It is important to immediately retain a truck accident attorney after an accident with a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle when you or a loved one is injured. The trucking insurance lawyers and experts will be rushing to the scene to prove you are at-fault, so getting your own experts to the accident scene quickly is crucial. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we will make sure all evidence is preserved.
What’s In This Guide:
- Trucking is Heavily Regulated
- The Truck Accident Investigation Process and How It Impacts Your Claim
- Trucking Insurance Policy is Different
- Trucks Can Cause More Damage Than Cars
Truck drivers face considerably heavier regulations than the drivers of most passenger vehicles. Truck drivers have legal limits on the number of hours they can spend on the road, how their loads must be secured, and how they must log time spent on the road. In addition, truck drivers may need to adhere to stricter regulations regarding alcohol consumption and BAC.
FMCSA regulations also govern proper maintenance on big trucks, from how often drivers and mechanics must inspect those trucks to what maintenance needs to be taken care of on a regular basis. Furthermore, those regulations determine what steps trucking companies must take in order to protect their drivers, and others who share the road with them, as much as possible.
Those regulations can quickly come into play in a truck accident claim. Sometimes, the lawyer who examines your claim may discover that the truck driver alone violated his duty of care to you and, therefore, bears liability for the injuries and damages you sustained during the accident. On the other hand, if the driver’s employer violated his regulations, your attorney may find that the driver’s employer bears some liability for the damage you may have suffered. Having an attorney on your side can make it easier to uncover all the facts of your truck accident–and ensure that those vital trucking regulations are considered when determining the value of your claim.
Truck accident investigations often prove much more complicated than the average auto accident investigation. Your attorney will need to take several steps in order to get a full picture of everything that contributed to your accident. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, as members of the Trucking Trial Lawyers Association, we take immediate steps to preserve evidence as follows:
Crash Site Evidence
Like any auto accident investigation, a truck accident claim may begin with an investigation of the crash site. Your attorney may want to look over videos and photographs of the scene of the accident, or even go out and collect fresh evidence. Furthermore, your attorney may need to examine the damage to both vehicles and any nearby structures damaged in the accident.
Truck Driver and Company Logs
Truck drivers must, according to federal regulations, keep clear logs that show where they have been, how long they have been on the road, how many miles they have traveled in their shifts, and other vital information. An attorney will look over those logs to determine whether there were any legal breaches or breaches of safety. Furthermore, the attorney may want to look at the company’s records on that specific driver: does he have a safe driving record, or does he have a history of causing accidents?
The Truck Data Recorder
Many big trucks contain data recorders much like the “black box” on an airplane. These recorders can collect event data that may serve to establish exactly what took place in a truck accident, including abrupt stops, when the accident took place, and even video footage of the crash. That data can prove vital to the investigation process.
In many cases, eyewitness testimony can serve as vital evidence in truck accident claims. Witnesses can provide an unbiased picture of what led to the accident, including any external factors that the drivers may not have noticed at the time of the accident. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident injury Lawyers has investigators ready to gather witnesses and statements.
Big trucks may require substantially more working parts than the average passenger vehicle–and they often need to take considerably more strain. Your truck accident investigation will include a mechanical review of the truck, including both its current mechanical condition and its overall maintenance history.
Many truck accident claims require the help of witnesses to reconstruct the scene of the accident and what damage that accident caused, including the extent of your injuries, the cause of the accident, and whether the truck suffered any mechanical damage that could have contributed to the accident.
A truck accident investigation can quickly grow very complex. It involves data and complexity of evidence. Having an attorney to help collect and organize that data–not to mention turning it into a compelling claim on your behalf–can make a huge difference in your truck accident claim.
Commercial insurance policies are designed to cover an entire business, including multiple drivers and trucks across the business. They differ from the policies usually carried by passenger vehicle drivers in several key ways. First and foremost, big truck insurance policies generally offer considerably more compensation than the average policy carried by a passenger vehicle driver. Because of the greater potential for damage in an accident, those policies have the potential to offer additional compensation.
Trucking insurance coverage may also vary based on the type of policy carried by the driver or the company. For example, some policies may offer different coverage when the truck is not engaged in hauling a load for the driver’s primary employer. Others may cover specific damage caused when the truck isn’t moving: damage caused by falling cargo while the truck is parked, for example. An experienced truck accident attorney can help break down that coverage and give you a better idea of what to expect as you file your claim. Generally, trucking companies are required to carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.
Big commercial trucks, when fully loaded, can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and they take up considerably more room on the road than the average passenger vehicle. As a result, they may cause substantially more damage than cars when involved in an accident. A big truck may quickly total a smaller passenger vehicle and cause catastrophic, life-altering injuries for the passengers inside the vehicle. Big truck accidents increase the risk of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and even death.
If you sustain severe injuries in an accident, having an attorney with trucking experience on your side becomes more critical. Your severe injuries lead to substantial bills, which may require you to seek more compensation from the liable party’s insurance company. Many trucking insurance companies, however, will fight harder to reduce the compensation they have to pay out when they know it represents a substantial settlement value. An attorney can help you navigate that process and, in many cases, increase the compensation you can recover–which can prove vitally necessary as you recover from those severe injuries.
Why Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers?
After a truck accident, you need an effective legal strategy that can help you recover the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. A truck accident attorney can help from the immediate days after the accident and your first conversation with the truck driver’s insurance company. Your legal strategy can include everything from your statement about the accident to the compensation you ask for or how you communicate with the insurance company–and having an attorney on your side to provide that vital advice can prove critical.
Flora Templeton Stuart is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (an elite group of trucking lawyers) and recognized with the Trucking Trial Lawyer Association. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, do not wait. Contact Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.