Tractor-trailers and large commercial vehicles can be especially dangerous because they travel with such momentum. They’re so big that when they hit something, the collision is usually serious. For that reason, commercial vehicles are subject to certain rules or regulations that other cars aren’t.
For instance, drivers of most commercial vehicles must have commercial drivers’ licenses, which require the truckers to take certain special precautions (like making left turns in a certain way, or taking regular breaks to stay alert). Trucking companies have to follow special laws called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which require medical examinations for truckers and regular maintenance procedures on the trucks. Trucking companies also have to carry higher levels of insurance than other cars. When a lawsuit is filed against a trucking company, the case can also be filed directly against the truck company’s liability insurance carrier in what is called a “direct action.” Good lawyers fight hard to keep the truck insurance company in the case.
Trucking companies are notorious for playing fast and loose with the evidence. They often have “rapid-response teams” that rush to the scene of a collision so that the trucking company can prepare for litigation before the victim can even hire a lawyer. Some truckers illegally keep two sets of logbooks—one real set that shows how much they actually drove, and one clean-looking set that they’ll show to police officers who ask for it. Truck companies often fail to preserve GPS tracking evidence that shows what their trucks did and when they did it.
Truck companies are serious litigators. If you or a loved one was hit by a tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle, be ready for battle.