When Ohio truck accidents occur, victims must understand how rules called Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) affect their case. FMCSRs make truck accident claims very different than typical car accident claims and victims need to know the implications for proving their case and recovering compensation.
How FMCSRs Can Affect Your Truck Accident Case
One of the most important ways federal rules affect truck accident cases is by setting minimum insurance requirements for trucking companies. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require trucks have $750,000 minimum in liability coverage under most circumstances. FMCSR 387.9 also mandates higher levels of liability coverage under certain circumstances. For example, in a situation where a truck is transporting hazardous material, the minimum liability coverage could be as high as $5 million.
When there is more insurance coverage available, there is more money available to potentially pay out a truck accident settlement or to fully compensate a truck crash victim who has been hurt. Victims need to be aware of these minimum liability coverages when negotiating a settlement so they will not settle for a lower amount of money than they actually deserve. The fact trucking companies are required to carry insurance policies with such high limits also makes it important for crash victims to determine if they can sue the trucking company as well as the truck driver. Usually, a truck accident victim can pursue a case against the trucker's employer because the trucker acts as the company's agent while on duty.
Another important way FMCSRs affect your truck accident case is by establishing safety rules which truck drivers have to follow. For example, there are hours of service limits which can affect the total number of hours which truckers are allowed to work during the day and the total number of hours truckers are allowed to work over a seven or eight day period. Truckers have to keep a log of the time they are on duty and cannot go over. If they go over, this can create a presumption they were negligent. This makes it much easier for collision victims to prove negligence in drowsy driving truck accident claims.
Other federal safety rules affect many different aspects of truck operation, setting rules for inspections of trucks, for loading of vehicles, and for qualifications of drivers. Any time any of these safety rules and regulations are violated, the victim can point to the violation to create a presumption of negligence. Since negligence has to be proved to recover for injury losses, victims may have an easier time pursuing a damage claim if they know the federal rules applicable to truckers and can determine if the driver or trucking company violated any of these regulations in a way which led to the crash. Victims need to be represented by an experienced legal professional who knows the federal and state truck safety rules so they will be able to determine if any rules were broken.