Important Differences in 18 Wheeler Accident Cases and Other Automobile Accident Cases

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There are a number of differences in 18-wheeler and run-of-the-mill auto cases. All of these are important considerations for an attorney handling a commercial motor vehicle collision case and they are good reasons why someone injured by such an accident should contact an attorney promptly.

Countless numbers of automobile collisions occur every year in Texas. Attorneys who handle auto collisions when the insurance companies refuse to accept responsibility are a dime a dozen. But what many people do not realize is that 18 wheeler and large commercial motor vehicle collisions are very different from the average whiplash-producing car crash. How the cases should be handled is
also often very different.

The most obvious difference is the impact involved. 18-wheeler cabs alone may way upwards of 23,000 lbs. The maximum hauling weight without a special permit is 80,000 lbs. under Federal Law. Take something with that kind of mass and ram it into a 3000 lb. car and the results can be very devastating.

Because of the potential for catastrophic damage if one gets in a wreck, there are strict Federal rules and regulations that apply to interstate trucking companies and their drivers. Rules about how much time they can spend on the road before taking a break, what they can consume and what they are allowed to haul. This regulation that applies only to commercial motor vehicles is a second important difference.

Third, trucks often have “black box” and/or GPS tracking devices that a truck wreck lawyer can use to investigate and prove a case. A” black box” is a recording device that is triggered by certain events to start recording important data about the truck and its movement. Things such as a sudden change in velocity or slamming the brakes can trigger the black box to begin recording events such as the RPMs, speed, timing of brake application and gear shifts/changes. GPS devices can often give details regarding the speed at a given time of a truck or even the location at a given moment. Location points can be narrowed down by the tower the GPS device pings as it sends information back to the trucking company. This type of information can be very important to reconstruct the accident.

Fourth, the Federal Motor Carrier laws place strict requirements on inspecting and documenting the vehicles. Pre-trip and post trip inspection documents must be retained for certain periods to show the condition of the truck in the event of an investigation. Repair and/or work orders must be maintained to show the truck is up to standard. These documents can be subpoenaed by a truck accident attorney to be used as evidence in proving a personal injury case against a negligent truck driver.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of an 18 wheeler driver, you should contact a truck accident attorney today. Federal law sets specific time periods in which the records and reports must be maintained. Once those times expire, the companies have nothing stopping them from destroying and/or disposing of the documents. Thus, quick action is required to take advantage of the above differences in truck accident and other auto accident cases.

Paul H. Cannon is a personal injury attorney with the law firm of Simmons and Fletcher in Houston, Texas. He was licensed in 1995 and is Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law since 2005.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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