A fully loaded “big rig” can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Put that up against a passenger car, weighing between 3,000 – 4,000 pounds andthe odds against anybody in the car surviving a wreck are bad.
Proving liability against a truck driver or the trucking company is similar to other accidents. It hinges on the concept of negligence. Did the other driver have a responsibility of care? Did they fail to adhere to that responsibility? Did their negligence cause the accident? Did they cause damage?
However, there are a couple of things that are unique about an accident involving a large truck. According to our truck accident attorneys, you should keep these things in mind:
In a truck accident, you are considering the truck driver, the trucking company, and any other involved parties. Any one of these could have a record of misconduct that you want to uncover. Investigate prior violations that might have occurred. Look at the company’s policies and procedures while you’re at it.
Truck Maintenance Records
Trucking companies are required to maintain trucks and equipment to a certain level of safety. These records must be examined to see if maintenance of the vehicle was a contributing factor to the accident.
The Accident Report
Get a copy of the Police Accident Report. This will contain vital information. It should have the speed at which both vehicles were traveling. It will also show the point of impact on the outside of both vehicles.
Log Book and Black Box
Commercial drivers are required to maintain a driver’s log book. This will show details about the trip and the truck. Trucks are equipped with a “black box,” which will have recorded data from before, during, and after the crash.
Statements from eye witnesses and first responders are sometimes critical to your case. These are people that were at the scene of the accident and can testify to what they witnessed. In a truck accident case, it’s not uncommon to call expert witnesses that are familiar with the trucking industry.
Establishing the Defendant
In most passenger car accidents, proving liability is a lot simpler than a truck accident. It’s usually the driver’s negligence that is on trial.
With a truck accident, all of the evidence that we talked about earlier helps to establish who the defendant or defendants are in the case.
Is it the driver? How about the trucking company? What about the mechanic that worked on the truck? It could be the inspector that did the last inspection on the truck. You must establish the defendant before the case can be constructed.
Hiring an Attorney
Some people want to handle their own legal case when they are involved in an accident. I’ve touched on just a few things here that make a car accident and truck accident a lot different.
The average person will not know all the details that must be considered after a truck accident. You will need help from an attorney in cases like these because they are often complex. Choose a personal injury attorney that has specific experience with truck accidents. These accidents and resulting cases have a lot of moving parts. They require professional assistance from a qualified truck accident lawyer.