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Truck Accident FAQs

Truck accidents are unlike any other type of accident. For one, these trucks can be up to 20x the weight of a regular passenger vehicle. An accident can be devastating for the occupants of the passenger vehicle involved. Also, trucks are federally regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). A typical car accident will involve an insurance claim and possibly a police report. Truck accidents are investigated by the FMCSA. These accidents can be much more complex as well as much more serious than a typical motor vehicle collision.

To help explain, our Houston attorneys have provided answers to some common questions about trucking accidents.

If a truck accident is caused by a blind spot, who is responsible?

Blind spots are a common cause of truck accidents. The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot will be, which is why they can happen so frequently. If a truck attempted to make a lane change while you were in its blind spot (or "no zone") then the truck driver could be held liable. However, this is not the case in all truck accidents. Liability will likely not be established until after an extensive investigation is conducted and all the extenuating factors evaluated.

If I wasn't responsible for the accident, who pays me?

If, after an investigation, the truck driver is determined as the liable party, then it will be the trucking company's insurance company that will likely pay your damages. After an accident of this nature, you could be seeking compensation for physical damage to your vehicle and medical bills. You could also potentially be awarded compensation for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. Because there are often multiple parties involved in these accidents, your claim can become convoluted and leave you questioning if you're being given the runaround. A firm like ours could push the insurance company to pay you what you are owed.

I was told a mechanical defect caused my accident. Who is responsible in this scenario?

If you were involved in a truck accident, and you were informed that the accident was caused by a defective truck part, then liability could swing in a few different directions. Sometimes, the truck driver is responsible for failing to report a defect. For example, if a trucker gets a citation that his tires need to be changed, and yet does nothing to remediate this problem, then the trucker could be responsible for a tire-blowout collision. If a truck part was manufactured faultily, then the part manufacturer could be held liable.

Do truck drivers have different regulations for drinking and driving?

Yes. The FMCSA imposes stricter regulations for truckers when it comes to drinking and driving. The national maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent for all drivers, provided that they are at least 21 years old. Truckers can be cited for drinking and driving if their BAC is .04 percent or higher.

Do truck drivers have different regulations for cell phone use and driving?

Yes. Although cell phone laws differ from state to state, the trucking industry is regulated federally. The FMCA has issued a ban on texting for all drivers of commercial motor vehicles. As of 2010, there is also a ban on all handheld cell phone use for drivers of buses and large trucks.

Were you involved in a truck accident? We'd like to hear from you. Contact a Houston truck accident attorney at Stern Law Group today!