Many innocent motorists are injured and killed on our highways due to the failure of trucking companies and their drivers to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 380,000 large trucks (vehicles over 10,000 lbs.) were involved in traffic crashes in the United States in 2008. Of those collisions, 4,066 were fatalities. Over all, 11% of all traffic fatalities that year involved accidents with large trucks. The Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at the Law Firm of DeLuca & Maucher are skilled in understanding the complex rules and regulations pertaining to commercial vehicles, which assists our clients in achieving a full and fair recovery for their injuries and damages.
A common cause of tractor trailer accidents is driver fatigue and substance abuse. There are rules which limit the number of hours that a truck driver can drive within a 24 hour period. Despite these rules and regulations, truck drivers often push their bodies beyond reasonable limits and become a hazard on the roadway. When the Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher investigate a tractor trailer collision, it is not unusual for us to discover log books that are inconsistent with the hours driven by the driver, inconsistencies between the dispatch route and the fuel receipts, and inconsistencies between driver logs and odometer readings.
When the Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher investigate a tractor trailer collision, we look to the Fleet Safety Program and Supervision by the employer. We also look at company driver manuals, company training aids, and investigate the education and training of the driver, including a review of the driver’s safety records and infractions.
After tractor trailer collisions, truck drivers are required to submit to drug and alcohol testing to identify whether these substances played a contributing part to the collision. It has been well documented that drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have been involved in about half of all fatal traffic accidents. Whenever the Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher investigate a collision involving a truck driver who has tested positive for drugs or alcohol, this Firm also investigates the company to determine whether the motor vehicle Carrier had established procedures to effectively control this societal problem within its organization. The Tractor Trailer Charleston Lawyers at DeLuca & Maucher check the personnel file of all drivers to see if the employer thoroughly checked for evidence of drinking or substance abuse problems during the hiring process. The Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher also investigate and evaluate the motor Carrier’s policies and procedures regarding educating drivers about the ways in which drinking and substance abuse affect driver performance.
The Truck Accident Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher have successfully litigated a tractor trailer collision that resulted in a client of this Firm becoming comatose. The Tractor Trailer Charleston Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher were able to demonstrate that the tractor trailer driver was unfit for duty because of a medical condition (diabetes) that was not fully disclosed to company doctors, which made the driver unfit for duty. Section 391.41 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Physical Qualifications For Drivers) states that a Commercial Truck Driver is not physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if he has an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control. The Law Firm of DeLuca & Maucher successfully settled our client’s claim in excess of $20,000,000.00, an amount which allowed for top notch medical care for the client for the rest of his life.
Commercial truck drivers are required to keep logs which document their hours of service. The Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher have successfully proven that a commercial truck driver who was involved in an accident with a client of this Firm falsified his hours of service logs, which contributed to fatigue which resulted in the accident causing harm to the client of this Firm. Unfortunately, falsifying logs of hours of service is very common, and the Tractor Trailer Accident Charleston Attorneys of DeLuca & Maucher have successfully pursued claims on behalf of clients of this Firm on many occasions by proving that the at-fault truck driver had falsified logs.
The Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys of DeLuca & Maucher are familiar with not only the rules, regulations, and laws applicable to commercial motor vehicles, our Attorneys are also familiar with the wheel assemblies and other technical aspects of a commercial motor vehicle. The Law Firm of DeLuca & Maucher was successful in negotiating a settlement in excess of $1,000,000.00 in a claim involving a tractor trailer wheel that detached from a moving truck, causing death to a pedestrian.
Vehicle lighting of tractors and trailers is oftentimes a legal issue that must be assessed in determining fault of the driver of the tractor trailer. Because of their length, large commercial vehicles are required to have proper lighting, reflectors, reflective tape, and other visibility devices to alert other motorists to their presence. The Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher analyze any tractor trailer collision to determine if a lack of visibility was a contributing factor to the collision. The Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher hire engineering experts to assist them in representing their clients on issues involving forensic aspects of driver perception and response.
Tractor trailer collisions occur also as a result of overloading, poor load distribution, and a lack of clearance under fixed objects. Off-set loads can dislodge and strike vehicles, or even cause tractor trailers to roll over and crush cars due to poor load distribution. The Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys at DeLuca & Maucher often hire experts in the field to prove negligence in these areas, and help our clients achieve a maximum recovery for their injury.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a tractor trailer, call the Charleston Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys at the Law Firm of DeLuca & Maucher. We can help!