West Virginia is considered an important trucking hub in the United States. According to a recent report, there are approximately 34,410 jobs in the trucking industry in West Virginia, or one out of 16 in the state. Recent reports show that the trucking industry in West Virginia paid approximately $246 million in federal and state roadway taxes and fees – 37% of all taxes and fees owed by West Virginia motorists, despite trucks representing only 15% of vehicle miles traveled in the state. On average, a typical five-axle tractor semi-trailer combination paid $8,357 in state highway user fees and taxes in addition to $8,906 in federal user fees and taxes over and above the typical taxes paid by businesses in West Virginia.
Given the extensive truck traffic in West Virginia, it is important that drivers understand the implications involved in getting in an accident involving a truck. For instance, a truck is not actually owned by the transportation company, but rather is leased through a third party truck leasing company. The truck driver may be an employee of the trucking company or an independent contractor. In West Virginia trucks are required to have special permits from the West Virginia Department of Transportation, along with trucking registration. Additionally, pursuant to U.S. Department of Transportation requirements, any company that operates a commercial vehicle transporting cargo in interstate commerce must be registered and licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and must have a United States Department of Transportation Number (DOT Number). In terms of insurance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also requires that trucks meet certain insurance requirements including public liability insurance that covers bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration.
As a result, if a driver gets in an accident with a truck, it is important that the driver treats the accident as a something more significant than a typical car accident and obtains as much information as possible including the identification of the truck’s owner, the driver’s name, the DOT number, and DOT based insurance information. Obtaining the appropriate information when involved in an accident involving a truck can make all the difference in terms of filing a proper insurance claim, obtaining recovery, and asserting accident liability. This information is easier to obtain at the point of accident as opposed to later on.
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If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident involving a truck or a semi-truck, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law can fully evaluate your claims involving truck accidents and provide you the legal representation you require.