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Truck Insurance & Identifying Defendants

How Truck Attorneys Can Identify all of the Defendants and Insurance Policies

Most inexperienced lawyers make one critical mistake — they fail to identity all of the possible defendants and insurance policies during their truck accident investigation. But finding all the applicable insurance to protect the accident victims or the family of someone who was killed is essential to ensuring the best recovery possible.

Here are some tips on finding all of the truck insurance that’s available:

Identify the potential parties responsible for insurance

The relationship between the truck driver and the trucking company, as well as other potential parties must be determined. To do so, a truck attorney must look at all of the contractual relationships to identify responsibility for insurance coverage, as well as sister corporations that may also bear financial responsibility.

Identify the following if applicable:

  • Any independent contractor
  • Owner
  • Lessor
  • Lessee
  • Load broker
  • Shipper
  • Purchaser

Remember to plead fictitious parties in the complaint in order to add additional parties who may later be determined to have responsibility.

Investigate truck company conduct

After all possible defendants have been established, investigate the company conduct and how it contributed to the truck accident. Not only is the trucking company responsible for putting its drivers on the roads, but the company is charged with ensuring the truck drivers are competent, well-trained and safe. Therefore, research the following questions:

  • Is the truck company encouraging unsafe driving practices?
  • Is it supervising the drivers?
  • Is the trucking company hiring truckers that have caused other truck accidents (including in other states) and who have a history of unsafe driving?
  • Does the trucking company comply with its own safety standards?
  • Was the company negligent in hiring or retaining the employee who was at-fault for the truck accident?

Examine truck company management

There are many aspects of truck company management that will shed light on the negligence that led to your accident. Look at the trucking company’s:

  • Hiring policy
  • Driver training process
  • Safety procedures
  • Discipline procedures
  • Accident classification policies and systems
  • Compensation and bonus practices
  • Employee manual
  • Employee file
  • Sign-in sheets
  • Documents distributed to drivers/employees during company meetings
  • The motor carrier’s mission statement

Depose the safety director

Often, a deposition of the safety director of the trucking company may be required. Discover what industry resources the safety director uses in carrying out his or her job.

In addition to the safety director, a dispatcher may need to be deposed to determine his or her knowledge about the truck crash, subsequent communication with the driver after the crash, the computer programs used by the company and the dispatcher’s familiarity with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

The Internet can be a useful tool in conducting the preliminary investigation on Michigan trucking companies as well. Check out the company’s website and print out the pages with the date on them.

Speak with a truck lawyer today

For help from one of our attorneys now, call Michigan Auto Law at (248) 353-7575. There’s no fee or obligation.

For more information on how Michigan Auto Law can help you, take a look at testimonials from other truck accident victims. You can also read about our truck lawyer qualifications and our 100 percent client satisfaction guarantee.