Thousands of trucking accidents happen every year in the United States. In Ohio alone, medium or heavy trucks were involved in 19,625 crashes in 2013. Truck accidents happen all too frequently on highways such as the Ohio turnpike, I-71, I-480, I-75, and I-70. Because of the size of large trucks such as tractor trailers or semis, the damage and injuries to those involved can be devastating. Every year pedestrians, drivers, and family members find their loved ones injured or hurt because of being involved in a serious trucking crash. Children and the elderly are especially at risk for serious injury when involved in a truck accident.
Cleveland, Ohio, attorney Tom Robenalt is an experienced personal injury lawyer who works with victims of truck accidents and their loved ones to find out: the cause of the accident; who was at fault; the nature and extent of your physical injuries; and what you may be due from an insurance or trucking company to compensate you for your injuries, suffering, and lost work. Read more or contact The Robenalt Law Firm for a free confidential consultation.
Trucking Accidents: What Happened and Who Was at Fault?
Trucking accidents happen for many reasons, including:
- Intoxicated driving
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving — including cell phone use, texting, using the radio, handling navigation devices
- Speeding / Reckless driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Dangerous or hazardous road conditions
- Low visibility
- Failure to keep up truck maintenance
- Failure to avoid person, child, or animal entering roadway
- Construction work zones
When semi-trucks are on the road, they can cause or worsen accidents in a number of ways. All year round, but especially during harsh weather months, trucks are involved in serious accidents by jackknifing, overturning or rolling over, losing control as a runaway down a hill, and colliding with other cars, objects or people.
Particularly because of the vehicle weight and high speeds often involved in truck accidents, accident victims suffer a range of serious injuries including bone breaks, fractures, bruises, limb loss, soft tissue damage, internal injury, and catastrophic brain trauma — such as concussions.
Federal Highway Trucking Regulations
Truckers are known to drive long hours, and drowsy driving in particular is a serious concern on our highways and roads. Truckers must follow federal laws governing hours of service, published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to improve safety on the road way. In particular, 49 CFR section 395 sets out regulations that truckers and trucking companies must comply with. For example, a driver cannot begin a shift without having had a 10-hour period off, and a driver can only go on a 14-hour shift after a 10-hour period off. A driver cannot drive after a 14-hour shift without first taking a 10-hour break. And during a 14-hour shift, a driver may only drive 11 hours out of that 14. As for rest breaks, a trucker cannot drive if it has been more than 8 hours since the trucker had been off-duty or had a 30-minute sleeper-berth period.
Federal rules also govern a trucker’s total work week hours. In general, a trucker can be on duty for a maximum of 70 hours in a consecutive 8-day period. Recently, there has been some controversy about what will restart this period. Both truckers and companies may feel the pressure when working under conditions where they need to get freight delivered. The trucker will not be permitted to drive until after being off-duty for at least 34 hours beyond what has been included within the maximum work-week.
There are also other federal laws, such as the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, that govern licensing and driver standards for the trucking industry. All these rules have been put in place to strike a balance between the commercial trucking industry and road safety. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents still happen, and our firm is here to investigate what happened — and whether laws were broken — to help accident victims recover for their injuries.
Let Our Cleveland Truck Accident Attorneys Fight for You
Attorney Tom Robenalt has over 20 years of experience handling cases that relate to the federal regulations that govern trucks and semi's that roam Ohio's roadways. Serious accidents require immediate action, and The Robenalt Law Firm often retains accident reconstruction expert to evaluate the scene and retain evidence that sometimes is not retained by the local law enforcement authorities.
At Robenalt Law, you don’t have to face dealing with trucking and insurance companies alone — our well respected truck accident attorneys will fight aggressively for you so you can rest easier. We treat our clients with respect, and give each of our clients personalized attention. We take the time to go over the details of your case and talk through the options with you. We help recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Call our Cleveland Ohio truck injury law firm anytime for a free consultation at (216) 223-7535 or contact us online today.