It happened. You hit a disabled truck on the side of the highway. The truck was not moving and it was off to the side of the highway. Even though it was a large semi tractor trailer, it was dark out and you absolutely did not see the truck until it was too late. As a result, you were seriously injured and have severe, debilitating, and permanent injuries. The truck driver and trucking company yelled at you, and the insurance company is blaming you for the New Mexico trucking accident. You are not sure what to do and whether you should call an Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer to help you. You may be embarrassed or scared.
But you are not alone! Here at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys, we know that this very scenario happens more often than you will want to believe. Our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer has handled many cases where motorists hit stopped or disabled 18 wheelers on the side of the road, including at night or during dust storms. We know how to work with the evidence and the law, particularly the federal FMCSA regulations, to prove how the truck driver and trucking company caused the accident-even if you hit them. Call our law firm to learn more by dialing (505) 883-5000.
As you may have learned in driver’s education class or from experience, a motorist who hits a parked vehicle is most likely at fault. However, that is not always completely true. In certain instances, a disabled vehicle actually may be more at fault for the motor vehicle crash than the moving vehicle. This is particularly true in New Mexico trucking accidents involving large big rigs, 18 wheelers, semi tractor trailers, and other large commercial vehicles.
This is because there are federal regulations which govern the conduct of large commercial vehicles. These are created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. These FMCSA regulations specifically govern emergency signals for stopped commercial vehicles under section 392.22, which creates a two step rule. The first requires hazard flashers, the second requires actual warning devices (like cones or other signs).
First, subdivision (a) provides the following:
“Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.” This is the regular flashing lights that a disabled vehicle must normally use, also known has hazards. As you will notice, subdivision (a) must be used no matter what, and other methods cannot be used instead of these flashing hazards.”
Second, subdivision (b) provides the following:
“Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by §393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:
(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic;
(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.”
This section further requires additional warning signs to drivers approaching the vehicle to be aware and vigilant of the disabled tractor trailer to avoid another motorist colliding with the parked vehicle. If the truck driver does not put these warning signs out, it could result in a New Mexico trucking accident due to the truck driver’s violation of the FMCSA regulation.
A regulatory violation by a truck driver is evidence of negligence that a personal injury victim may use to help his or her claim. If you or a loved one were seriously injured by colliding with a disabled 18 wheeler in a New Mexico trucking accident that violated the section above, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This is even if you drove into the disabled truck. While you may have some comparative fault in contributing to the accident, it will not bar you from recovering compensation for your injuries. This means that you may still be entitled to have your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages paid for, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.
Call to schedule a FREE appointment with our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident lawyer to learn what we can do for you. We handle cases throughout New Mexico, including in Lordsburg, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell, or anywhere else. Call the NM Truck Accident Attorneys by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn how we can help. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.