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Hit by a truck driver? How negligence can factor into your case

For over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers, deadlines are everything. When they have a load scheduled to get from point A to point B in a short of time, there is no time to waste. If two loads divide their trailer, destined for two separate places, staying on schedule can be increasingly difficult. Taking weather conditions, road construction and traffic into consideration, a driver may feel forced to break driving regulations. Paid just cents on the mile, a driver may go out of their way to avoid late penalties for his or her load.

With the size and weight of semi trucks comes a longer stopping distance than personal vehicles. This is part of the reason for speed governors, though many mechanics and drivers find ways to circumvent their use. And, while the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires log books tracking a driver’s hours of service, many drivers run two separate logs: one for their employer and DOT and the truthful one.

Is this typical? Maybe.

Is it legal? Absolutely not.

How does that impact you?

Unfortunately, truck drivers may not even consider your safety while they rush to log as much distance as possible, regardless of how tired they get in the process. They often keep pushing themselves, and their trucks, to get the job done, putting you in danger in the process.

While companies may choose to turn a blind eye to excessive speeds and long hours of their drivers, they may come to regret that decision if one of their drivers hurts you in his or her negligent and unsafe behavior. Meanwhile, their insurance companies will likely be quick to offer a settlement, without allowing you the opportunity to discover the full extent of your injuries.

Your rights after an accident with a semi truck are not dependent upon a truck driver’s reasons for an accident. You may be able to hold a trucker accountable for negligence, especially if they were not driving in accordance with the DOT regulations. The company they’re driving for may be liable as well.

If you got hurt in a truck accident, you may want to speak to an attorney about your rights and possible compensation. When it comes to your safety, being tired or rushed on a delivery is no excuse.  

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Ball & Bonholtzer
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