Winning a truck accident claim can be difficult. There are numerous hurdles that victims and their lawyer must overcome before presenting an effective claim against the negligent driver or trucking company. Though every truck accident victim has the legal right to pursue a claim, maximizing the value of the claim is more likely when an effective, experienced truck accident lawyer familiar with truck accident law. Accidents involving tractor trailers are different than truck car accidents involving only passenger vehicles.
1. Liability in a Truck Accident Claim
Who are the liable parties? Aside from the driver of the truck, additional parties may also be liable for the injuries someone suffers in a truck accident. This can include the employer of the truck driver, the company whose truck licenses placard is placed on the tractor and trailer, the designer or manufacturer of any faulty part which caused the collision to occur as well as any repair or maintenance facility responsible for vehicle upkeep. The lawyer you hire will evaluate each potential source of recovery.
2. Evidence and Testimony from the Scene of the Accident
The scene of crash. By the time a truck accident attorney is hired, the scene of the crash has been long since cleared. Many trucking companies have law firms on-call to visit the scene immediately following a collision and conduct interviews. This is particularly valuable and unfortunately the injured victim does not typically have access to a lawyer so soon after a crash. The person who is hurt and being taken to a hospital is not able to hire a truck accident attorney to assist them. The trucking companies have an advantage in getting their investigators and attorneys to the scene of a crash to assess the evidence, speak with police or other witnesses.
3. Trucking Companies Employ Accident Defense Attorneys
The resources of the trucking companies can be substantial. In addition to being first at the scene, trucking companies regularly employ experienced attorneys and investigators to conduct the investigation of an accident claim. It is important to hire an attorney with the financial resources and experience necessary to also conduct an investigation. With medical bills mounting and time likely missed from work, it would be nearly impossible for most injured truck accident victims to hire a lawyer and pay for his or her services as well as the cost of an investigation. That is one reason why attorneys who handle personal injury claims typically work on a contingency fee. An attorney fee is not charged until a recovery is made. The truck accident litigation expenses are typically borne by the law firm and not paid out of the injured persons pocket until money is recovered at the conclusion of the claim.
4. Falsified Truck Driver Records
Are the records falsified? Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations regulate the number of hours a driver is allowed according to truck driving laws. There may be an incentive for the trucking company or the driver to falsify his log in order to keep the truck on the road for a longer period time. The trucking company and driver control the documentation. An experienced truck accident attorney may be able to recognize inconsistencies in the materials produced by the trucking company during the litigation. Many tractors are now equipped with GPS and an Electronic Control Module which records data such as speed and distance driven.
5. Trucking Company Driver Policies
Was the internal trucking company policy followed? Trucking companies typically have written company policies which cover items including substance abuse, medical disabilities, pre-trip inspections and virtually every aspect of the job. It is important for the lawyer evaluating a truck accident to obtain and review the trucking company policies to determine whether they were followed. Involving an attorney promptly after a serious truck accident is important.
Get Legal Help for Your Truck Accident Claim
Having an experienced truck accident attorney who is familiar with these issues and only represents personal truck accident injury victims is often best. In many cases, the injured victim is at a disadvantage in terms of the legal resources, financial resources, time spent at the accident scene and understanding regarding the nature of litigation. Hiring a qualified lawyer to represent you is a critical step in receiving the compensation you deserve.
Who is Liable for Damages and Injuries?
In the aftermath of a serious truck accident, investigators at the scene will work to determine the cause of the accident from the physical evidence, inspection of the vehicles and witness statements. Truck drivers are required to keep logs of their hours on the road, maintenance performed on the tractor and trailer and other documentation that ordinary drivers of a passenger vehicle are not required to keep. This evidence is crucial to determine whether the truck driver is at fault for the injuries suffered.
Parties Often Liable in a Truck Accident Claim
Not only can the truck driver be liable in an accident claim, but other parties may also be responsible for the negligent conduct of the driver. These parties include:
- The employer of the truck driver involved in the accident
- The owner, operator or leasing party of the semi-truck
- The maintenance and repair entities responsible for maintaining the tractor and/or trailer involved the crash
- The person or the entity who loaded the vehicle if improper loading caused the accident
- The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claims, click here to consult with Dwyer & McDevitt or a Trucking Accident Lawyer near you.