1. What are some of the most common tractor trailer accidents?
2. Is there a difference between a tractor trailer accident and a car accident?
3. Are there additional laws that apply to truckers to keep the roads safer?
4. Are there any federal regulations governing truck drivers?
5. How do I recover compensation for damages in a tractor trailer case?
6. How soon do I need to bring a case in a tractor trailer collision?
7. Who will pay my medical bills in a tractor trailer accident?
8. What are the common causes of truck accidents?
9. Who can sue in a personal injury case involving a truck accident injury?
10. What damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim involving a tractor-trailer truck?
11. What are the “hours of service” rules?
12. Do I need an attorney to litigate my truck accident case?

1. What are some of the most common tractor trailer accidents?
The most common types of tractor trailer accidents are:

  • Head on collisions
  • Rear end collisions
  • Broadside collisions
  • Center lane crossover
  • Lane change collisions
  • Jack-knifed trucks
  • Loss of control of vehicle
  • Hit and Run

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2. Is there a difference between a tractor trailer accident and a car accident?
Trucking accidents are different from auto accidents in many ways, one of the most serious being the extent of damages and injuries when a truck and an automobile collide. Because “big rigs”, “18 wheelers” and tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds, a trucking collision can have deadly consequences.

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3. Are there additional laws that apply to truckers to keep the roads safer?
There are unique laws and regulations that are designed specifically to protect motorists from the negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies. Federal and state regulations require truckers to have adequate rest to prevent driver fatigue on the highway. There are also other specific rules for trucks including proper loading of the materials the truck is carrying and safety rules on traveling speeds and when passing other vehicles.

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4. Are there any federal regulations governing truck drivers?
Trucking companies are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations concerning equipment and hours of service. Truck drivers are also required to maintain a driver’s log; however the timeframe is limited. Federal regulations require commercial trucks to carry certain levels of insurance coverage, depending on the nature of materials hauled. These regulations protect victims of large truck crashes from truck owners who may not have the financial resources to pay damages out-of-pocket.

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5. How do I recover compensation for damages in a tractor trailer case?
In order to get compensation, an attorney will need to show the truck driver failed to use due care in the operation of the truck. Typically, in cases where serious injury has resulted, a plaintiff will have claims for pain and suffering, negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

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6. How soon do I need to bring a case in a tractor trailer collision?
Contact an attorney at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP as soon as possible. In truck collisions, federal regulations require that certain essential evidence only be maintained for a limited amount of time. For instance, the truck driver’s log may be destroyed after six months if an attorney does not obtain a court order or take other immediate action.

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7. Who will pay my medical bills in a tractor trailer accident?
The truck company may not pay your medical bills immediately. However, your own insurance will often contain medical payment provisions to pay for bills ranging from funeral costs to x-rays. It is usually not in your best interest to sign a medical release/authorization or to give a statement to the trucking company or any insurance company before contacting an attorney. Contact an attorney at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP today to discuss your situation and injuries.

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8. What are the common causes of truck accidents?
Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:

  • Lack of training
  • Overloaded trucks
  • Oversized trucks
  • Brake failure/defect
  • Poor driving conditions
  • Driver inexperience
  • Fatigue
  • Speeding
  • Running off the road
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Aggressive driving behavior
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Dangerous or reckless driving
  • Mechanical failure

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9. Who can sue in a personal injury case involving a truck accident injury?
Anyone who is injured or has had a loved one killed in a truck accident can sue as long as some other person or entity, besides the person suing, is at fault for the accident. This includes adults and children (who can sue through guardians or parents); and even truck drivers if another person or entity was at fault for the accident.

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10. What damages can be recovered in a personal injury claim involving a tractor-trailer truck?
Each state has a different law regarding personal injury damages. A seriously injured plaintiff may be entitled to recover:

  • all of his or her past and future medical expenses;
  • past and future loss of income/earning capacity;
  • past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress; and/or
  • punitive damages

If a person dies in a truck accident, the survivors may recover monetary damages for their economic losses and emotional distress damages for loss of society, love and comfort.

Please see our page on Wrongful Death for more information.

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11. What are the “hours of service” rules?
Under federal “hours of service” regulations, which took effect January 2004, interstate commercial drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 consecutive hours or drive after 14 hours on duty until they have had a 10-hour break. In addition, according to federal regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot drive after accruing 60 work hours during a 7-day period or 70 work hours during an 8-day period.

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12. Do I need an attorney to litigate my truck accident case?
Unless you have a minor injury, which is rare in truck accident cases, you should retain an attorney at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP. An experienced truck accident attorney can secure vital evidence before it is destroyed, and can establish liability against any potential defendants to help maximize your damage recovery.

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