Accidents involving semi-trucks, tankers, and 18-wheelers can result in severe injuries. If you've been injured in an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle, CSA violations may support your claim of negligence. Working with an attorney to gather this evidence can help protect your right to compensation for accident-related damages.
Common Types of CSA Violations
Truck drivers are required by law to abide by the standards of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. Violations can be issued for failing to follow this program's specific safety guidelines.
The most common CSA violations are:
- Lighting violations. This includes citations for missing reflector tape, missing reflectors, and/or broken lights. These violations can be relevant because they impair the driver's ability to see, as well as the ability of other motorists to see a commercial motor vehicle on the road at night or in poor weather conditions.
- Brake violations. Faulty or malfunctioning brakes make it impossible to stop a commercial motor vehicle in time to prevent an accident. This places everyone on the road at risk.
- Violations for bad tires. Worn out or incorrectly sized tires can cause blowouts, loss of traction, or difficulty steering. This may lead to dangerous or deadly collisions. Drivers are supposed to check tire tread depth as a standard part of the pre- and post-shift inspection.
- Medical violations. Violations for medical issues can mean that a driver is operating his vehicle while he is physically too ill to drive, which places his judgement and reaction time at risk.
- Violations for an inability to speak English. The CSA program mandates that all truck drivers be proficient in English, so they can answer questions and complete the appropriate inspection paperwork. This may not directly support a claim for negligence but could suggest that a company is not hiring drivers who are properly trained.
- Log book violations. Don't dismiss log violations as a technicality. Drivers may fudge log books when they are being pressured to drive long hours with insufficient sleep. A drowsy driver is an accident waiting to happen.
CSA violations can result in fines, license suspension, or license revocation. Trucking companies that violate CSA rules can also face sanctions if they allowed drivers to work more than 11 hours per shift or ignored maintenance problems.
Using Violations as Evidence in Your Personal Injury Claim
CSA violations aren't normally a matter of public record, but an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to have violations admitted as evidence in your case.
Violations won't be enough to win your case on their own, but they can be supported by witness testimony, pictures from the accident scene, vehicle damage reports, surveillance video, and other types of corroborating evidence.
Repeated violations may show that a carrier knew of a safety issue and did not take the necessary steps to correct the problem. Showing that a trucking company is pressuring drivers to exceed hours-of-service limits, neglecting maintenance issues, or ignoring dangerous behavior can be a persuasive tactic if a case makes it to a jury trial.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
A personal injury claim from a truck accident can include compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses related to the accident, including emergency care, hospital stays, and follow-up appointments
- Anticipated future medical expenses, if you've been left with a permanent disability from the accident
- Lost wages from the time you were unable to work due to your injuries
- Anticipated loss of future earning potential, if you've been left with a disability that will limit your ability to return to work
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
An experienced personal injury attorney can protect your right to compensation by gathering evidence, locating expert witnesses, documenting damages, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. This will allow you to direct your attention to recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault has extensive experience handling personal injury claims for Louisiana residents. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free case review.