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Vehicle Accidents Archives

General Qualifications for a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver

Common types of commercial motor vehicles include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations (doubles and triples), buses, tanker vehicles, dump trucks, and passenger vans.  Being involved in a crash with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is extremely frightening and may cause serious injuries or death.  Of course, because a CMV is much larger and heavier than the majority of vehicles on the highway, the damage and mayhem they cause in a crash is immense.


In Montana, it's the law to slow down and move over when you see the lights of a stationary emergency, towing or maintenance vehicle.  The move over law is required to be observed on all Montana roadways open to the public.  When unable to move over, you are required to slow down by at least 20 mph.  Not only is this the law, but taking these simple steps could save a life and it is your moral responsibility as a driver on Montana's roadways to move over.  The lives of emergency and road assistance workers are put on the line to do their jobs and they depend on motorists paying attention, slowing down, and moving over.  Emergency scenes are complicated and there is always more going on than other motorists on the road can see or appreciate.  For example, officers, fire, and EMS personnel may be tending to injured people, communicating with other emergency responders, assessing injuries, and controlling the scene, among other duties.  These responders don't have time to have to continuously look over their shoulders to stay safe.  Move over and slow down. It's the law. 

Blizzard Conditions Don't Excuse Bad Driving

The Montana legislature repealed the old "basic rule" speed statute in 1999. The relevant part of the statute now reads:

Subject to the maximum speed limits set forth in subsection (1), a person shall operate a vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a reduced rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of traffic, visibility, weather, and roadway conditions.

Mont. Code Ann. § 61-8-303(3)(emphasis added). In other words, you can never legally drive faster than the posted limit but sometimes the law may require you to drive slower.

Safety Violations of an At-Fault Semi Truck Company

david-small.jpgIf you have been involved in a semi truck accident, the big rig driver and the trucking company may very well have violated safety rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA regulations are direct factors in most collisions caused by semi truck drivers.

How to Beat the Colossus

If you have been involved in an automobile collision where another person is at-fault their insurance company may use a computer program known as Colossus to evaluate your claim.  Many insurance companies including Allstate, Farmers, The Hartford, Travelers, USAA, Zurich, Ohio Casualty, Metropolitan, and Aetna use Colossus. Colossus was first licensed by Allstate as a way to standardize claims and to save money on claims payments.  Colossus also identifies lawyers who file lawsuits and will litigate your case and conversely those who are known to settle claims for the best offer insurance companies give.  Colossus attributes a higher value to your claim when you are represented by a lawyer who is experienced and who will proceed with litigation on your behalf when an insurance company is unwilling to fairly resolve your claim.  At Paoli Law Firm we do exactly that for our clients.

Safety Violations of an At-Fault Semi Truck Company

If you have been involved in a semi truck accident, the big rig driver and the trucking company may very well have violated safety rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Violations of FMCSA regulations are direct factors in most collisions caused by semi truck drivers. Not all trucking companies and truck drivers are unsafe and negligent. Unfortunately, some semi truck drivers and companies break the rules. Other drivers on the roadway then fall victim to these rule violations, unsafe practices, and negligence. If this happens, Paoli Kutzman can help you. Trucking companies often boast about their dedication to getting shipments and packages to their destinations by strict deadlines. For example, a FedEx Ground full page ad in USA Today on November 28 showed a photo of a pleasant-looking gentleman in a FedEx uniform.  The ad said, "We'd like to thank our 300,000 team members for being there every step of the way this holiday season." This ad came just months after a FedEx truck crashed into a tour bus in Southern California filled with high school students, leaving 10 dead and 30 injured.  The ad came just 8 days after a bicyclist died after a collision with a FedEx truck in Oregon. On FedEx's busiest shipping day of the year (December 15), a FedEx truck overturned in New Jersey after the driver lost control of the double-trailer.  (FedEx officials say company crews got to the scene shortly after the crash and quickly reloaded packages to help reduce possible delivery delays.)  On December 16 another FedEx truck driver hauling double trailers lost control after his second trailer became loose. His truck veered across the interstate and hit the median.  Both of the December crashes reportedly resulted in injuries. If you've driven on the interstate or highways you've likely seen first hand that there are some truck drivers and trucking companies whose dedication to meeting deadlines can scary and incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, to save time and money, these drivers and trucking companies overlook or deliberately ignore the rules and the safety of other drivers on the roadway to get their cargo to its destination as quickly and cheaply as possible. This fixation on the bottom line too often results in trucking companies hiring drivers who are not adequately trained or qualified, and then working them on tight deadlines in unsafe truck and trailer combinations. The semi drivers are under pressure to meet these unrealistic deadlines and often lack proper training or knowledge of the FMCSA regulations.  This is a recipe for disaster. Some of the most common FMCSA violations include driver fatigue (exceeding hours of service), speeding, operating unsafe vehicles, driving recklessly in dangerous weather, distracted driving, and defective or worn tires and brakes. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision caused by a semi-truck driver you have very likely suffered significant injuries and damages. The semi truck driver and trucking company's actions (or lack thereof) may be part of an ongoing pattern of safety violations. We can find out for you whether the trucking company has a history of safety violations. Information we can gather about the trucking company that caused your injuries includes:

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