If you've been involved in a truck accident, you're probably frantic with fear and shock. Truck accidents are a bit different from other auto accidents because of the way evidence is gathered and liability is determined. Consult a truck accident lawyer for assistance with your claim. Here is some basic information on what's involved in truck accident claims.
To win a truck accident case, you must gather sufficient evidence to justify your claim for damages. First, you need to contact the police. The police will write a report or even cite the truck driver. This evidence can help strengthen your case when you meet with the insurance adjuster.
Most commercial trucks have a black box. This box records important information regarding brake usage, average speed, and throttle usage. An accident reconstruction expert can use this information to explain how the accident occurred. For example, your truck accident lawyer can use this evidence to show that the driver braked too soon, was speeding, or was driving recklessly.
Hours of service and logbooks also provide crucial evidence against at-fault drivers. Truck drivers are required to work for a specific number of hours before resting. Evidence may show that they breached these rules. Also, your lawyer can use the truck's logbook to determine the routes and hours the truck driver worked.
Other sources of evidence include:
- Video surveillance
- Witness testimony
- Repair and maintenance records of the vehicle
- Medical records to prove your injuries
How Do You Establish Liability?
Establishing liability in truck accident cases depends on the type of truck driver you're dealing with. The three main types of truck drivers are:
- Company drivers
- Independent owner-operators
The owner-operators are the owners of the trucks they drive. They are independent contractors. Sometimes they may lease their trucks to a trucking company. On the other hand, company drivers are employed by a trucking company, whereas independent owner-operators drive their own trucks to haul goods.
When establishing liability, your truck accident lawyer will want to determine if the driver was employed by a trucking company or they are self-employed and operating a truck they own. For example, if a truck driver employed by the vehicle's company causes an accident, the company may be held liable.
Other issues that arise when establishing liability are vehicle maintenance and cargo load problems. If the accident happened because the truck had a maintenance problem that the driver should have been aware of, this factor increases their liability. Similarly, if the accident occurred because the truck driver violated restrictions on weight and the type of material the truck was carrying, this also weighs on their liability.
Contact a truck accident lawyer to learn more.