Trucking, Car and Truck, Motorcycle, Pedestrian, and Cycling Accidents

Commercial Trucking Accidents

The most catastrophic crashes occur on highways and result from collisions caused by the negligence or reckless conduct of semi-truck drivers, often resulting in extensive injuries and property damage. Commercial truck companies want their drivers on the road as much as possible, to increase deliveries and profits. These companies have incentives to keep drivers on the road and look the other way when their drivers have felony records or use intoxicating substances. To manage this conflict of interest, commercial truck drivers and trucking companies in the United States are required to adhere to regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. These regulations are designed to improve safety on the nation’s roads by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Here are some of the key FMCSA regulations that commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must follow:

Hours of Service Regulations:

To prevent fatigue-related accidents, drivers are restricted in the number of hours they can drive without a break. As of my last update in 2021, drivers carrying goods can drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and drivers carrying passengers can drive up to 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

Commercial Driver’s License Standards:

Drivers must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Obtaining a CDL requires passing knowledge and skills tests related to the type of vehicle to be driven.

Drug and Alcohol Testing:

Drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing, including pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing.

Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection:

Trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure they are in safe operating condition. Drivers must perform pre-trip inspections and report any defects or issues.

Cargo Securement Rules:

Regulations also cover how cargo should be secured to prevent it from shifting or falling off the vehicle, which could cause accidents or damage.

Medical Qualifications:

Drivers must meet certain physical qualification standards and must carry a medical examiner’s certificate to prove they are medically qualified to operate the commercial vehicle.

Transportation of Hazardous Materials:

If a driver is transporting hazardous materials, additional regulations apply, including specific training, vehicle labeling, and route planning requirements.

These regulations help ensure that commercial truck drivers are qualified, well-rested, sober, and driving safe and well-maintained vehicles. Violations of these regulations can lead to penalties for drivers or trucking companies and can be used as evidence of negligence or reckless misconduct in legal proceedings following a truck accident.

Truck drivers operating in New Mexico are subject to both federal and state regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of both the truck driver and other motorists sharing the road.

In addition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, New Mexico has specific requirements for commercial drivers. Some key regulations include:

  1. Vehicle Size and Weight Limits: New Mexico sets limits on the maximum dimensions (length, width, height) and weight of commercial vehicles. These limits can vary based on the type of road (interstate, non-interstate) and the type of vehicle.
  2. Oversize/Overweight Permits: Vehicles that exceed state size and weight limits may be able to operate if they obtain a special permit. This permit often requires drivers to follow specific routes or operate at certain times of day.
  3. CDL Requirements: Like all states, New Mexico requires commercial truck drivers to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). New Mexico has its own CDL manual outlining the knowledge and skills tests required to obtain a CDL.
  4. Alcohol and Drug Rules: New Mexico adheres to federal regulations regarding alcohol and drug testing for commercial drivers, but also imposes state penalties for DUI convictions. A commercial driver in New Mexico can be disqualified from driving for one year for a first DUI conviction.
  5. Insurance Requirements: New Mexico requires commercial vehicles to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. The required amount can vary based on factors such as the weight of the vehicle and whether it transports passengers or hazardous materials.
  6. Inspection Requirements: Commercial vehicles in New Mexico must undergo regular safety inspections. The New Mexico Department of Public Safety’s Motor Transportation Police conduct roadside inspections to ensure compliance with safety standards.

Non-compliance with any of these regulations can result in penalties, including fines and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle. In the event of an accident, violation of regulations can also be considered evidence of negligence or, again, reckless misconduct.

What kind of injuries can result from a truck accident?

Truck accidents, due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles, can result in serious, often catastrophic injuries. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that can result from a truck accident:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): These occur when a blow to the head or a penetrating head injury disrupts normal brain function. They can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, causing long-term cognitive issues, physical impairment, and emotional difficulties.
  2. Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or complete paralysis, potentially resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia. These injuries often require lifelong medical care and assistive devices.
  3. Broken Bones and Fractures: The force exerted in a truck accident can easily break bones. This can lead to simple fractures or more serious compound fractures and may require surgery to correct.
  4. Internal Injuries: These can include damage to organs, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening conditions that often require immediate medical attention.
  5. Burns: If a truck is carrying hazardous materials or if a vehicle catches fire in an accident, victims may suffer from severe burns.
  6. Lacerations and Abrasions: Shattered glass and metal debris can cause deep cuts or scrapes. While not as severe as other listed injuries, they can still lead to significant blood loss, potential infection, or scarring.
  7. Neck and Back Injuries: These can include whiplash, herniated disks, sprains, strains, and other injuries to the soft tissues of the neck and back.
  8. Psychological Trauma: In addition to physical injuries, truck accident victims often experience psychological distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

It’s crucial that anyone involved in a truck accident seek immediate medical attention, even if they feel fine in the immediate aftermath of a crash. Some injuries, such as TBIs and internal injuries, may not present symptoms immediately but can be life-threatening without prompt treatment. Beyond the immediate aftermath, it’s also important for victims to have ongoing medical care and follow-up, as many of these injuries can have long-term effects on one’s quality of life.

Commercial truck drivers typically carry millions of dollars in liability insurance, such that trucking accidents require an experienced lawyer to refer an injured client to the right medical providers who will support the client’s case, and to develop evidence of permanency of the client’s injuries to maximize a settlement. Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP have settled dozens of trucking claims and can assist you in obtaining proper medical treatment for serious injuries as well as in building a case for punitive damages against the trucking company if their driver violated federal and/or state laws or was on the road in excess of travel limitations for truck drivers.

We handle car, truck and ATV crashes.  We are proud to advocate for our clients for accidents of all sizes – from their rear-end accidents to life altering head-on collisions that result in catastrophic, disabling injuries. Read our blog for more information about Motorcycle Accidents

Santa Fe Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

New Mexico, with its diverse landscapes and vibrant communities, places a strong emphasis on pedestrian safety.

When a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian, catastrophic injuries often result. If you have fallen victim to a negligent driver, it is your right to seek accountability for the losses and harm that you have endured.

Frequent Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Many pedestrian accidents arise from careless or reckless driving by motorists. Common causes include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Running red lights or traffic signals
  • Failure to yield at crosswalks
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians in intersections
  • Failure to look when reversing

Common Injuries Resulting from Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents can lead to a range of injuries, varying in severity.  Common injuries associated with pedestrian accidents, include:

  • Fractures/Broken Bones
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Head Injuries/ Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Concussions
  • Back and Spinal Injuries
  • Internal Organ Damage and Bleeding
  • Facial Injuries, Dental Injuries, Lacerations
  • Dislocations
  • Contusions and Bruises
  • Amputations 
  • Psychological Trauma / PTSD

The severity of injuries can vary widely depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicle, the point of impact, and the overall circumstances of the accident. Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, the attorneys at Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP are here to address any questions you may have during a free case review. Here are answers to some common questions:

New Mexico Pedestrian Laws

1. Right of Way

In New Mexico, pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections. Drivers are obligated to yield to pedestrians crossing in marked or unmarked crosswalks. This legal provision aims to prioritize the safety of individuals on foot and reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents.

2. Duty of Care

Motorists in New Mexico are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian on the roadway, regardless of whether the pedestrian had the right of way or not. This includes taking necessary precautions to prevent accidents, especially in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present, such as crosswalks and residential zones.

3. Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian signals and traffic control devices play a vital role in guiding both pedestrians and drivers. Pedestrians are expected to follow pedestrian signals, and drivers must adhere to traffic signals and signs indicating when pedestrians have the right of way.

4. Sidewalk Usage

New Mexico law generally requires pedestrians to use sidewalks when available. If no sidewalk is present, pedestrians are expected to walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. This enables pedestrians to see oncoming vehicles and take evasive action if necessary.

5. Crosswalk Safety

Crosswalks are designated areas for pedestrians to cross roadways safely. Drivers must exercise caution and yield to pedestrians within crosswalks. Pedestrians should use crosswalks when available, and when crossing at intersections, they should follow traffic signals and signs.

6. School Zones and Yielding

School zones are areas where heightened caution is essential. Drivers must adhere to reduced speed limits and exercise extra care in these zones. Yielding to pedestrians, especially children, is a crucial aspect of ensuring safety around schools and residential areas.

7. Comparative Negligence

New Mexico follows a comparative negligence system, allowing for the determination of fault in accidents. In cases of pedestrian accidents, if both parties share some degree of fault, the compensation may be adjusted accordingly. Seeking legal advice is essential for understanding how comparative negligence may apply to a specific case.

How do I file a pedestrian accident claim?

The process typically commences with filing a claim for compensation with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurer after filing the claim to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may proceed to file a lawsuit in court to pursue the full payment you deserve.

How long does it take to settle a pedestrian accident claim?

Several factors can influence the time it takes to reach a settlement in a pedestrian accident claim. If the at-fault party accepts liability and your injuries are promptly treated, a settlement might be reached within a few months. However, contested liability or significant financial losses can extend the process, and for complex cases, settlements may take years.

Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP Specializes in Pedestrian Accidents

When a pedestrian accident occurs, victims may face medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost quality and enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. In the unfortunate event of a pedestrian accident, seeking legal counsel ensures that victims can navigate the legal process effectively and pursue rightful compensation.

At Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP in Santa Fe, hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer comes with no upfront fees. Operating on a contingency fee basis, our firm only charges when we successfully secure compensation for your injuries. The fees include an agreed-upon percentage of the total recovery. We pride ourselves on a proven track record in pedestrian injury cases, securing millions in compensation for victims of auto vs. pedestrian accidents. We provide comprehensive advocacy to optimize the value of your case.

Contact Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP for a free consultation. The firm’s experienced litigation and trial attorneys are prepared to leverage their skills to secure the best possible outcome for you.

What to Do After a Bike Accident?

Seek prompt medical attention, call the police, and document the scene in case of a bicycle collision. Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP in Santa Fe assists victims in recovering damages, offering free case evaluations.

What Insurance Covers Bicycle Accidents in New Mexico?

New Mexico provides insurance options for bicycle accidents, including auto liability, health, and homeowners’ coverage. Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP offers expert legal support. Call 505-982-5380 for a free consultation. Pedal with confidence!

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident to Get Compensation for Injuries or Wrongful Death?

Motorcycles, 3% of vehicles, cause 14% of US traffic fatalities. Helmet use affects trends. Follow a guide for fair compensation after an accident. Turn to Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP for expert legal assistance in New Mexico.

Santa Fe Bicycle Accident Lawyers

In the unfortunate event of a bicycle collision with a negligent driver of a motor vehicle resulting in injuries, the assistance of an experienced Santa Fe bicycle accident lawyer is crucial. This legal support is the most effective way to navigate insurance complexities, ensuring that you have the best chance to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. The personal injury lawyers at Prince, Schmidt, Baca & Woods, LLP in Santa Fe are dedicated to helping you build a strong case and safeguard your rights.

Bicycle Accident Statistics in New Mexico

According to The New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Report for 2020:

  • 266 bicycle accidents occurred
  • Approximately 105 accidents had suspected minor injuries, with 8 fatal crashes
  • About 72% of accidents occurred during the day, while 11% happened at night
  • Common causes included failure to yield and driver inattention from negligent drivers

Common Injuries in Santa Fe Bicycle Crashes

Following a bike crash, individuals may suffer severe injuries, including but not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Spinal injuries
  • Neck injuries or whiplash
  • Skull fractures or brain injuries
  • Shock and emotional trauma
  • Internal bleeding

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