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Understanding the impact of federal trucking regulations


Even the slightest change of circumstances can make a big difference when it comes to the eyes of the law. For instance, with motor vehicle accidents, it may initially seem as though all accidents are the same or similar. Yet, differences in the drivers and vehicles involved, among other things, can play a huge role in a later lawsuit brought by those injured in the accident against the negligent driver.

One major distinction is between car accidents and trucking accidents. Every driver is bound by the rules of the road, such as not speeding or driving under the influence. However, truck drivers face a great deal of additional regulations that do not apply to average drivers, and these regulations can be very important if a person is injured due to the negligence of a truck driver.

Under the federal trucking regulations, a number of rules and procedures were established in order to protect the public. These rules can impact the determination of who to sue in a personal injury lawsuit, and what theories might be at issue in that lawsuit.

For example, the trucking regulations broadly define an employee of a trucking company to include independent contractors. This represents a shift from traditional law, which separates employees and independent contractors. The effect of the broad definition that includes independent contractors under the definition of an employee is to provide more liable parties for injured parties to hold accountable. In other words, while a person or entity might have previously been considered to be an independent contractor not connected to a trucking company, these distinctions are minimized under the trucking regulations, such that liability might now be found.

Ultimately, individuals who are injured in a trucking accident should understand that the federal trucking regulations may impact the case. By understanding these differences, individuals can best position themselves in a lawsuit and have the greatest chance of receiving maximum compensation for their injuries.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; general," accessed on Oct. 31, 2014

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