Motor vehicle collisions involving tractor-trailers (semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, big-rigs) frequently involve complex litigation issues. Commercial trucking lawsuits in Gwinnett County and the surrounding areas of Georgia are complicated by extensive trucking regulations, the vast resources of trucking companies and trucking industry practices that sometimes include manipulating evidence. Because these collisions are more likely to result in the most serious types of injuries including loss of limbs, crushed bones, severed spinal cords, brain damage, and other injuries that have a permanent impact on one’s ability to continue in a chosen occupation, fully enjoy daily life experiences and participate in parenting responsibilities without physical limitations, being represented by an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney as soon as possible can be critical.
Gwinnett County Attorneys Explain Unique Tractor-Trailer Accident Risks
Approximately 340,000 commercial trucks per year are involved in collisions that result in over 93,000 injured vehicle occupants based on data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, the risk of catastrophic injuries and wrongful death in Georgia trucking accidents almost exclusively affects occupants of the other vehicle because a fully loaded commercial truck can outweigh a passenger vehicle by a factor of more than 25 times. Although trucking accidents claimed the lives of 3,400 people in a recent year, 85 percent of those injured were occupants of other passenger cars, motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians according to the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety.
HOS Rules Aimed at Preventing Fatigue Based Trucking Accidents
The FMCSA provides the majority of federal regulations that govern the trucking industry for interstate trucking, including hours-of-service (HOS) rules that are designed to limit the risk of fatigue based trucking accidents. HOS rules impose the following restrictions, among others, to prevent fatigued trucking accidents:
- Drivers cannot operate a semi-truck if eight or more hours have elapsed since their last off-duty or rest period of a minimum thirty minute duration.
- Restart provisions may be used only once every seven calendar days.
- Qualifying restarts must include both two nighttime rest periods 1-5 a.m. and include a minimum of 34 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
Because our Gwinnett County Trucking Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have many years of experience handling tractor-trailer accidents, we are familiar with the industry practices used by the trucking industry to manipulate or destroy evidence of HOS violations. Although commercial truck drivers are required to maintain driver logbooks, drivers sometimes falsify the information in these logbooks.
Diligently Pursuing Evidence to Prove Trucking Company Liability
Our Gwinnett Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorneys analyze a wide range of evidence when constructing a claim for personal injury or wrongful death that may include:
- Black box data recorders
- Fuel and lodging receipts
- Email correspondence between the driver and trucking company
- GPS tracking data
- Trucking company business records
- Truck driver personnel records