Truck Accidents Require Professional Representation
Big trucking companies are experts at defending claims following a catastrophic accident. Elevated standards have been put in place to safeguard their liability. These vehicles have become highly specialized; drivers are required to obtain Commercial Driver’s Licenses, and endorsements are necessary for commercial trucks. These higher specifications aid the trucking companies in their defense, and they spend significant resources to prevent a victim from obtaining the necessary proof needed to establish liability
Accidents involving 18-wheelers often produce catastrophic injuries like brain trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis and permanent impairment. If a victim cannot obtain the necessary proof, they may not be properly compensated for medical treatment, time off work and damage to their vehicle.
Besides the standard examination of police report and witnesses, big truck accidents often require in depth investigations to uncover critical information. The following is a brief overview of just a few key elements for big truck wrecks:
1) Evidence from the scene – Specialist are needed to inspect the vehicles and the accident scene. Because vehicles will have been towed from the site, reconstruction experts are necessary to properly document the physical evidence such as skid marks, measurements, etc.
2) Black Box Data – Electronic Control Modules are installed in big trucks to record data immediately before, during and after an accident. This data needs to be requested and examined thoroughly prior to the truck being repaired or driven again. It will provide critical information regarding contributing factors such as speed and braking.
3) Employee Files – A letter requesting evidence, referred to as a “spoliation letter”, is issued by an attorney. This will establish and preserve employee records such as a trucker’s application, CDL, complaint history and results of alcohol and drug tests.
4) Driver Logs – Rules of service hours have been established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers must list all stops to demonstrate respect for drive time safety and prevention of driver fatigue. If requested, these logs could prove a disregard for these laws.
Building the proper foundation of a case immediately following an accident is of primary importance, particularly when big, 18-wheelers are involved. This is an area that requires the professional guidance and representation of an experienced attorney.