FMCSA Regulations That May Apply to a Truck Accident Case

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations governing the conduct of the trucking industry. If a truck driver or a trucking company violates one of these federal regulations causing an accident, a truck accident lawyer may be able to use the violation to establish liability against the truck driver or trucking company. Several FMCSA regulations may apply to a truck accident case. We discuss them below.

Using FMCSA Regulations to Establish Liability in a Truck Accident Case

To establish liability for a truck accident, you must prove negligence. You must show the following:

  • The truck driver or truck carrier owed you a duty to drive safely, adequately maintain their fleet, hire qualified and responsible drivers, etc.
  • The driver or company did not fulfill that duty.
  • The conduct of the driver or company caused the accident.
  • Your injury arose from the accident. You suffered damages.

A violation of an FMCSA regulation can help prove the truck driver or trucking company breached a duty owed to you.

FMCSA Standards Governing Truck Drivers and Trucks

FMCSA standards cover the conduct of the truck driver as well as the condition of the truck:

  • The driver must carry a commercial driver's license required by state law.
  • The driver must be 21 years old to engage in interstate commerce.
  • The driver can only drive a certain number of hours without taking a break and resting. For example, a driver cannot drive over eight hours without taking a 30-minute break and can only drive for 11 hours after being off duty for 10 hours.
  • Federal employees conduct regular inspections of trucks. Drivers must conduct inspections each day. If the driver uncovers a problem, such as with the brakes, they must include the information in their report.
  • A truck driver must take a drug and alcohol test after specific accidents.

Other Standards That May Apply to Truck Drivers and Trucks

FMCSA sets minimum standards, so other standards may apply. A state can impose regulations with higher standards.

How a Violation of an FMCSA Standard Can Cause an Accident

An injured person must make a connection between the violation of an FMCSA standard and the accident. For example, the driver fell asleep because they did not follow the regulation governing how many hours a truck driver can drive without resting.

Violations of FMCSA standards can show a pattern of conduct on the part of the driver or trucking company. For example, logs may show the truck driver did not record their hours of rest properly or reports may indicate that drivers did not note mechanical problems with trucks.

Filing a Suit to Recover Compensation in a Truck Accident

You can use FMCSA regulation violations as evidence to build a truck accident case. For example, you can obtain logs from the trucking company to see if the driver was driving too long without taking a break.

Use of Negligence Per Se to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident

You can prove negligence for a truck accident using the concept of negligence per se by showing the truck driver or trucking company violated FMCSA regulations. Negligence per se is “due to the violation of a law meant to protect the public,” such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Vicarious Liability of the Trucking Company for the Acts of Its Drivers

The concept of vicarious liability imposes liability on the trucking company for the acts of the truck driver within the course of their employment.

Liability of a Trucking Company for Negligent Hiring or Retention of a Driver

The law can impose liability for an accident on the trucking company if the company was negligent in hiring the driver or retaining a driver. FMCSA regulations for hiring and training drivers include:

  • The employer must administer road tests.
  • The employer must check the driving record of an applicant for the past three years.
  • The employer must perform a background check.
  • The employer may need to require the truck driver to pass a drug screen and conduct random drug tests.
  • The employer must conduct annual reviews of its drivers.

Failure of the trucking company to follow FMCSA regulations can form the basis of a negligent hiring or negligent retention claim or lawsuit against the trucking company.

Compensation for Injuries in a Truck Accident

Compensation that you may be able to recover for injuries in a truck accident may include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations governing the conduct of the trucking industry. If a truck driver or a trucking company violates one of these federal regulations causing an accident, a truck accident lawyer may be able to use the violation to establish liability against the truck driver or trucking company. Several FMCSA regulations may apply to a truck accident case. We discuss them below.

Using FMCSA Regulations to Establish Liability in a Truck Accident Case

To establish liability for a truck accident, you must prove negligence. You must show the following:

  • The truck driver or truck carrier owed you a duty to drive safely, adequately maintain their fleet, hire qualified and responsible drivers, etc.
  • The driver or company did not fulfill that duty.
  • The conduct of the driver or company caused the accident.
  • Your injury arose from the accident. You suffered damages.

A violation of an FMCSA regulation can help prove the truck driver or trucking company breached a duty owed to you.

FMCSA Standards Governing Truck Drivers and Trucks

FMCSA standards cover the conduct of the truck driver as well as the condition of the truck:

  • The driver must carry a commercial driver's license required by state law.
  • The driver must be 21 years old to engage in interstate commerce.
  • The driver can only drive a certain number of hours without taking a break and resting. For example, a driver cannot drive over eight hours without taking a 30-minute break and can only drive for 11 hours after being off duty for 10 hours.
  • Federal employees conduct regular inspections of trucks. Drivers must conduct inspections each day. If the driver uncovers a problem, such as with the brakes, they must include the information in their report.
  • A truck driver must take a drug and alcohol test after specific accidents.

Other Standards That May Apply to Truck Drivers and Trucks

FMCSA sets minimum standards, so other standards may apply. A state can impose regulations with higher standards.

How a Violation of an FMCSA Standard Can Cause an Accident

An injured person must make a connection between the violation of an FMCSA standard and the accident. For example, the driver fell asleep because they did not follow the regulation governing how many hours a truck driver can drive without resting.

Violations of FMCSA standards can show a pattern of conduct on the part of the driver or trucking company. For example, logs may show the truck driver did not record their hours of rest properly or reports may indicate that drivers did not note mechanical problems with trucks.

Filing a Suit to Recover Compensation in a Truck Accident

You can use FMCSA regulation violations as evidence to build a truck accident case. For example, you can obtain logs from the trucking company to see if the driver was driving too long without taking a break.

Use of Negligence Per Se to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident

You can prove negligence for a truck accident using the concept of negligence per se by showing the truck driver or trucking company violated FMCSA regulations. Negligence per se is “due to the violation of a law meant to protect the public,” such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Vicarious Liability of the Trucking Company for the Acts of Its Drivers

The concept of vicarious liability imposes liability on the trucking company for the acts of the truck driver within the course of their employment.

Liability of a Trucking Company for Negligent Hiring or Retention of a Driver

The law can impose liability for an accident on the trucking company if the company was negligent in hiring the driver or retaining a driver. FMCSA regulations for hiring and training drivers include:

  • The employer must administer road tests.
  • The employer must check the driving record of an applicant for the past three years.
  • The employer must perform a background check.
  • The employer may need to require the truck driver to pass a drug screen and conduct random drug tests.
  • The employer must conduct annual reviews of its drivers.

Failure of the trucking company to follow FMCSA regulations can form the basis of a negligent hiring or negligent retention claim or lawsuit against the trucking company.

Compensation for Injuries in a Truck Accident

Compensation that you may be able to recover for injuries in a truck accident may include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a truck accident? Call an injury lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.

Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a truck accident? Call an injury lawyer at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.