Truck Accident Glossary of Terms
If you're one of the thousands of people injured in truck accidents every year, you will encounter many legal terms that are unique to cases involving the trucking industry as well as terms used in other personal injury cases. There are many federal and state laws governing truck operation that influence what kind of compensation you are entitled to. Here are a few common terms in truck accident litigation.
Economic Damages: Financial settlements that cover income lost as a result of missed work, future wages, and medical expenses. If a death resulted from the accident, a truck accident lawyer can also seek damages to pay for funerals or a loss of consortium.
FMCSA: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a separate organization created within the United States Department of Transportation, on January 1, 2000. The agency was formed out of the statutes of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 and is tasked with maximizing the safety of commercial motor vehicles.
Hours of Service Rules: Federal limits as to how many hours truck drivers can operate on the roads.
Loss of Consortium: The loss of ability to provide for a spouse or partner personally or financially, as well as the loss of services of a family member to other members of the family, as a result of an accident. Physical injuries, emotional problems, loss of enjoyment, changes in marital life, and changes in household responsibilities following an accident are included.
Negligence: Fault on the part of a driver or trucking company that results in the accident. A company can be negligent for not spotting a defective part; a driver can be deemed negligent due to driving under the influence, disobeying hours of service rules, or driving unsafely.
NHTSA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970, the NHTSA directs highway safety and consumer programs established in 1966 and 1972. The agency strives to prevent motor vehicle crashes and maximize motor vehicle and highway safety.
Non-Economic Damages: Damages sought for suffering and pain, mental anguish, or a loss of enjoyment in life. These can also include punitive damages meant to punish the truck driver at fault.
Punitive Damage: A sum of money sought as a means to punish the defendant. Especially attainable in cases of drunk driving, driving under the influence, and reckless driving, a punitive damage aims to teach a lesson and can recover costs to compensate for mental stress.
Statute of Limitations: A time limit in which a truck accident victim has to file a claim. The deadline for filing a claim can be different for each state.
Truck Accident Lawyer: A legal professional experienced in the laws, procedures, and information regarding truck accident litigation. Such an attorney should be summoned as soon as a truck accident occurs in order to counter any claims against the victim by the trucking company.
Trucking Logs: A truck driver's log book that can be used as evidence as to whether the driver violated any laws such as hours of service rules. A court order must be used to access these logs, but they provide key evidence to prove liability in a truck accident case.
Wrongful Death: The death of a person that results from the negligence or fault of another person. It is important to seek a lawyer experienced in this field for a family to be compensated adequately for the loss, as determining damages is complicated in such cases.
U.S Department of Transportation, "Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration", http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ (accessed March 15, 2011).
Legalinfo.com, "Truck Accident Settlements", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/truck-accidents/truck-accident-settlements.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
Legalinfo.com, "The Basics of Personal Injury Law", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/personal-injury/the-basics-of-personal-injury-law.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
Legalinfo.com, "What Can I Be Reimbursed For If I Am In A Truck Accident", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/truck-accidents/what-can-i-be-reimbursed-for-if-i-am-injured-in-a-truck-accident.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
AllAboutCarAccidents.com, "Deposition Questions to Prove Loss of Consortium", http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/auto-accident/car-accident-claims/deposition-questions-to-prove-loss-consortium (accessed March 15, 2011).
Legalinfo.com, "Truck Accidents Legal Guide Section Overview", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/truck-accidents/truck-accidents-legal-guide-section-overview.html (accessed March 15, 2011).
NHTSA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, http://www.nhtsa.gov (accessed March 15, 2011).
Legalinfo.com, "Truck Accident Laws", http://www.legalinfo.com/content/truck-accidents/truck-accident-laws.html (accessed March 15, 2011).