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Handling truck crashes is vastly different from handling a motor vehicle crash. And I want to emphasize that there is no such thing as a truck “accident.” That term is consistently used by insurance companies and truck companies to minimize what the truck driver did, or failed to do, in causing a truck crash. Truck drivers are Professional Drivers. They are held to a higher standard of knowledge and skill when operating vehicles that can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. That means when a truck hits you (whether you are a pedestrian, a motorist, or a fellow truck driver), that professional driver failed to follow the rules of his or her profession, and violated the trust that the Federal Government places in his/her hands when given the privilege to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
It’s important when looking for an attorney after a truck crash that you ask specific questions:
1) Are you familiar with the FMCSRs (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations)?
2) Are you equipped with the resources necessary to finance a case against a truck company with typically much more money and resources than a traditional automobile driver?
3) Are you able to distinguish between the safe operation of a motor vehicle versus a commercial motor vehicle?
4) Can you identify and point to the truck company’s safety scores as outlined by the Federal Government?
These are questions your truck crash lawyer must answer. I have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), so not only can I answer those necessary truck crash questions, but I can also point you to the specific code sections that outline what a commercial driver must know before getting on the road.
For example, FMCSR 383.110 specifically states that all drivers of CMVs (commercial motor vehicles) must have the knowledge and skills necessary to operate a CMV safely. Section 383.111 specifies the “Required Knowledge” the CMV operator must have, which includes the following twenty (20) general areas:
1 - Safe operations regulations2 - Safe vehicle control systems3 - CMV safety control systems4 - Basic control5 - Shifting6 - Backing7 - Visual search8 - Communication9 - Speed management10 - Space management11 - Night operation12 - Extreme driving conditions13 - Hazard perceptions14 - Emergency maneuvers15 - Skid control and recovery16 - Relationship of cargo to vehicle control17 - Vehicle inspections18 - Hazardous materials19 - Mountain driving20 - Fatigue and awareness
These are just the twenty (20) general areas that all commercial drivers (like me) need to know before getting on the road. Required skills is an entirely separate topic for a subsequent post. The in-depth knowledge that truck drivers, and therefore your lawyer, must know is vast. Make sure you are represented by lawyers who actually know what they are talking about.
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