How Do Federal Regulations Impact Truck Accident Lawsuits?

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets rules to reduce accidents and fatalities involving large trucks.

If you or a loved one were in a truck accident in South Carolina, call our attorneys at Bringardner Injury Law Firm. Our Charleston truck accident lawyers are experienced at discovering whether a trucking company or truck driver violated federal regulations. If we work for you, we can pursue justice by using these rules set by the FMCSA to make your case.

What Is the FMCSA?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a US government agency. Its task is overseeing and regulating commercial motor vehicle safety. The agency states that its mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.”

It was formed by the federal government in acknowledgment of the risks of operating large commercial vehicles. It established the FMCSA in 2000 as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

What the FMCSA regulates

The FMCSA creates and enforces rules, called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), that trucking companies and drivers must follow. If they violate these rules, they face corrective actions or penalties.

The agency’s rules cover almost every aspect of the industry. The Code of Federal Regulations parts 300-399 contains the rules trucking companies and drivers must follow. Reviewing a company’s adherence to these federal regulations is a component in many truck accident lawsuits.

Trucking company responsibilities

The FMCSA rules cover topics for companies such as:

  • Minimum levels of financial responsibility
  • Preservation of certain kinds of records
  • Training requirements
  • Civil rights

Driver responsibilities

The rules also regulate driver behavior, such as:

  • Prohibiting texting while driving
  • Prohibiting the use of alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions
  • Adhering to specific routes while carrying hazardous materials
  • Following driving time limitations

These are just a few examples of the scope of FMCSA’s regulations. They also cover topics such as vehicle safety inspections, size and weight requirements, periodic maintenance and driver logs. Together, these are meant to ensure the safety of the commercial vehicle and the well-being of the driver.

FAQs About FMCSA Regulations

During the investigation and discovery phases of a truck accident case, we often search for a history of FMCSR violations by the companies involved.

What are red flag violations for the FMCSR?

When the FMCSA audits a trucking company, the auditor looks for particular violations. If found, they can lead to enforcement action. Red flag violations are gross infringements in a driver’s history and always call for further investigation. Examples of FMCSA violations include a driver operating without a commercial driver’s license or possessing illegal drugs.

What is a critical and acute violation of FMCSR?

The FMCSA defines a critical violation as a sign of poor safety control management. An example is keeping false records of duty reports.

Acute violations are so serious they require immediate correction. An example is using a disqualified driver.

What are the most common FMCSR violations?

According to the agency, the most common FMCSR violations are a false report of a driver’s record of duty status, having no record of duty status, operating without a commercial driver’s license and operating without proof of periodic inspection.

How Federal Regulations May Impact a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Plaintiffs’ attorneys who manage truck accident cases must be knowledgeable of federal trucking regulations. By demonstrating when these rules were broken in the prior events of an accident, an attorney may have more leverage during negotiations with commercial insurance companies and a stronger argument in a potential jury trial.

When records show that the trucking company or employee committed an FMCSR violation, whether knowingly or unknowingly, it can demonstrate responsibility for the accident. This in turn can make it likelier to obtain the fullest settlement or verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

What Else Happens When a Company Violates the FMCSR?

FMCSR violations may result in heavy civil consequences for the motor carrier or truck driver.

The driver may need to pay government fines and could lose his or her job. The company may take action against the driver and possibly pay fines. The parties involved in a lawsuit may reach a settlement agreement that includes remedial action, fines and damages.

How Can Our Attorneys Help You With a Truck Accident Lawsuit?

We’ve shared how violations of FMCSRs may establish faults committed by a motor carrier.

However, truck accident cases and lawsuits often have other complexities. Large trucking corporations always have a team of lawyers representing them. Attorneys and adjusters also defend an insurance company’s bottom line.

Bringardner Injury Law Firm is relentless when dealing with motor carriers, insurers, and their attorneys when we find proof of FMCSR violations. Though the defense may argue that some or all liability falls on the victim, we work hard to determine whether a pattern of disregard for the safety of other motorists led to a truck crash.

Steps we take to prove your truck accident claim

It is very difficult for a truck accident victim to succeed in a case involving FMCSR violations without an experienced trucking attorney’s resources to obtain key documentation. Being thorough in our investigation into a company’s history is only one aspect of our services if we represent you in a truck accident case.

We also examine the actions of the driver in the moments before the crash. We often use accident reconstruction, expert witnesses and other methods with the goal of establishing liability. We also file timely paperwork and meet critical deadlines so that you can focus your energy on caring for yourself, your loved one, or your family during recovery.

Call Bringardner Injury Law Firm To Request a Free Consultation

Our attorneys in South Carolina are willing to meet with you and discuss the facts of your case.

Should you retain us, the evidence we find can strengthen your truck accident case and make the commercial parties more willing to begin negotiations. Our years of experience have taught us how to uncover what others try to hide.

Rely on us to be on your side when facing big companies protecting their interests. Call our offices at Bringardner Injury Law Firm today.

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