Coker Law attorney Stefano Portigliatti answers this important question. An accident with a truck is much different than a typical car accident. These crashes more often lead to catastrophic or fatal injuries due to their large size and weight. Additionally, there can be several different parties responsible for the accident. Identifying each one of these parties is necessary to recover the full amount of damages you are entitled to receive.
The most important thing to do immediately following a truck accident is to see a doctor. Once you begin to receive the medical care you need, there are three primary steps accident victims should take when seeking full compensation for their injuries. You, or your attorney, need to secure the important evidence, identify all parties who may be liable and determine whether the responsible parties violated any trucking regulations.
Secure Important Evidence And Information
Truck drivers, trucking companies and their insurance companies work quickly after a crash to limit their liability. They understand how to hide or destroy evidence, shift the fault onto the accident victim and to reduce recoveries during a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
It is crucial to document and preserve all of the evidence from the crash that you can. Take as many pictures as you can and keep all text messages and voicemails that are related to the accident. If you posted on social media about the incident, do not delete these posts as they may be helpful in the future.
In the immediate aftermath of a truck accident, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer who can schedule an inspection of the vehicles involved. A good attorney can download the black box and look for possible causes of the crash. Using this data, it may be possible to reconstruct the collision in 3D to further strengthen your case.
Identify All Potentially Liable Parties
In a truck accident, there are many parties who may be responsible for the crash. For example, in a simple rear-end collision involving a tractor-trailer and a car, the following parties may have liability:
- Truck driver
- Owner of the truck
- Owner of the trailer
- The motor carrier that the driver works for
- Broker or shipper that hired the motor carrier
- Company that provided safety compliance or consulting to the motor carrier
- Auto shop that maintained the truck and/or the trailer
- The manufacturer of the truck and/or the trailer
It is common for the motor carrier’s insurance to pay a maximum of $1 million for an accident. For this reason, a less experienced lawyer who handles a truck accident like a motor vehicle accident may advise their client to settle for significantly less than the case is worth. When a truck accident results in catastrophic or fatal injuries, it is critical to seek out all liable parties to better ensure you recover full compensation.
Operating large trucks is an inherently dangerous activity, which is why truck drivers, companies and other related entities must adhere to certain requirements and limitations set out in the regulations and industry standards. Understanding these regulations is essential when building a personal injury or wrongful death case following a truck crash.
Often, at first glance, a crash may seem to be the fault of the car driver. However, when considering the driving standards of the truck driver, the company’s operation or the poor maintenance of a tractor-trailer, it begins to become clear that fault lies with the truck driver or the trucking company, not the driver of the car.
While these three actions are key elements of most truck accidents, it is important to remember that every case is unique. A good attorney who is willing to invest the time and resources into your case can help you determine the steps you should take to strengthen your claim.
Mr. Portigliatti is a member of Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Mr. Portigliatti can be reached at his email address: [email protected]