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What Information About the Truck Involved in Your Accident Should you Collect From the Scene of the Accident?

What Information About the Truck Involved in Your Accident Should you Collect From the Scene of the Accident?

Part 8 in an 8-Part Summary of Trucking Regulations…  

FMCSA Reg. re vehicle markings

One of the most fundamental pieces of information any trucking accident attorney must know before he can bring a claim on behalf of his injured client is what parties to name in the lawsuit, and/or what persons or entities to call as witnesses or to gather information from as part of the lawsuit. One of the best places to get some of this information is on the informational markings on the truck(s) involved in the accident itself.

As prescribed in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Rule 390.19 the following information must be displayed on an official marker on each commercial vehicle:

  • The legal name or a single trade name of the motor carrier operating the commercial vehicle;
  • The identification number issued by FMCSA to the commercial vehicle preceded by the letters “USDOT.”

Every commercial carrier company is required to provide an informational filing to the FMCSA for each vehicle that operates under its authority. This information in the vehicle marking will enable you to begin the process of determining what claims maybe brought against which entities and ultimately where the liability flows in your case.

To aid this identification process the FMCSA also lays out very specific instructions about how these informational markings must be displayed. FMCSA Rule specifies that such informational markings must:

  • Appear on both sides of the self-propelled commercial motor vehicle;
  • Be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed;
  • Be readily legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet (15.24 meters) while the commercial vehicle is stationary;
  • Be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility.

Being aware of these general requirements for the display of information allows you to
be prepared for the worst in situations involving commercial trucks. When confronted with accident situations when stress and shock can easily cloud and confuse the situation trying to stay calm and collect as much information as possible is always a wise course of action.

This preparedness to gather critical information can be even more important in serious incidents such as hit and run accidents, or side swipes, where your own information gathering may be the only informational link you have to a commercial vehicle. In those cases knowing where to look and what information to write down, to the extent possible in such situations, not only provides to first clues toward liability but the most tangible links to the assailants themselves.

– Back to Part 7

Starr Austen and Miller, specialized truck accident lawyers in Indiana, focus on representing individuals and their family members in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those often involved in Indiana truck accidents. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident you can contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.