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What is a DOT Recordable Accident?

Blue and White Semi Truck on Highway

It is very important that you take the necessary steps after being involved in a truck accident. In certain circumstances, the accident will be considered a DOT recordable accident. Our attorneys have been dealing with victims who have been involved in DOT  recordable accidents for decades, and we understand the difficulty of the legal process and the frustration accident victims must be in when looking for an attorney with experience.

A truck accident, especially if it involves a heavy vehicle, could cause very severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc. However, other than filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party, other requirements must also be fulfilled.

Our attorneys offer free no risk consultations where we will discuss how your DOT accident will proceed in court. For more information, contact our car accident attorneys today to schedule a consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist our clients and to answer any questions that they may have.

The United States Department of Transportation is in charge of monitoring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also known as the FMSCA. They are responsible for making sure that all the safety protocols are followed, and the number of truck accidents are reduced on the roads. There are specific rules and regulations that those who are employed by trucking companies must follow. Essentially, the DOT system is a way to monitor drivers and their employers who are involved in several car accidents while driving on the road. For example, if you had been fined with a speeding violation, you may get a point on your record. But, The DOT system is specifically for commercial drivers, such as trucking companies.

Which vehicles fall under the DOT requirement?

You must file the record with the DOT if your accident involves any of the below vehicles.

  • A vehicle that weighs 26,000 pounds or more that is involved in intrastate driving. This means that the truck drives between one state.
  • A vehicle that weighs 10,000 pounds or more that is involved in interstate driving. This means that the truck will be driving from state-to-state.
  • Vehicles that transport more than 15 people at a time
  • Vehicles that transport hazardous materials

A DOT accident is spelled out more in detail under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, under Section 390.15. If the accident includes any of the below circumstances, it must be recorded and documented:

  • Fatalities
  • Bodily injuries that required medical attention immediately
  • A vehicle was towed from the scene of the accident

All truck accident records are kept by the department for at least 3 years. Regardless of who was at fault, all accidents that involve the above factors must be recorded.

What should I include in my DOT accident records?

When you are recording your accident in the accident register, you must include:

  • When the accident occurred
  • Where the accident occurred (be specific and mention the city, along with the cross streets)
  • The drivers involved in the accident
  • What injuries each party sustained after the accident
  • If there were any fatalities from the accident
  • Whether there was a spill of any hazardous material
  • Any accident reports prepared by the police after the accident

What happens after I file a DOT report?

The DOT will use this information to create yearly statistics and to look into the trucking company to determine how often they have been involved in the accident. For example, if they had been involved in previous accidents, they will face a penalty by the federal government.

Will the DOT determine who’s at fault in an accident?

The Department of Transportation does not take into consideration liability and who may be considered at fault for the accident. Their number one priority is instead to have the accident documented.

Why do I have to file my information with the DOT?

The DOT uses car accident records to determine the frequency of accidents that occur on the roads. Not only do they look at the numbers on a large-scale basis and compile national truck accident statistics, they also view the accident frequency with every common carrier in the country. For example, if it was found that a trucking company has been involved in several frequent accidents, the DOT  will investigate the accident, and determine what safety measures the trucking company could take.

There’s a specific formula that the FMCSA uses when determining the frequency of the accidents. Each common carrier is rated through the frequency of their accidents. For example, trucking companies that have been involved in numerous accidents could be rated as “ unsatisfactory.” When a carrier is categorized as unsatisfactory, they could face potential fines, probation, and jail time depending on the circumstances of the accident.  Oftentimes, the FMCSA may even give a probationary period to a common carrier to enact safety regulations to prevent truck accidents.

Why should I file a DOT record against the trucking company?

  • The department of transportation makes it mandatory to have every truck accident recorded that involves a common carrier. Failing to file a truck accident record may result in fines.
  • Filing a record with the DOT could hold the trucking company liable and could reduce their safety ratings. This could later impact their insurance.
  • Filing an accident against the trucking company could hold them liable under the federal government and could prevent other victims from being involved in future truck accidents by the same company.

Have you been involved in a trucking accident? Call us today.

Our experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the DOT records you must file after an accident. We know that this may seem a bit complex, especially with all these terms being thrown around. We want to make sure that you file your car accident records correctly to prevent any liability on your part. Contact us today to see how we can help you file the record, along with file a civil claim against the common carrier for the injuries you have sustained.

We understand that accidents can take place in several different ways, from bike accidents to pedestrian accidents. We provide individualized attention to each accident because each different type of accident has necessary steps to take. With a truck accident, you may find yourself having to file a DOT record.

In order to get the justice you deserve, a DOT record will be able to hold the trucking company responsible under a safety standpoint. For example, the trucking company could face serious fines and restrictions if they have been involved in several accidents within a specified year. This is different from filing a civil lawsuit against the trucking company. You will still be able to file a civil lawsuit against the trucking company despite the fact that you have filed a DOT  claim. For more information on the next steps to take, contact our top-rated truck accident attorneys today to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve. We always want to make sure that our clients are well taken care of, and they receive the compensation they deserve. Filing a record with the DOT  is one of the requirements you must fulfill after being involved in an accident. Let us help you.

***Disclaimer: The content of this webpage, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended solely for educational purposes. While it endeavors to provide a general understanding of the law, it should not be construed as specific legal advice. Accessing and reading this site does not establish an attorney-client relationship with any member of Heidari Law. Furthermore, please be aware that the legal landscape is constantly evolving, potentially rendering some information outdated or inapplicable.

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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