A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even when a trailer is not loaded, a truck will still weigh approximately 35,000. When a truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle that is much smaller, catastrophic injuries result.
The vast majority of these accidents occur due to the negligence of someone else, such as the truck driver or the trucking company. The trucking industry is governed by many laws and when they are not followed, the safety of innocent bystanders is put at risk. If you have been hurt in a crash, or have lost a loved one, our Winchester truck accident attorney can advise on your case.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Winchester
Many factors contribute to truck accidents, but the most common are as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Truck driver fatigue
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Reckless or careless driving
- Impaired driving
- Improper hiring or training practices
- Improper inspection and maintenance of trucks
- Defective equipment
Determining what caused a truck accident is not always easy. For example, it is sometimes difficult to determine that a truck driver was distracted at the time of the crash. Also, sometimes it seems as though truck driver negligence caused the crash when really, a part of the truck was defective and so, the manufacturer is to blame.
Federal and State Laws Governing the Trucking Industry
The trucking industry is heavily regulated and one of the most common legal grounds that form the basis of personal injury claims is a violation of those laws. There are many federal trucking laws that regulate the industry, and they are complex.
For example, 23 CFR Section 658.17 prohibits any vehicle to operate with a weight of more than 80,000 pounds. Overloaded trucks are much more difficult for even skilled drivers to start, stop, and steer. When trucks are overloaded, or they are not properly loaded, it causes the balance of the truck to shift, which can cause a catastrophic truck accident.
One of the most well-known federal trucking laws is the hours of service rule. This rule is actually a set of requirements for how long a truck driver can remain on the road at one time, when they can take breaks, and the length of the required break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also regulates the inspection, repair, and maintenance of trucks.
State trucking laws are governed by the Virginia Department of Public Safety, an agency that has adopted many sections of the FMCSA safety regulations. While some sections, such as the hours of service rule, are largely the same under state law, there are some differences. It is important to speak to a Winchester truck accident attorney that is well-versed in these laws. If a state or federal law was broken and caused an accident that resulted in your losses, the illegal act forms a strong basis for your truck accident claim.
Truck Accidents and Wrongful Death
Truck accidents are some of the worst crashes on Winchester’s roads and in some cases, the victim does not survive the collision. Under Virginia law, this is known as a wrongful death. Wrongful death claims are a type of personal injury claim, but the laws that govern them do differ slightly from other types of claims. This is largely due to the nature of these cases, and the fact that the accident victim is not able to file a claim.
Virginia law stipulates that only the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit on the accident victim’s behalf. The personal representative is typically the executor for the state, or named in the decedent’s will. If the deceased did not name a personal representative or executor, the court will appoint a person that has the authority to file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim allows plaintiffs to recover economic damages such as medical expenses the deceased incurred prior to their death. Surviving family members can also recover non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship and mental anguish.
Our Truck Accident Attorney in Winchester Can Assist with Your Claim
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a crash, our Winchester truck accident attorneys at Correll Law Firm can assist with your case. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and resources to go up against big trucking companies, and the insurance companies that represent them, to help you obtain the maximum settlement you deserve. Call us today at 540-535-2005 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.
Think You Have A Case?
If you suffered from a personal injury, give us a call for a free personal injury case evaluation.