Truck Accident Cases are Unique
Truck accident claims are not like other personal injury cases. They revolve around federal law, such as the hours of service rule, state law, industry practices, science, and trucking experts.
Accidents with heavy and large commercial trucks pose more dangers to other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Additionally, the insurance companies that represent truck drivers and the companies they work for are extremely aggressive. They often contact accident victims just hours after the crash, hoping to take advantage of the individual’s vulnerability and offer a low settlement that will not cover the cost of the injuries. Due to these challenges, truck accident claims involve highly specialized and complex litigation that requires:
- A comprehensive understanding of the many complicated laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry
- An awareness of unethical practices in the industry, including the destruction and alteration of important evidence
- Accessible truck accident experts who can promptly visit the scene of the crash
- Specialized training and years of experience with handling claims involving commercial trucks
- Familiarity with the customs and practices of the trucking industry
Truck Accident Negotiations
Determining Negligence After a Truck Accident
Every truck driver, trucking company, and other parties in the industry are represented by insurance companies. These insurers have teams of investigators, adjusters, and attorneys, all who have the same goal of limiting the liability of the insurance company and minimizing the settlement paid to injured parties. None of these individuals are prioritizing the safety and well-being of accident victims.
It is for this reason that it is imperative that accident victims have the same type of representation. Insurance companies will try to deny liability for the accident, and they will shift the blame to accident victims. If they are successful with this, the victim is left without the necessary compensation they need for their losses.
To claim the full settlement you deserve, you will have to prove another party was at fault, or that they acted negligently. In a truck accident case, you must establish the same four elements of proof required in other personal injury claims. You must show that another party owed you a duty of care, that they breached their duty of care, and that you suffered injuries and other losses as a result.
Truck accident claims are unique in another way, though. Due to the fact that they are governed by so many state and federal laws, these collisions are often caused by a violation of the law. When this is the case, proving the violation is often enough to be successful in a claim. Any time there is an inherent failure to comply with a law that is intended to protect other people, the violating party is considered negligence per se. Essentially, any violation of the law is enough to prove the other party was negligent.
Proving a violation of the law is not always easy. Although you may have seen a cell phone in the truck driver’s hand, that will be difficult to prove to the insurance company or the court because it will be your word against theirs. This is frustrating because even though you know the driver broke the law, you cannot prove it. A Salem truck accident attorney will have the necessary resources to prove negligence. In the example with the distracted trucker, a lawyer may subpoena the driver’s cell phone records, which will indicate they were texting while driving at the time of the crash.
The Moments After a Truck Accident are Important
The immediate moments after a truck accident are incredibly important. You must call medical help to the scene, as well as law enforcement, and you will likely be in shock due to your severe injuries. While all of this is going on, the insurance company is already working against you and is planning to send investigators to the scene. They do this so they can find evidence and potentially destroy or alter it. Even an object as big as a semi-truck can be moved, and other important evidence has been known to disappear in the moments following a truck accident.
For this reason, it is critical that you collect as much evidence as you can while you are still at the scene. Most importantly, take pictures of the vehicles involved, and the accident scene as a whole. Also, locate witnesses and ask them for their contact information so your lawyer can contact them in the future. If you are not able to collect this important evidence, ask an objective third party to gather them for you.
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