Your Collision Rights: Finding a Truck Accident Attorney
Exercise and Defend Your Rights by Using An 18-Wheeler and Commercial Truck Accident Attorney to Help you in your Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Claim
Injury Claims Involving a Semi-Truck or Commercial Truck or related Vehicle Accident, such as:
- Delivery Truck Accident
- Dump Truck Accident
- Bus Injuries
- Tow Truck Accident
- Moving Van Damages
- Flat Bed Truck Accident
- Semi-Truck Accident
- 18-Wheeler Truck Accident
- Other Commercial Truck accident
Tractor Trailer Accident Legal Insights
Every year, there are nearly 500,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in their latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report (March 2019). As the number of large trucks sharing the roadways increases each year, the number of accidents involving injuries (180,000 in 2016), deaths (nearly 5,000 in 2017), and property damage (over 400,000 in 2016) have also increased. Most of these accidents were the direct consequence of driver negligence.
A semi-truck generally weighs well in excess of 10,000 pounds. While it is dependent upon speed, a commercial truck might need three times the distance and time a passenger car needs to come to a full stop. Also, an accident involving a truck has a five-fold higher risk of causing severe injuries or fatalities as compared to an accident that just involves passenger vehicles.
The trucking industry is regulated through a combination of both state and federal regulations. These regulations are in place to ensure that all commercial vehicles operate in a safe manner, including semi-trucks, delivery trucks, moving vans, buses, dump trucks, tow trucks, flatbed trucks, etc. Public safety is promoted through regulations covering such specifics as cargo capacity, truck maintenance, truck driver qualifications and required equipment and markings.
A collision with any 18-wheeler, tractor trailer truck or other large commercial vehicle is a harrowing and traumatic experience. If an injury results, it often becomes a permanent life-changing experience. Injuries as a result of a semi-truck accident are often far more severe than injuries resulting from an accident involving only passenger cars and have an increased risk of death.
If you yourself have been injured, then it is critical to know just what is involved in your eventual personal injury insurance claim. An experienced attorney, like those at Urban Thier & Federer, can be invaluable in gathering evidence, establishing legal or proximate cause, and proving negligence. All these will determine compensable damages and the amount of the recovery you may ultimately collect.
Duty of Care for Commercial Vehicles: What it means and how it affects you.
If you drive a passenger car, then you have a duty of care to other drivers, as they do to you. That duty of care is broken down into specific responsibilities:
- Looking out for one another properly.
- Staying in compliance with relevant traffic laws.
- Avoiding an accident by all reasonable means.
Court systems demand much higher duty of care standards for drivers of a semi-trailer truck. In order to establish the proper duty or standard of care and then determine if there have been breaches of it, courts rely on the following:
- Federal and state regulations placed on truck drivers and other commercial vehicle drivers, including required rest breaks.
- Traditional pieces of evidence used when arguing and proving negligence.
Since a semi-truck accident often carries a devastating toll, courts systems routinely enforce federal and state regulations in a strict manner. If a court finds that a truck driver violated a particular federal or state regulation, then the court may find the violation to be “per se,” (automatic) proof or presumption of negligence when the violation resulted in injuries to other parties.
Qualified Law Firms
A seasoned personal injury lawyer can protect you and your interests. Moreover, any contingency attorney fee should be more than justified by the increased total recovery in your case. The right law firm and personal injury attorney should have the experience and financial resources to file a lawsuit on your behalf, to hire expert witnesses, to conduct discovery and to serve subpoenas to force the other side and third parties to provide all the necessary information to build your case, and to otherwise do everything needed to see your case through to trial and, if necessary, the appellate process.
Your personal injury attorney can conduct thorough pretrial discovery, which is the process for securing the evidence and documents from the other side of the case, including securing access to the actual log book or electronic log of the truck driver involved. In that log book, your attorney might find evidence that the truck driver violated applicable regulations or was exceeding the allowed hours of driving time or that log entries were embellished or even falsified. Modern electronic logs make it difficult to cover up regulatory violations regarding hours driven and missed rest periods.
Your attorney can also collect recorded statements called depositions from the actual truck driver, his employer, his coworkers, witnesses and anyone else who may have information that is relevant to your case. Other common discovery tools include interrogatories (written questions which must be answer in writing and under oath), admissions (factual statements which must be admitted or denied in writing) and requests for production (written requests for documents and inspection).
All of these tools and procedures are invaluable to building a strong case and maximizing your recovery. In the case of a semi-truck accident, there is certain evidence that is critical to proving negligence, such as:
- Was the truck driver’s assigned CDL license suspended or active?
- Does the truck driver have a criminal record?
- How many tickets and or citations did the truck driver have prior to the accident in question?
- How many total records of an accident has the truck driver had?
- The financial background of the truck driver, including judgments and outstanding debts.
- Was the cargo load within the legal limitations?
- Was the truck driver over or under the legal allotment of driving hours?
- Was the truck driver on the designated route to the target destination?
- Was the truck driver under the influence of medication or narcotics?
- Was the truck driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
An experience personal injury attorney, like those at Urban Thier & Federer, knows the questions to ask and how to collect evidence from third parties in a timely manner that protects your interests.
“This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.”