours a week truckers can drive, how many hours they can be on the road simultaneously without a rest, how many hours consecutively drivers must rest, and how many hours they can work in total in any given day or week.
Basis of Your Claim
If you were in an accident involving a truck, these requirements are important, because they were created to ensure the safety of all of us on the road who have to drive alongside big trucks. When trucking companies or individual truck drivers do not follow the rules, unsafe conditions are created and accidents are more likely to happen. A violation of any of the rules pertaining to CDL drivers does not necessarily mean that was the cause of the accident, but it will be taken into consideration and must be investigated thoroughly.
Call David Aylor Law Offices
Truck accidents can cause incredible damage, and permanently change lives. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck, you need an experienced truck accident attorney by your side, representing your interests. Call or email today for a complimentary consultation and let us help you with your claim.