Mandatory Rest Periods for California Truck Drivers

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 3.11.02 PM.pngMany teen drivers get into minor car accidents in the first few months of having a driver’s license. Whether it is hitting a neighbor’s mailbox or a fender-bender in a parking lot, it usually does not take much to convince new drivers to be more careful. In fact, the early mishaps usually result in no lasting damage except, perhaps, higher car insurance premiums for a while. When it comes to accidents involving trucks, however, there is almost no such thing as a “no big deal” truck accident.  They often result in serious personal injuries and expensive damage to property.

Thus, driving a truck is serious business from the beginning. No one lets a 16-year-old get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and take a ride around town just to get a taste of adult freedom. Commercial trucks weigh multiple tons even when they are empty. Their extraordinary length, width, height, and weight mean that driving one requires vigilance at all times. Thus, the training required before you can even get a license to drive a truck is quite rigorous. There are rules guiding every aspect of the profession of truck driving. If you are injured in an accident involving a truck, ask yourself if the driver was in compliance with these important safety rules.

California’s Rest Period Rules May Become Less Strict

It is dangerous enough to drive a car when you are too tired to concentrate; imagine how dangerous it is to drive a truck in such a state. Federal law dictates that truck drivers cannot drive more than 14 hours in a workday, and they cannot drive more than 11 straight hours without taking a break. They must take a 30-minute break for a meal before they have completed eight hours of work that day. They must rest for at least 10 hours after finishing one workday and before starting the next one. Furthermore, California law requires drivers to take a 30-minute break sometime during the first five hours of their shift, and beyond that, a break of at least 10 minutes at least once every four hours.

In the summer of 2017, the California legislature began considering a bill which would nullify the stricter California rules about rest periods and just require truck drivers to abide by the federal regulations. Supporters of the bill say that it will help drivers reach their destinations more quickly, thus being more productive. The bill’s opponents say that it will make California’s roads less safe.  The strict regulations about truckers stopping to rest have been a source of debate for years, with many bills regarding just how often truck drivers should be required to rest having been introduced in the legislature in the past decade. The fact remains that rest is essential for safe driving.

Contact Case Barnett if You Were Injured in an Accident

If you suffered injuries because of an accident involving a truck, it is worthwhile to investigate whether the truck driver was in compliance with all the regulations. Rest periods are just one of the many rules truck drivers must follow. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California for a consultation about a personal injury case.

After a Car Accident, Should You Call a Lawyer or Just Your Insurance Company?

04.pngAt this very moment, you probably have a copy of your car insurance card inside the glove box of your car. If you are involved in a collision, you probably call your insurance company to report the claim even before the police arrive on the scene to make a police report. It is usually the first call you make, before you even call close family members to let them know that you were in a car accident but that it was not any worse than it was. With minor accidents, that is usually all there is to it. If your car is still drivable, you probably just go on with your day. You make any repairs you need to make to your car, and then you wait to hear from your insurance company about how much they will reimburse you. With more serious accidents, though, and if there is a major dispute over who is at fault for the accident, you may need the help of a personal injury lawyer.

Getting a Settlement Offer from Your Insurance Company

A big part of what insurance companies do is determine which party bears what portion of the responsibility for each accident and how much the insurance company should pay you to cover expenses related to the accident. To get the best settlement offer you can, give the insurance company as much evidence as you can that the accident was not your fault. This evidence can take the form of your verbal statement that you give them on the phone as soon as the accident happens. You should also send them pictures of the place where the accident happened and of any damage to your vehicle. They will also consider the police report and any evidence or statements submitted by the other driver.

Once they have examined the evidence, they will send you a settlement offer. If no one was injured in the accident, the settlement will just be to offset the cost of car repairs. If you were injured, it may cover your medical bills related to the accident. The settlement might also cover pain and suffering or anticipated medical costs for long-term injuries related to the accident.  Once you accept the settlement offer, you no longer have a case for a personal injury lawsuit.  The time to contact a lawyer is before you sign to accept the settlement offer.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer can Help

If you have been injured in a car accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover economic and non-economic damages. In other words, money you receive in a lawsuit settlement or a judge’s decision can help you recover much of the money you have lost because of the accident. This is especially important if your injuries are so serious that you have to miss work for a long time. You can receive compensation both for future medical bills and for lost income.

For More Information Download Our Free Book 

Download our free book, The 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Accident Claim, to learn more about the steps you can take right now to protect your claim. Avoiding these mistakes could save you thousands of dollars.

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Contact Case Barnett About Car Accident Lawsuits

Even if the settlement the insurance company offers you looks reasonable, it is a good idea to have a lawyer review it before you sign. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California for advice before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company.