Litigation for the Long Haul

Cory P. Whalen - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyOctober 03, 2013

It’s like comparing a 53 foot long semi trailer weighing 80,000 pounds to a Volkswagen Beetle. That’s how different a truck accident case is from a case involving two passenger vehicles. It’s not just that the rules of the game are different when a truck is involved; it becomes a different game altogether.

Here are just a few of the factors that make truck accident cases far more complex than other auto accident cases:

Applicable laws. In passenger car cases, state and local traffic laws are applied. When a commercial carrier is involved in the crash, those same traffic laws still apply, but now a whole new set of federal regulations come into play. That’s because trucking is a highly regulated industry. The rules governing commercial carriers could fill several bookshelves. 

Liability. In a typical traffic case where driver A is injured in a collision with driver B, the issue is pretty straight forward: Which driver was at fault? In a commercial carrier case, the issue of liability often goes beyond the driver. Was the trucking company at fault for failing to properly train or supervise the driver? Was the driver an employee of the company or an independent trucker? This is a crucial issue because if the trucking company is successful in claiming the driver was an independent trucker, it may be able to avoid responsibility for the trucker’s actions. 

Accident investigation. Truck companies are required to maintain their records for a relatively short period of time. That’s why it’s critical that an investigation is conducted as soon as possible following a crash, and that no stone is left unturned. Driver logs, maintenance and inspection records and on-board equipment which records speed, driver behavior and reaction time all must be reviewed. The truck and crash site also must be carefully inspected to look for evidence of improper or excessive loads, equipment failure, etc. 

This is only the beginning. Other factors making truck cases more challenging are the sophistication of the equipment, insurance issues, the need for experts and accident reconstruction capabilities at trial. 

It’s not enough that the attorney you hire has experience in “traffic cases.” You need a truck accident lawyer who has the specialized knowledge, experience and skill to deal with the myriad of factual and legal issues unique to these cases. Not only that, your attorney’s law firm must have the resources to stand up to the deep pocketed insurance companies and freight hauling corporations. 

If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, talk to one of the experienced truck accident lawyers at our firm.

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