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  • What are the truck driver drug testing requirements after a trucking accident?

    In some commercial truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires employers to drug test the driver. The details of the requirements are found in 49 CFR Part 382.303.

    Drug Testing after a Truck Accident

    In minor accidents in which no one is injured or killed and no major property damage is present, the FMCSA does not require employers to test the truck driver for drugs.

    However, if any of the following is true, employers must test the driver “as soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce.”

    • There was a fatality.
    • Somebody was injured and the truck driver received a citation.
    • There was “disabling damage” to any vehicle in the accident and the vehicle was towed away and the truck driver received a citation.

    The test must be administered within 32 hours of the accident. If it’s not, the employer will have to document why it didn’t test the driver and then submit a report to the FMCSA upon request.

    The employer must use a test approved by the FMCSA. The following are the criteria the test must meet.

    • A urine test for the use of controlled substances.
    • Conducted by Federal, State, or local officials having independent authority for the test.
    • Conformed to the applicable Federal, State or local controlled substances testing requirements.
    • Obtained by the employer.

    Consulting a Truck Accident Attorney in Clarksburg

    If you or your loved one suffered injuries in truck accident in Clarksburg and you suspect the driver was likely under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise at fault, call our team at the Miley Legal Group to discuss your legal options. You may obtain records from the truck company to support your case – but act quickly because the truck company may destroy records after a certain time period.

    Contact us today at 304-931-4088 to schedule your free consultation.

  • When can the trucking company destroy truck driver’s hours of service records in Clarksburg?

    Trucking companies must keep truck drivers’ hours of service records for at least six months, as per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. It’s a federal law. At the six-month mark, carriers can destroy and dispose of the records.

    What This Law Can Mean for Truck Accident Victims

    When a truck driver causes an accident, some unscrupulous trucking companies might “misplace” records like hours of service records.

    If they lose or destroy hours of service records, they are in violation of  §395.8(k)(1). The regulations state, “Each motor carrier shall maintain records of duty status and all supporting documents for each driver it employs for a period of six months from the date of receipt.” But after six months, these records may be gone forever.

    An attorney can send a spoliation letter to the company. The letter essentially tells the company that a claim is in the works and that they must retain certain records until the conclusion of the case. Without this letter, it’s quite likely the company will destroy records after six months, and the victim will have insufficient evidence to win their claim.

    Hours of Service Records Can Help a Truck Accident Claim

    Information in a truck driver’s hours of service could make or break the case. It can be vital to winning an accident claim. Let’s say, for example, that the driver’s hours of service log shows the driver violated FMCSA rules by driving too many hours consecutively without taking a break. The courts may then determine that the driver’s potential tiredness and fatigue caused or contributed to the accident, and, therefore, the company will be liable for the accident.

    Free Consult with a Truck Accident Attorney in Clarksburg

    If you or your loved one were in a truck accident, call an injury attorney in Clarksburg. Contact the Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 today to set up a free consultation.

  • Can Clarksburg truck drivers take drugs to stay awake while on duty?

    As it currently stands, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not regulate truck drivers’ use of over-the-counter stimulant supplements. However, the agency does regulate the number of consecutive hours that truck drivers can work. If a driver feels the need to take drugs to stay awake, he may have been on the road too long and that is illegal.

    Truck Drivers and Stimulants

    Many in the truck driving industry use stimulants like caffeine pills and more. Truck drivers cite several benefits of taking stimulants. Stimulants can reduce sleepiness, as well as improve their reaction time and attention when driving. However, there are several downsides, as well. 

    Citing previous research, an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology explains that stimulant supplements can have the following negative repercussions for truck drivers.

    • Driving impairments such as risky behavior
    • Increased sleepiness as a result of withdrawal from stimulants
    • Overall negative effects from taking high doses, including confused speech, rapid pulse, agitation, paranoia, and an aggressive attitude

    The article reports an association between adverse outcomes like poor compliance with road rules, working hours rules, and an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. 

    A Washington State Toxicology Lab study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences noted that among drivers on stimulants, “typical driving behaviors included drifting out of the lane of travel, erratic driving, weaving, speeding, drifting off the road, and high speed collisions.”

    Injured in a truck accident? Consult our attorneys in Clarksburg.

    If you or your loved one were involved in a truck accident and you believe the truck driver was under the influence of some type of stimulant, you might be able to file an injury or wrongful death claim against the trucking company. To discuss your legal options with an attorney in Clarksburg, Contact the Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 for a free consultation.

  • What should I expect in a truck accident case?

    If you are filing a truck accident claim or lawsuit against a trucking company, expect a challenge. Trucking companies are known to hire legal teams to help them wiggle out of responsibility for truck accident cases. Some might even destroy evidence or use legal argument to deny liability.

    A truck accident case is different from a car accident claim in that there might be multiple parties liable (truck driver, truck company, shipping company) and there may be additional evidence available (driver personnel file, hours-of-service reports).

    Injured victims can meet this challenge by hiring an attorney well versed and successful in truck accident claims to back them up and fight for their best interests.

    What it Takes to Win a Truck Accident Case

    Cases against trucking companies may not be easy, but with the right tools and resources, it’s quite possible to recover adequate compensation for damages. In order to bring a truck accident lawsuit or claim successfully, you’ll need the following elements listed below.

    • Legal help: Going head to head with company’s legal team often requires legal counsel of your own. Enlist the help of an attorney to preserve and gather evidence, build a case, and ensure your rights are upheld throughout the legal proceedings.
    • Evidence: You and your attorney will need to collect ample evidence that shows the truck driver or the company was at fault (perhaps from maintenance records, the driver’s logbooks, or video cameras).
    • Proof: In order to calculate and demonstrate the value of your case, you’ll also need to be able to produce proof of your injury and its effect on your life. This might mean doctors’ reports, medical bills, evidence of lost wages, and testimonies from medical or mental health experts.
    • Tenacity: In the aftermath of a serious truck accident, it’s natural to want to settle the case as quickly as possible. Your attorney will attempt to handle it as expeditiously as possible, but a good dose of tenacity and patience will be necessary to see the case through to completion so you get the damages to which you are entitled.

    Free Consultation about a Truck Accident Case with a Clarksburg Attorney

    If you or a loved one is considering filing a truck accident case against a trucking company, seek legal counsel first. For a free consult in Clarksburg, WV, contact the Miley Legal Group at (304) 931-4088.

  • Why is it important to have a truck accident attorney?

    A serious accident with a large 18-wheeler on Clarksburg’s highways or major roadways can cause significant hardship and injuries. It’s important to hire a truck accident attorney when a commercial truck is involved in the accident for several reasons as outlined below.

    Reason #1: Knowledge of Trucking Laws Can Benefit Your Case

    Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have a large number of laws and protocols to which they must adhere. If the driver and/or company is in violation of one of these laws when your accident occurred, their negligence may help you prove fault on their part.

    Proving the other party’s fault is fundamental to obtaining a settlement. A truck accident attorney will be familiar the FMCSA regulations and can comb through the evidence to identify negligence, which will be vital to the successful resolution of your case.                       

    Reason #2: Truck Companies Will Have a Legal Team Working Against You

    Truck accident companies invest a lot of money in securing a legal team. Their attorneys are on the ready to defend against claims from truck accident victims. They may employ a number of tactics to convince victims to agree to small settlements or to discredit their claims altogether.

    It would be quite difficult for a truck accident victim to go head to head (successfully) with a trucking company’s legal team. When you hire a truck accident attorney, he will help you build your case, ensure your rights are upheld, and push for a fair settlement.

    Reason #3: You Need to Focus on Healing

    Another reason it’s in your best interest to obtain an attorney when a truck is involved is because you’ll want to focus on healing in the aftermath of the accident rather than on stressful legal matters.

    Given the seriousness of truck accidents, your damages are likely extensive and it’s important to ensure the claims process is handled correctly so that you can be compensated accordingly. When you have an attorney representing you, you can rest easier knowing that a capable legal professional who has your best interests in mind is working on your behalf.

    Consulting a Truck Accident Attorney in Clarksburg

    For a truck accident attorney in the Clarksburg area, contact the Miley Legal Group at (304) 326-1800 to set up a free consultation.

  • Can a co-driver be liable for a truck accident?

    Co-drivers can bear liability for a truck accident in Clarksburg in certain cases. Although fault most often applies to the driver, there are circumstances in which both have acted negligently and contributed to the truck accident.

    Examples Where Co-Driver Liability Might Apply

    One example where a co-driver might be liable for a truck accident is when the co-driver’s distractions interfere with the safe operation of the truck. If the co-driver is horsing around in the cab, distracting the driver or even directly causing an accident – like bumping the steering wheel – then the co-driver could be liable.

    If the driver was falling asleep at the wheel and the co-driver knew, both could be liable for an accident. The driver shouldn't have been driving drowsy and the co-driver shouldn't have ignored the dangerous situation that led to the accident.

    Federal regulations allow a limited amount of time for an individual to drive. Going over those hours is a violation. But if the co-driver is aware of this and doesn't take over the wheel, he or she might bear some liability for allowing the driver to dangerously violate the hours of service rules.

    Drivers have a huge responsibility when it comes to operating a truck. But co-drivers must be ready to take over when the circumstances warrant. Also, if co-drivers have knowledge of a threatening situation, they must take the necessary steps to avoid an accident.

    How an Attorney May Help Establish a Co-driver’s Liability for a Truck Accident

    Pursuing a claim against a truck driver comes with its own challenges. So adding to the mix a co-driver who is liable for the accident, along with federal regulations and other complex issues, it's important to seek legal advice. An attorney can help collect the evidence necessary that shows both drivers’ fault. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or use our online contact form to set up a consultation.

  • What is a logbook for truck drivers and how can it help my claim?

    A driver logbook keeps track of the amount of time spent on duty, off duty and driving. It may help establish negligence when pursuing compensation for injuries caused by a truck accident.

    How a Truck Driver Logbook Can Help an Accident Claim

    Federal regulations determine how much time a driver can spend behind the wheel of a large truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces these regulations, known as the hours-of-service rules. To keep track of location and time spent both off and on duty, drivers use a logbook.

    If the driver violates the hours of service rules, the logbook may help prove this. For instance, a trucker carrying property cannot drive more than 11 hours after spending 10 hours off duty, and may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty. If the logbook confirms the driver violated this or other rules, this could help establish that the driver was fatigued and liable for the accident.

    One of the problems with record keeping is that the driver or the trucking company may fabricate or alter the information. This is true whether it's a paper logbook or an electronic onboard recording device. But other types of evidence could help show the length of time a driver was on the road.

    For instance, if the driver had to check in at a particular destination such as a warehouse for unloading, this could help establish a time. Receipts from gas stations and records from a weigh station are other examples that could help prove a violation.

    If you believe that fatigue or other factors indicating truck driver negligence led to a crash, it's important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The trucking company must keep logbooks for a certain period of time. An attorney can help preserve that evidence by sending a letter of spoliation, which prevents them from altering, hiding or destroying relevant records.

    Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for help filing a claim against a trucking company: 304-931-4088.

  • What is a spoliation letter?

    A spoliation letter is one way that both hard copies and electronic evidence in a truck accident case can be preserved. Usually, your attorney will submit this letter to the trucking company, warning it of the legal ramifications for failure to comply.

    How a Spoliation Letter Can Help Protect a Truck Accident Case

    One of the advantages for a truck accident victim is access to evidence that isn’t normally available in a typical passenger car crash. For instance, the personnel file on a truck driver can provide much more information about the individual behind the wheel than you would usually discover. This may include driving history, training, results from alcohol/drug testing and citations.

    Additionally, there could be relevant information surrounding the truck itself -- such as inspection reports -- that show a failure in maintenance. This may reveal faulty equipment was to blame for the accident. Records from the trucking company may illustrate clear violations, for example, when federal driving limits are exceeded or the employer allows an employee without a proper license to operate the truck.

    Although these resources can be critical to a case, they can be tampered with or altered easily. Information might be erased; records could be changed, and documentation might be hidden. This is when a spoliation letter can help preserve evidence. Most of these letters will address specific types of documents that are to be kept intact.

    Importance of Securing Legal Representation for Serious or Fatal Injuries

    Protecting one’s claim and rights is best done with legal help. Truck accident cases can be complicated, with federal laws that may apply and different types of evidence that could help build a strong case. In addition, there are usually significant injuries or a wrongful death. An attorney will help ensure everything is handled in an appropriate and timely manner at The Miley Legal Group. Give us a call today: 304-931-4088.

  • Can I file a claim against both the truck driver and truck company?

    Accident victims may be able to file an injury claim after a truck accident against both the truck driver and company if the truck driver caused the accident. Trucking companies are vicariously liable for their employees’ actions, so if a truck driver is responsible for your accident and resultant injuries and damages, you may pursue a claim against the driver and trucking company.

    Liability of a Truck Driver and Trucking Company after an Accident

    The first thing you must consider is fault. Was the truck driver responsible for the crash? Examples in which this could be the case:

    • impaired driving;
    • distracted driving;
    • violating traffic laws; or
    • driving recklessly or carelessly.

    Generally, when someone’s negligence is the cause of an accident while performing job duties, the employer is also liable. So the next thing is to determine if a trucking company employs the driver. Even if the driver was an independent contractor, though, a trucking company that hired the driver may still be liable, especially if it knew the driver was unqualified or inadequately trained.

    When a Trucking Company May Be Directly Liable

    Generally, a trucking company does not have to be directly negligent itself to be liable for its trucker’s actions. However, in some cases the company is actually negligent as well.

    For example, a trucking company may negligently allow unqualified drivers behind the wheel. A company may also allow a driver to operate a truck that’s not been properly maintained, repaired, or inspected.

    Other Parties May Be Liable

    Finally, other parties might be liable in some cases as well. This might include a truck manufacturer if the truck or a part was defective and led to the accident. It might also include a party charged with repairing the truck if it did not adequately correct the problem and that problem led to the accident.

    Because of the complexity of establishing liability in a truck accident case, accident victims should talk with an attorney about issues pertaining to fault and liability. Don’t delay in seeking legal advice from the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg. Call today at 304-931-4088 or contact us online to set up an appointment.

  • Will I have to go to court to pursue a truck accident claim?

    A truck accident claim may necessitate going to court to reach a fair resolution. If you are unable to reach a settlement with the defendant (often the trucking company), the case will likely go to court.

    Initial Steps to File a Truck Accident Claim

    Initially, a claim is filed with the liable party, which is often with the insurer for the trucking company. An investigation will be conducted to determine fault. At some point, you will need to communicate with the insurance company about the case. But since their interests are with the trucking company, it’s usually a good idea to have an attorney helping protect your rights.

    An attorney can help you gather information and evidence. Your lawyer can also help handle any discussions with the insurer. During this time, the insurance company may decide to offer a settlement. If it’s fair, the claim will be settled. However, if the settlement offered isn’t reasonable, then it may lead to a lawsuit.

    Pursuing a Lawsuit after a Truck Accident

    Going to court generally isn’t the preferable way to resolve a case. But it’s important to note that there is the potential to still agree upon an amount that is fair before a trial begins. Until then, investigations and evidence gathering will continue. Documents will be exchanged and each side may ask and answer questions. This is called the discovery process.

    Of course, if the case cannot be resolved then it will go to trial where a jury or a judge will decide the case. Any verdict will decide not only fault for the accident but how much compensation the injured person is entitled to recover.

    With or without going to court, the process of a truck accident claim can be very complicated. Contact an attorney at The Miley Legal Group for help with an insurance claim and/or lawsuit. Call us at 304-931-4088 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.