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Assessing Truck Accident Liability – Part One

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Blog, Truck Accident Injuries

When a person suffers an injury in a truck accident, it is often possible to seek compensation when it’s reasonable to claim that negligent conduct contributed to the accident. However, establishing the source of the negligence may require a complex investigation. There are different ways that a truck driver, a trucking company or a third-party incurs responsibility in an accident.

Violations of Regulations

Any failure to heed all relevant state and federal regulations may constitute evidence of negligent conduct on the part of a driver or trucking company. For example, regulations limit how long drivers can operate rigs without a break.

Driver Error and/or Misconduct

In the aftermath of an accident, investigators may discover evidence that driver error, fatigue, aggressive behavior, or excessive speed contributed to the accident. Impaired driving due to drugs or alcohol or distracted driving may also constitute evidence of negligence.

Various Owners and Lessees

In addition to the driver, one or more businesses may share responsibility in a truck crash. It is possible that a detailed investigation will yield information that one company owns the tractor and another owns the trailer. In certain cases, one business leases a rig that another company owns. Both owners and lessees find themselves named as defendants in certain truck accidents.

Needless to say, truck accidents involving commercial vehicles often involve a high degree of complexity. Therefore, it is possible that an attorney focused on relevant areas of the law may offer useful assistance in some cases.

If you or a loved one is a victim in a truck accident, it is possible to review the matter from a legal perspective at no cost to you. Our firm offers a no-obligation consultation with an attorney focused on pertinent aspects of the law.

Know Your Rights Regarding Employee Retaliation

Posted on Friday, June 26, 2015
Blog, Workers' Compensation

Individuals seeking worker’s compensation are faced with hours upon hours of paperwork, doctors’ evaluation appointments, legal fees, and other miscellaneous activities regarding their case. As if this wasn’t enough, sometimes employers retaliate. As of 2013, recorded workplace injuries had dropped by 31% over a period of ten years, but a growing number of companies were reported to have retaliated against workers’ compensation claims within the same time period. How are the interests of the worker best protected in this situation? Don’t be intimidated by employer retaliation.

Know Your Rights

Fear of retaliation should not deter you from seeking the legal rights afforded to individuals injured at work. These are:

  1. Entitlement to worker’s compensation benefits throughout their career (not a contract worker or someone who signed away rights to worker’s compensation).
  2. Filing for worker’s compensation as remuneration for a serious work-related injury or illness.
  3. Termination or experience of negative changes to conditions of employment due to filing aforementioned worker’s compensation claims.

Federal Law

A majority of states have laws, which prohibit employers from retaliation against injured workers, but federal law outlines no specific stipulations regarding worker’s compensation retaliation. Most federal laws target other kinds of retaliation, so it is important to understand your state’s legal stance on this issue. Qualified and experienced attorneys will be familiar with state specific worker’s compensation retaliation laws, so consider them a resource if state law statutes are not clear from personal research.

State Law

Florida state law outlines anti-retaliation provisions found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Florida Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended, and the Family Medical and Leave Act. Any worker seriously injured due to work conditions will usually qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. Unless fraud is proven, there is very little chance an employer can challenge a worker’s right to fair compensation.

Once work termination or change to conditions of employment has been linked with recent worker’s compensation claims, workers have a right to protect themselves legally. It’s advisable to hire a knowledgeable legal team that has experience in state law, regardless of severity of company action. Larger corporations may attempt to mask retaliation through loopholes in legal statutes or even fraud, however this should not deter anyone from seeking legal assistance that will allow fair receipt of compensation for work-related injuries. Don’t let employer retaliation threaten the future of your livelihood. Get informed with the appropriate legal knowledge.

4 Common Causes of Truck Rollover Accidents

Posted on Thursday, June 18, 2015
Blog, Truck Accident Injuries

A rollover is one of the worst kinds of truck accident you can have. Rollovers occur when a truck’s wheels lose contact with the road, causing the truck to end up on its side, or even upside-down. Trucks are particularly prone to this kind of accident because they have such a high center of gravity. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), centrifugal forces can cause a truck to lean during a curve or turn. Combine this with a top-heavy and potentially unstable load, and it’s a wonder more accidents don’t happen.

There are many causes of rollover accidents involving trucks, but we’re going to focus on the four most common causes of rollover accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other experts:

Driving Too Fast To Safely Negotiate a Curve

In order to safely negotiate a curve, a driver needs to consider the height and load of their truck, as well as road conditions and the configuration of the curve. Speed is often the biggest contributing factor in rollover crashes; according to one study, it contributed to 45 percent of such crashes. Speed is also a big contributor to those rollovers that occur on highway exit and entrance ramps.

Sudden Changes in Steering or Oversteering

If a truck driver makes an abrupt change in steering to avoid another vehicle or an obstacle in the road, the vehicle’s high center of gravity may cause it to roll over. Another common cause of rollover accidents is oversteering. If a truck drives off a paved roadway for any reason, the driver will have to use larger steering movements to control the vehicle on dirt or sand. When the commercial vehicle finally regains traction on pavement, these broad steering actions can lead to a sharp increase in lateral force, causing the vehicle to rollover.

Improperly Loaded or Improperly Secured Cargo

A fully loaded truck has a high center of gravity, so it’s very important that the load be centered and kept from shifting. Cargo that shifts as the truck is rounding a corner will upset the balance of the truck and increase its chances of tipping over. A partially full tanker truck is also at risk because of the thousands of gallons of liquid sloshing around inside as it attempts to negotiate a curve.

Driver Error

According to this article by the FMSCA, “over 78% of (tank truck) rollovers involve driver error.” These errors can include driving too fast for road and weather conditions, taking a ramp or curve too fast, driving while ill or tired, using mobile devices, or even just reaching for a drink or the radio controls.

The FMCSA recommends that truckers follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid sudden movements that may lead to rollovers
  • Control your load in turns and on straight roadways
  • Identify high-risk areas on roads
  • Remain alert and attentive behind the wheel
  • Control speed and maintain proper “speed cushions”

A rollover accident is a very scary situation, especially since it has so much potential for harm. A 40-ton tanker truck sliding down the highway on its side is a sight which isn’t soon forgotten. The thought of that truck spewing a torrent of hazardous liquids into the path of other vehicles is equally frightening. If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience an accident like this, please get in touch with DDB Law today. Our knowledge and experience will allow us to help you through this difficult time.

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