This guide outlines the top eight most important things to know if you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident.
To speak with one of our trucking accident lawyers today, call (800) 777-0028 or fill out or free contact form. We can answer all of your questions, and the advice is free.
Trucking companies are required by law to retain important documents after an accident, but after the retention period has passed, the documents will likely (and legally) be destroyed.
For example, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, truck driver log books containing hours of service records must be retained for six months. If a tired truck driver who drove beyond legal hours causes a serious truck crash, you can bet these crucial records will be destroyed exactly six months after the accident by the trucking company’s lawyers — if the accident victim has not retained a lawyer in time.
A trucking accident lawyer can prevent such documents from being destroyed by submitting a legal order to preserve the documents.
There are more than 1,000 federal regulatory requirements for trucking companies. These laws hold the key to everything about your truck accident case, from the amount of money that will be available to critical evidence needed to win. A lawyer who is not experienced in litigating serious truck accident cases simply cannot handle one like he handles other types of personal injury cases.
A truck accident lawyer cannot wait to see how his or her client’s injuries are progressing before filing a lawsuit. A trucking accident lawyer also cannot wait to file the lawsuit, in efforts to settle the case with the insurance company first. Read on to see if you have a truck accident case.
Again, a trucking company is only required to keep the bulk of its records after a truck accident — no matter how serious the injuries or even if someone was killed — for a very short period of time. The destruction of these and other incredibly important pieces of evidence in serious truck accident cases is not only legal, it is common-place; and it’s to be expected.
The most important advice our trucking accident lawyers give when they educate other attorneys at legal seminars is to file a lawsuit as soon as soon as possible — or you could cost your client millions of dollars. Call (800) 777-0028 to speak with a truck accident lawyer about your circumstances. There’s absolutely no fee or obligation.
A truck accident case is different than a car accident case. Trucks are more regulated than other types of motor vehicles because they are more dangerous. Trucks are obviously bigger and heavier, and cause more serious injuries and fatalities than other auto accidents. Truck companies usually carry more insurance and, in general, the quality of defense lawyers hired by their insurance companies is better. These defense lawyers are more likely to spend more money defending these trucking cases, and the defense tactics may be very aggressive.
An ISO search is a vast pool of past insurance claims compiled by collaborating insurance companies. Defense lawyers can access the dates and details of every claim you ever made; whether it was a prior accident, a work injury or even a slip and fall. Defense lawyers will run an ISO search prior to your deposition (when you testify under oath answering questions from the defense lawyer). But your own trucking accident lawyer does not have access to this information.
Our advice for anyone involved in litigation is to always tell the truth — and assume that these days, with computers, social security numbers, and private investigators, that defense lawyers will find everything. That means you must tell your own lawyer about everything in your medical and accident history, so he or she can better prepare to answer the defense lawyer’s questions as accurately as possible.
Expect that the defense lawyers hired by the insurance company and trucking company will conduct surveillance on you at some point in your truck accident case, and in all likelihood, at multiple points throughout your case.
No matter how clear-cut a truck accident case may appear, you can expect defense lawyers to hire accident reconstruction experts and to do everything they can to avoid taking responsibility for the crash. Don’t get fooled by these ploys.
When defense lawyers try to argue liability, it’s important for a trucking accident lawyer to remind them that the easiest way to avoid a crash is to not put an unsafe truck on the road in the first place — especially since one out of every four trucks today has such serious safety violations that it would be rendered immediately out-of-service if the safety defects were discovered. When this happens, the most important federal safety law a truck lawyer has is Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation 396.7, which states that a truck driver shall not operate a truck in a condition likely to cause an accident or break down. There’s a good possibility that a defective truck was responsible for your accident.
The Department of Transportation has discovered that more than 30,000 truck drivers have tested positive for illegal drug use in a year. And that number is probably only the tip of the iceberg. There are strict federal safety guidelines regarding the operation of a commercial truck. In many cases, the negligent truck driver is in violation of a law that requires he shall not drive a truck if he is ill or fatigued. No drugs are allowed without strict medical screenings and examinations beforehand. No illegal drugs or alcohol are allowed, ever.
To get a free case evaluation from one of our experienced lawyers, call us at (800) 777-0028 or fill out our free contact form. There’s no cost or obligation.
In the meantime, take a look at our special qualifications of our truck attorneys, and how we can help you.