Victims of Alabama truck accidents may be entitled to receive compensation from truck drivers if the driver was to blame for the accident. A victim who wishes to pursue a claim for compensation should make sure to understand the obligations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
There are numerous rules and obligations applicable to truck drivers and to trucking companies which are in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). These rules affect the rights of victims of truck accidents who seek to make damage claims.
The Importance of Knowing Federal Laws in Truck Accident Cases
Victims of truck accidents need to know the FMCSRs because the federal rules provide some important protections for victims. FMCSR number 387.9, for example, establishes minimum financial responsibility requirements. Trucks have to be insured for at least $750,000, so this large liability policy exists to provide money to compensate truck crash victims who are harmed in accidents. If a truck is transporting hazardous materials, the minimum liability insurance requirements could be set as high as $5 million.
Alabama laws on car insurance require just $25,000 per collision and $50,000 per accident in liability insurance coverage for passenger cars. When there are multiple victims of an accident and a driver has only the minimum coverage, the $50,000 aggregate limit may provide limited or no protection to victims. The larger insurance limits are one way in which federal laws protect Alabama truck accident victims, and victims need to be aware of this protection as they consider whether to settle a truck accident claim and what settlement amount is appropriate.
The FMCSRs protect victims of truck accidents in other ways as well. The federal regulations require regular maintenance and inspection of trucks to ensure vehicles are in good working order and impose limits on the number of hours truckers can drive in order to prevent drowsy driving truck crashes. Truck drivers and trucking companies are expected to keep detailed records to make sure all of these rules are being followed.
If a trucker or a trucking company has violated any of the FMCSRs, this violation can create a presumption of negligence. Victims of the truck accident can point to the safety violation as evidence the truck driver and trucking company should be held accountable for losses and damages. Victims may also obtain the records which the trucker and trucking company were required to keep. When these records are obtained during the discovery process, they can be used by the truck crash victim to prove liability for the truck accident.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates 70 percent of victims killed in fatal truck crashes are in passenger cars, not trucks. Victims and their loved ones need to ensure they understand how all of the federal rules protect them and make it easier for them to get compensation for their truck accident losses.