What Happens When Freight Companies Commit FMCSA Violations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal government agency tasked with regulating the safety of commercial vehicles. Some regulations deal with weight restrictions for commercial vehicles and the correct methods of loading, unloading, and securing cargo, while others regulate the conduct of truck drivers while they are on the road and the freight company’s maintenance and inspection e of its fleet. These regulations were put in place to help ensure the safety of all road users, especially in the vicinity of enormous commercial trucks due to the devastating injuries and property damage they can cause during a collision. When truck drivers, freight companies, cargo loading companies, and others involved in the trucking industry violate FMCSA rules, serious and even fatal accidents can occur. If you were injured in a commercial trucking accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or their employer, the experienced Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. Legal claims involving commercial vehicles tend to be far more complex than regular car accident claims, so working with a firm that has extensive experience in handling these kinds of cases is essential.  

What Aspects of Trucking Do FMCSA Violations Cover?  

Freight companies and the drivers they employ have a responsibility to obey all FMCSA rules and regulations. These regulations have to do with the safe operation of commercial vehicles as well as the duties that drivers and freight companies have to perform before taking a vehicle out on the road. 

Although too numerous to list in their entirety, some aspects of the trucking industry that are subject to FMCSA regulations include:

  • The weight restrictions for payloads based on gross vehicle weight
  • The number of consecutive hours that drivers may operate their rig before taking mandatory rest breaks of a specified time
  • Driver training and licensing
  • Drug and alcohol tests for new hires and in the event of an accident
  • Underbody and overhead lighting 
  • Pre-trip inspection checklists that drivers are required to conduct before getting behind the wheel
  • Rear guards, fire extinguishers, and other safety appliances 
  • Proper procedures for loading and unloading freight 
  • Proper procedures for securing freight to ensure it does not throw the truck off balance or fall off of the truck  

When truck drivers and freight companies fail to obey these rules, their chances of causing a catastrophic collision are high. 

How Can I Prove That an FMCSA Violation Caused My Accident?

In order to prove that a truck driver or their employer committed negligence, the burden of proof falls to the plaintiff. For the freight company, it must be shown that they failed to obey one or more FMCSA rules, such as allowing their drivers to skip pre-trip vehicle inspections or allowing a driver to operate a truck in need of repairs. Then, the plaintiff needs to prove that this negligence was the cause of their accident and that the accident resulted in injuries. 

When it comes to proving negligence in a Virginia Beach truck accident case, expert witnesses can be an invaluable resource. For instance, an accident reconstruction expert will be able to demonstrate that the freight company was partly or wholly at fault for the incident through the use of visualization and analytical software programs. Likewise, a medical professional can explain how the accident caused each of the plaintiff’s injuries and what their long-term prognosis is.  

If you are successful in establishing these elements, you could be entitled to recover monetary damages. Your Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer will fight to ensure that you receive maximum financial compensation through a settlement or litigation.  

Although every case is unique, damages commonly awarded in truck accident cases include current and anticipated medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, permanent disability or disfigurement, lifetime care costs, loss of a body part, diminished quality of life, emotional trauma, and in cases of wrongful death, loss of consortium. 

Were You Injured in a Truck Accident?

Partnering with a reputable law firm is crucial to securing full and fair financial compensation for the damages you sustained due to an FMCSA violation. The Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp are skilled negotiators who have been achieving successful outcomes in serious truck accident cases since 1985, such as the $2.4 million settlement we secured for the surviving family of a client who died after being hit by a negligent commercial truck driver. 

To schedule a free case evaluation, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out our quick contact form. We have offices in Virginia Beach. Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.