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Stopped Trucks / Shoulder of Road Wrecks

Albuquerque Attorney Assisting Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents

It is not uncommon to see a tractor-trailer stopped on the side of the road. Truck drivers who park their trucks on the shoulder of a road must take certain steps to maintain the safety of other people on the road, however, and if they fail to do so, they should be held accountable for any harm that they cause. If you suffered injuries in a shoulder of road wreck involving a stopped truck, you should speak to an attorney about your legal options. Albuquerque truck accident lawyer Matthew Vance is devoted to helping victims pursue damages. He was raised in Santa Fe and has lived in New Mexico throughout his life. Mr. Vance’s ample skill in handling personal injury lawsuits has made it possible for him to obtain many verdicts and settlements for his clients that are in the range of hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars.

Laws Regarding Stopped Trucks on the Shoulder of the Road

Commercial trucks not only pose a threat of harm to other people on the road, but also can create dangerous situations when they are stopped on the shoulder. Typically, all motorists are prohibited from stopping on the shoulder of a road, except in emergency situations. It is not uncommon, however, to see a truck stopped on the side of the road for long periods of time. Drivers often stop so that they can rest or take a break from driving, instead of using a designated rest area. Even if a truck is lawfully stopped on a shoulder, the driver may be responsible for harm sustained in a subsequent accident if he or she did not abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations. The regulations establish what drivers who stop their trucks on the side of the road must do to reduce the likelihood of an accident. Specifically, a driver must immediately activate the truck’s flashing hazard warning signals and place warning devices within a specified range around the truck. The range required will vary depending on whether the truck is near a curve, hill, or other obstruction. At nighttime or during inclement weather, such warning devices or lights can become even more critical to provide warning to others that the truck is stopped or standing on or near the roadway. As the danger increases, so too does the amount of care that must be exercised by the professional driver and trucking company.

If a motorist collides with a truck that is stopped on the shoulder in violation of a state or local law or a regulation, the driver of the truck may be held liable for any harm caused by the shoulder of road wreck. Generally, the plaintiff in a lawsuit arising from a truck accident will allege a negligence claim against the driver of the truck, arguing that the accident arose out of the truck driver's breach of a duty and that the breach caused the accident and any harm that ensued. If the driver violated a law or ordinance, the plaintiff may also set forth a negligence per se claim, essentially asserting that the driver is negligent as a matter of law. If the driver was working for a trucking company at the time of the accident, the plaintiff may also allege claims against the company under the doctrine of vicarious liability. This doctrine is somewhat complex in New Mexico, so you should consult an experienced attorney who can analyze whether it may apply.

Claims may also be brought directly against the trucking company if the company was negligent in its hiring, training, supervision or retention of the driver. Depending on the company policies or practices, there may also be additional claims brought against the trucking company directly. Trucking companies, through their management practices, can reduce the likelihood or need for drivers to stop or park on the side of the roadway. Tractor and trailer units stopped on the side of a busy highway or road can be a real danger to the vehicles moving on the roadway by obstructing the view, drawing attention away from the roadway, or simply being an obstacle in an emergency. For example, trucking companies can reduce the risk by implementing policies and practice guidelines, which tell their drivers that the company does not allow stopping or parking on the side of the highway. Further, the company can provide route planning, trip planning, and dispatch support to drivers, which will eliminate or reduce need for drivers to stop or park on the side of the road or interstate. Finally, a reasonable maintenance program for vehicles will reduce or eliminate mechanical issues, which could cause a driver to stop or park on the shoulder of the road or side of the freeway. The trucking companies that put drivers on the road with us have their own responsibilities under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations to make sure the drivers are safe and the vehicle are safe before they go out on the road and while they are on the highway.

Meet with a Proficient Personal Injury Attorney in Albuquerque

If you sustained injuries in a trucking accident involving a stopped truck or rig, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your right to pursue compensation. Matthew Vance is a trusted personal injury lawyer who will zealously advocate on your behalf to help you seek the full amount of damages that you may be able to recover. Before working as a plaintiffs’ attorney, Mr. Vance practiced in the field of insurance defense, which helps him foresee the arguments that his opponents will set forth and how they will evaluate your case. Mr. Vance has an office in Albuquerque, and he also represents people in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Farmington, Taos, Los Alamos, Raton, Silver City, Gallup, Belen, Grants, Rio Rancho, Socorro, Los Lunas, Truth or Consequences, Deming, Clovis, Espanola, Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Alamogordo, and Bloomfield. You can contact Mr. Vance at (505) 242-6267 or through the form online to schedule a confidential and free meeting to discuss a shoulder of road wreck.