Category: Blog

Truck Accident Attorneys – 18 Wheeler Crash Lawyers

Under federal law, an interstate trucking company must have a minimum of $750,000.00 in liability insurance available to satisfy any judgment that might arise out of an accident in which innocent third parties are injured. This is a minimum amount set by law. Most companies have coverage greater than this amount to protect their assets. If someone were to be killed or seriously injured, given the seriousness of accidents involving large tractor-trailer rigs, it is not uncommon that the damages inflicted will be substantial.truck accident law
Accordingly, it is not uncommon that these minimum limits are exceeded. Many carriers have one, five, ten and 20 million dollars in coverage and others have even greater amounts dependent upon the size of the trucking operation and the amount of assets of that a particular trucking company may wish to protect in the event of a serious claim. More information here @

If a trucking company only has the minimum coverage and a judgment greater than $750,000.00 is obtained by the innocent victim or their family, then in that event, the family of the victim can attempt to collect the excess amount of the judgment directly from the motor carrier’s assets. Thus, in many ways, the minimum coverage required by law is irrelevant because most carriers have far greater coverage. The minimum coverage typically is relevant only when smaller carriers are involved with few business assets.

Many carriers are in the business of transporting hazardous substances in interstate commerce. With respect to such substances, because they can be deadly if spilled or involved in an accident, the minimum coverage for such substances is typically $5 million in liability coverage. This is because if a toxic chemical is spilled many people may be affected and thus higher limits of liability coverage are required by law. Again, the more responsible carriers provide even greater coverage because $5 million may be woefully inadequate if there is a spill of toxic substances on an interstate highway.

The good news about federal law is that the minimum limit of $750,000.00 is far greater than some states for intrastate operations. Again, the more responsible companies which have assets that they need to protect for their own reasons against an excess judgment will have greater amounts of coverage. Fly-by-night or smaller companies may only have the minimum.

We have long advocated that the minimum amounts currently set forth under both state and federal law need to be increased because of the tremendous damage inflicted by these vehicles when involved in accidents. When serious injuries and/or death or involved, the minimum limits are insufficient to compensate the innocent victim. Thus, while the minimum limits, in our judgment, are inadequate, nonetheless, they do provide a minimum safety net for the motoring public. Please click this link for more info @

Drinking & Boating

How will the law enforcement officer test me to determine if I am under the influence?

A waterways conservation officer, having reasonable suspicion to believe a person is operating or in actual physical control of the movement of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol, may request that person to submit to a preliminary breath test. This test may be administered before arrest. Other field sobriety tests have been developed and are approved for this purpose.

Does the law enforcement officer require my permission to test my blood alcohol content?

Any person who operates or is in actual physical control of the movement of the watercraft upon, in or through the waters of the Commonwealth shall be determined to have given consent to one or more chemical tests or breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of the determining the alcohol content of blood or the presence of a controlled substance. The waterways conservation officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has been operating or has been in actual physical control of the movement of the watercraft. If any person placed under arrest for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance is requested to submit to chemical testing and refuses, the test shall not be conducted. But the Commonwealth shall suspend the boating privileges of the person for a period of 12 months. In addition to suspending boating privileges for one year, the fact that the defendant refused to submit to chemical testing may be introduced in evidence along with the other testimony concerning the circumstances of the refusal.

What happens if I am caught?

The penalties for operation of a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance could lead to a criminal record and a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $7,500.00, or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, plus the loss of boating privileges for a period of 12 months. Homicide by watercraft while under the influence carries a fine of not less than $2,500.00 nor exceeding $15,000.00, and imprisonment not exceeding seven years, or both. In addition, to the offenses described above, operating a watercraft under the influence may also violate other laws. The may include prohibitions against reckless or negligent operation of boats, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and underage drinking.

May I drink in my boat?
This answer depends on several variables including where you boat, how much you drink and other laws that pertain to alcohol. Check with the local authorities before bringing alcohol into an area. In some places it is legal to drink on a boat. However, laws such as public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and underage drinking apply both to the operator and the passengers. It is illegal to operate a watercraft on all waters of the Commonwealth while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.


The reputation of a licensed alcohol-serving establishment relies heavily on the people who deal directly with the customers; the servers. Servers can most closely monitor an individual’s amount and rate of consumption. Therefore, as the alcohol server, you are the key to the prevention of excessive alcohol consumption.

“Visible intoxication” is a level of impairment that any person can observe. While servers of alcohol are not expected to know the consumer’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), they are required to recognize the behavioral warning signs of impairment. Servers must observe and talk with their customers to determine whether they are visibly intoxicated. Servers should always be observant of changes in behavior. As soon as visible intoxication is determined, service of alcoholic beverages should be stopped immediately. At this time you may wish to complete and file an Incident Documentation Form.
Visible intoxication can occur at a high or low SAC level, depending on a person’s tolerance to alcohol. A person with a high tolerance to alcohol may exceed the legal BAC driving limit before showing behavioral warning signs of visible intoxication, such as:


These are just a few of the many signs a person may show when becoming intoxicated. These signs, appearing independently, can often indicate the beginning stages of intoxication while a combination of signs is generally a fair indication of visible intoxication.

You can minimize a customer’s chance of becoming intoxicated by following some basic rules:

Size up your customer. What is his/her build (large, medium or small?) Is your customer male or female? Is he/she relaxed, tired, excited or feeling ill?
Ask subtle questions to promote conversation.
Measure and monitor the strength of the drinks.
Monitor the rate of consumption.
Have food available, either free or from a menu
Never serve a co-worker’s customer without first checking how much alcohol they’ve already consumed.
Remove the empty glass/bottle from the previous drink before serving another.
Slow down service when the customer is drinking or ordering rapidly.
A sound house rule is that “last call” means “last drink”. Serve only one drink. Do not stack drinks.
Closely monitor customers who are celebrating their 21St birthday.
Make a limit on the number of shots permitted to one customer.

It is important to identify the onset of intoxication before it develops into a problem situation. It is easier to slow down service during the early stages of consumption than to stop service when a customer has become visibly intoxicated.

Service should be slowed down without the customer becoming aware of it. Success in handling a customer depends largely on maintaining a friendly demeanor and paying attention to the customer’s needs. Slowing down service “buys time.” Only time will sober up your customer.

Even with the best intentions and most responsible serving procedures, you may still encounter a customer who shows behavioral signs which indicate visible intoxication. When this occurs, service of alcoholic beverages to that customer must be stopped immediately! This might mean having to remove the customer’s unfinished drink and refunding their money. Remember to be courteous, but firm. You may also find it helpful to enlist the help of a friend, but never embarrass a customer. If necessary, try scaring the customer with the risks of driving while intoxicated by using such comments as, “if you’re caught, you will be fined, lose your driver’s license and go to jail,’ and “if you insist on driving, 1 will have to notify the police.” If your efforts fail, it is recommended that you complete and file an Incident Documentation Form.
Arrange a safe way home for your customer by calling a taxi or asking a sober friend to drive him/her home. Remember, liability does not end when a customer leaves your establishment. In fact, that’s when its tragic consequences can begin.

A completed Incident Documentation Form is a written record of any unusual event that causes you to worry, such as; an accident, a fight, refusing service to a minor or intoxicated person, or a police call. The form can help build a defense in the event of the filing of a lawsuit or an insurance claim. It is your record of responsible service which could prove to be extremely useful for law enforcement, regulatory agencies or courts.

An Incident Documentation Form should be completed IMMEDIATELY following an incident. Do not wait until the end of a shift or the next day. Complete the form while the event is still fresh in the minds of the persons involved. Never
rely on memory. It is also important that you file the report and keep it for at least two years because under the Dram Shop Laws that is the period of time the parties involved have to file a lawsuit.

The following are some examples of when an Incident Documentation Form may be completed:

When service is refused to an intoxicated individual

Note basic information such as date, time, employee and manager on duty.
Include as much information about the incident as possible. Be complete in explaining the guest’s behavior and the reasons why service was refused.
When transportation is arranged for an intoxicated individual-

Note all basic information, including the type of transportation that was arranged.
Note the taxi company, driver’s name and time the person was picked up.