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Federal Laws Can Affect Truck Accident Claims in Albuquerque

— March 22, 2022

A drunk driver at the wheel of a tractor-trailer, that’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

Albuquerque, NM – Each year, there are approximately 43,000 car crashes in New Mexico. Truck accidents account for only 3% of all crashes, around 1,400 per year, but unfortunately, they are four times more likely to result in fatalities than accidents involving other types of motor vehicles. At the same time, truck accidents tend to result in severe or life-changing injuries, such as spine damage, head trauma, major burns, or amputated limbs. The financial consequences are huge, putting enormous pressure on the victims and their families. When you have stacks of medical bills and you cannot go to work, you’ll be tempted to take whatever money you can get. Insurance companies are actually betting on this and they usually try to settle quickly for way less than you truly deserve. As a rule, never accept the first offer the insurer makes. Look up the best Albuquerque truck accident lawyers you can find and ask them how much your claim is worth.

Then, you have another major problem – you know how much money you deserve, but who do you get it from? An experienced lawyer with good knowledge of both state and federal law can help you with that. Since truckers usually only carry minimum liability coverage, your best chance of getting fair compensation is to go after the trucking company, the manufacturer of a defective part, or the shipping company responsible for loading the truck. 

Here’s how federal laws can help you win the compensation you deserve.

Federal Hours of Service regulations

Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, commercial drivers must abide by the federal Hours of Service (HoS). A trucker is not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours in one shift, after which he must take a 10-hour break and rest. These regulations are meant to prevent driver fatigue, one of the most common causes of truck accidents. If the trucker does not abide by the HoS of his own volition, he will be held accountable for any damages resulting from an accident he caused.

However, in many cases, it is his employer who, directly or indirectly, urges the trucker to ignore the HoS regulations. The quicker a driver delivers a cargo, the sooner he’s available for another trip. It’s called profit, and in such a case the trucking company must pay for its greed. 

Seasoned New Mexico truck accident lawyers will immediately request access to the driver’s log to see exactly how many hours the trucker had been working in the past week.

Truck maintenance regulations

Trucks in mechanics bays for service; image by Carlos Daniel, via
Trucks in mechanics bays for service; image by Carlos Daniel, via

A trucking company is responsible for the good maintenance of its vehicles. Many truck accidents are caused by blown tires, faulty brakes systems, or problems with the steering system. Your lawyers will request truck maintenance records and they may call in independent experts to assess the state of the truck. If a third party was employed for maintenance services, you will have to file a claim against their insurance company.

Drugs and alcohol use laws

A drunk driver at the wheel of a tractor-trailer, that’s a tragedy waiting to happen. Commercial drivers must submit to drug tests before they are hired. If your lawyers determine that the trucking company hired a driver with a known history of drug or alcohol-related offenses, they may be accused of negligence and held accountable for damages.If your accident was caused by a trucker driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you can get punitive damages. In New Mexico, there is no cap on punitive damages.  

If you were recently involved in an accident or have other legal issues and you’re wondering where can I find attorneys near me, don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away. Just follow the link and select your state and city, choose your lawyer, and schedule a free consultation. They’ll take care of your problem in no time

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