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Practice Definitions - Transportation Law
Transportation Law
Transportation accounts for approximately 25% of the cost of producing and delivering goods to consumers. Everything that we eat, drink, wear and use must be shipped to consumers via some form of transportation. Transportation Law is a growing specialty due to increased concerns for cargo security. Transportation law encompasses federal and state laws pertaining to highways, mass transit, aviation, rail, maritime and motor carriers where it relates to the conveyance of passengers or goods especially as a commercial enterprise. Transportation law also encompasses traffic safety, hazardous materials and pipelines. In 1966, Congress established the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to achieve a uniform transportation policy for the nation. Although this agency coordinates all transportation in the U.S., the actual laws that govern drivers are largely state created and governed.

Federal agencies governing transportation law include such agencies as the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Surface Transportation Board (formerly the Interstate Commerce Commission), the Federal Maritime Commission, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Attorneys specializing in transportation law advise and represent clients in matters including: governmental regulatory matters, shipper-carrier agreements, carrier acquisitions and financing, bills of lading, freight claims, complex tariff and rate issues, hazardous materials matters (including matters falling under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1975), transportation agreements, broker issues, third party logistics, warehousing and storage issues, bills of lading, and various types of contractual disputes. A related area of law is Admiralty/Maritime law, as it relates to navigation and shipping in U.S. tidal waters and navigatable waters (the high seas), which requires attorneys specializing in that law area.
Should I hire a lawyer?
If you were injured in railroad, common carrier, bus or other transportation accidents, you need a lawyer right away to help you assert your legal rights and get the settlement you deserve. Transportation law attorneys know what you are entitled to, and it's never a good idea to settle with the transportation company's insurance company alone or you will be signing away your rights and getting a substandard settlement. Transportation companies defending against consumer lawsuits, class actions and injury claims should always have an attorney on retainer because legal issues always arise. Use the State Lawyers Directory to find a qualified transportation law attorney to suit your needs and legal situation.

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