How Federal Rules Affect Buffalo Truck Accidents

Feb 2016

Buffalo truck accident attorneyWhen truck accidents in Buffalo occur, it is very often not the person who is in the truck who gets hurt in the incident. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicated the victim who is killed in a deadly truck accident case is outside the truck and in a different passenger vehicle 70 percent of the time.

Whenever a victim is injured or killed in a collision involving the truck, the victim needs to know his rights. There are federal rules, called Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) which can have a profound impact on how a collision victim’s case goes against a trucker or trucking company.

How Federal Rules Affect Buffalo Truck Accident Cases

In a typical Buffalo car accident, the victim of the crash has the opportunity to sue a driver who caused the accident provided the victim’s injuries are more serious than would be covered by NY’s no fault insurance. Victims have to prove the other motorist was negligent, which is usually done by showing the driver was unreasonably careless.

Victims who sue will recover compensation paid by the insurer of the careless driver. Drivers have to buy $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in liability coverage. As a result, insurers pay out a maximum of $25,000 to each injured person and a maximum of $50,000 total to all victims of a particular accident if the driver who caused the crash only had minimum coverage. Victims need to take insurance policy limits into account when deciding whether to settle because insurers don’t pay more than policy limits.

In a truck accident case, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 387.9 ensures there will be much more insurance coverage available. Trucks covered by FMCSRs have to have at least $750,000 in liability coverage.  If the truck is one which transports hazardous materials, the minimum amount of liability coverage could be $5 million.  The high coverage limits mean there is a lot more money available for victims of truck crashes to be compensated after a collision occurs.

FMCSRs can also help crash victims in another way. These federal rules dictate a lot of aspects of truck operation, truck maintenance, and truck driver behavior. In the event any of the rules are broken, the victim can show the violation of the safety regulation to create a presumption of negligence. This can make it easier for victims of truck accidents to meet their burden of proof and demonstrate they are entitled to damages.

Because FMCSRs dictate so many different aspects of truck operations and truck maintenance, the federal rules also require truckers and trucking companies to keep extensive records.  Victims of truck collisions can subpoena the records during the discovery process as they prepare their case and seek compensation. These records can serve as important evidence to help crash victims prove how their accident happened and to help crash victims show they should be entitled to compensation for losses from the trucker and/or trucking company.

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