Truck accidents are devastating to everyone involved. The average commercial truck weighs over 20 times more than a standard passenger vehicle, so trucking accidents have high fatality, injury, and damage rates. If you’ve been in a collision with a truck, there are lots of factors to consider. Depending on the details of the accident, the driver, carrier, or broker may be at fault. There are also several types of evidence that must be collected if you plan on seeking compensation.
Even if it seems clear that the truck driver is at fault for the accident, the process of determining liability is a lengthy one. In many cases, trucking companies, insurance providers, and law enforcement all conduct their own investigations. To determine which driver is at fault for an accident—or to what extent the drivers share blame—investigators may look at witness statements, tire marks, property damage, and photos from the scene of the accident. This is just some of the evidence that your attorney may use in your personal injury case.
After an investigation finds that a truck driver’s actions caused a crash, your attorney has to determine who can be held responsible for your injuries. In many situations, the trucking company that employs a driver is held liable for the damage caused by their employee’s actions. However, many trucking companies use independent contractors, not just employees. Companies are not always held responsible for the actions of their independent contractors. If the driver that hit you is an independent contractor, you may need to seek compensation from their insurance company.
Your trucking accident lawyer might also consider the broker and truck manufacturer when deciding who to sue. If a broker negligently hires a truck driver or company to handle their loads, they may be liable for an accident. If the accident occurs as the result of a defect in the truck or a malfunction, the truck manufacturer could be liable for your expenses.
The trucking industry is tightly regulated, which is helpful when an accident occurs. Federal law requires truck drivers to keep a logbook that details their hours-of-service on a weekly and daily basis, mileage, off-duty time, and vehicle inspection reports. With access to these trucking logs, an attorney may find evidence that a driver worked beyond their allowed hours or ignored malfunctions that should have kept them from driving.
Electronic logging devices are another important piece of evidence after a trucking accident. These devices track a driver’s record of duty status and compliance with hours-of-service requirements. Since these devices sync with the truck, records cannot be falsified. In addition to tracking the information covered by logbooks, ELDs also maintains data on driver speed, braking habits, and other driving habits. This evidence can help demonstrate driver negligence in a personal injury case.
It’s crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a truck accident. A crash could leave you seriously injured, unable to earn a living, or in need of long-term care. Make sure the appropriate party is held responsible with the help of an experienced trucking accident attorney. Set up your free case evaluation now—call the West Palm Beach office of Fetterman & Associates at (561) 845-2510.
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