Virginia truck drivers and commercial trucking company owners must observe certain state and federal safety rules. As an accident victim, showing that the liable party violated one of these laws can reinforce your case and help you claim compensation.
Let’s examine a few important trucking safety regulations that can influence your claim after a truck accident in Virginia.
Frequently Violated Traffic Safety Regulations
Some of the commonly violated trucking regulations in Virginia include:
- Hours of service. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations mandate rest for truckers after driving for 11 hours with a cargo load or after 10 hours of driving with a passenger. Truck drivers also have a duty to keep logs recording their driving and rest hours. Truckers who drive too long without rest are more likely to lose focus on the road and cause accidents.
- Driver qualification testing. The Department of Transportation sets rules for pre-hiring trucker tests. Before a trucking company owner hires a driver, they must run a background check, including drug and alcohol testing.
- Truck maintenance. Truck owners and trucking companies must follow federal regulations for timely truck maintenance and inspections.
- Size and weight limit. In Virginia, the weight limit is 35,000 pounds for an empty truck and 80,000 for a full truck. Trucks also have a height limit of 13 feet, 7 inches, and a length limit of 53 feet, or 65 feet for trucks hauling a house.
How Proving Breaches of Trucking Safety Rules Can Help Your Case
To establish liability in Virginia trucking accidents, it’s vital to determine whether the truck driver and/or their employer violated any of the state or federal trucking safety regulations.
For instance, your lawyer may request access to the truck’s “black box”, a device that records driving times and can provide evidence of too many consecutive hours the driver spent on the road. Other documentation, like truck maintenance records, may show that the trucking company failed to provide proper vehicle upkeep.
These types of evidence can help you prove negligence and strengthen your case. Virginia auto accident law works upon contributory negligence, a principle that only allows accident victims to recover compensation if the at-fault party was 100% responsible for the accident. Contributory negligence often makes it difficult to establish liability, so any evidence of a safety breach is a point in your favor.
Of course, to prove liability, you would also need to show that the driver’s or truck company’s negligence directly led to your injuries, and that the injury caused significant damage like medical care costs or lost wages.
Why You Need a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer
As a rule, truck drivers, trucking companies, and their insurers will do everything to dodge your claim or minimize payouts. Protect your rights by hiring a seasoned truck accident lawyer who will:
- Examine your case for any breaches of traffic safety regulations
- Work hard to prove the trucker’s or trucking company’s liability
- Handle negotiations with the at-fault party or their insurance company
- Represent your interests throughout the claim process
- Defend your rights at trial if settlement offers fall through
Geoff McDonald & Associates: Assertive Legal Support for Your Truck Accident Case
Do you believe that a violation of trucking safety regulations contributed to the truck accident you or your loved one suffered? Contact us at Geoff McDonald & Associates for a quick, reliable case assessment. In over two decades of legal practice in Virginia, our law firm has helped clients and their families recover more than $400 million in settlements.
Call (804) 409-0821 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced Virginia truck accident lawyer.