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Articles Tagged with tractor trailer

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By Kurt Maier, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

car wreck in KentuckyAs we approach Thanksgiving, travel is on the minds of many Americans.

AAA typically releases a travel forecast for Thanksgiving, but hasn’t done so yet this year. In 2016, AAA predicted that 48.7 million people would travel for Thanksgiving, with driving being by far the most popular option for getting to that destination. This was an increase from previous years, thanks to lower gas prices and improved economic conditions.

Much of that travel is by car, with many heading out on Wednesday, November 22, this year to visit family for Thanksgiving. In the south, it seems like there is road construction year-round, and that creates a lot of stop-and-go traffic. Top that off with uncertain chilly weather that can even turn icy and you’ll find a near-perfect set up for car wrecks.

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tractor trailerLawsuits arising from 18-wheeler accidents can be very complex. One reason for this is that the tractor and trailer may be owned by or insured by different entities. This greatly complicates the path to recovery of a fair settlement or judgment for a person injured in a semi-truck wreck.

In a recent case, a rather unique issue arose. The owner of a certain tractor-trailer requested liability insurance on both the tractor and the trailer, but the insurance agent accidentally left the tractor off of the list of the trucking company’s vehicles when she sent the application to the insurance company.

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big rigsWhen it comes to claims arising from an 18-wheeler accident, an injured person is often wise to “cast a large net” and name as many defendants as possible. This is because insurance coverage issues and policy limits can restrict the ultimate recovery from a particular defendant, but, if several defendants are named, it is more likely that the plaintiff will be fully compensated for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Of course, the defendants named in a tractor-trailer wreck case may have a viable defense, and they have a right to seek the dismissal of the case against them on procedural grounds. In such cases, it is up to the courts to decide who stays and who goes.

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A close up of a tractor trailer as it speeds down a road. The bottom of the truck and two tires are shown.

In lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents, it is not unusual for there to be multiple defendants. Sometimes, this is because two or more drivers’ negligence may have contributed to the accident. It can also happen when a driver was on the job at the time of the accident. In this tractor-trailer accident case, just getting to the heart of who was responsible was difficult.

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for the tortious acts of a servant, agent or employee. This includes negligent driving. Discovering all of the possible defendants in a case can be a complex endeavor that may take some time. This is one of the reasons that it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

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By Kyle Roby, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

big rig accidentsThis winter’s weather challenged everyone who was out driving in it, but especially those driving tractor-trailers. Some big rig accidents occurred during last week’s heavy snow, no doubt, as trucks weigh several tons and are hard to stop even during ideal driving conditions.

The best thing to do during bad weather is stay home, of course, but not everyone has that option. If you’re called into work on a day when it is snowing, your bosses are expecting you to report for duty. Those who work in hospitals, emergency responders and city government officials have no choice. It’s their duty to take care of the rest of us – and we’re certainly all grateful for that.

While truck drivers are limited in how far and how long they can drive in a day by rules created and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government agency has rules and regulations as it relates to adverse driving conditions. Adverse conditions means snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

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2014-10-17 09.29.59By Kyle Roby, Attorney

English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to all tractor-trailers and truck drivers  in the U.S., including those in Kentucky and Tennessee. These regulations cover every aspect of operating, maintaining, and driving a truck. One of the most important, but also most ignored, part of these regulations concerns how long a driver can be behind the wheel in a given day, called hours of service rule. The hours of service rule provides that a truck driver may work no more than 14 hours in a day, with only 11 of those hours actual driving time. The rule is intended to limit truck driver fatigue. A truck driver can only operate a vehicle for 8 consecutive hours before taking a break, which must be 30 minutes or longer. The truck driver must record his hours of service in a drivers log book that he or she must keep updated at all times while driving.
These rules are hard to enforce. Often, when we handle a truck accident case for a client, this is one of the first things we examine, and we often find that the trucking company and truck driver has violated this rule, falsified their log book, or exceed their hours of service. Having an experienced attorney examine the drivers log books and hours of services is critical when a truck driver has caused a wreck.

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