You immediately need to preserve the evidence. Do not let your car be impounded, demolished or sold. Even if your case will take weeks or months to move forward, keep your vehicle.
As soon as you are able, get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Trucking accidents require special knowledge and experience, as truck drivers and trucking companies are held to different standards than car drivers. So it is in your best interest to work with an attorney who handles trucking accidents.
What will an attorney do?
Your attorney will send the trucking company a letter of representation. He or she will obtain cell phone records and a temporary restraining order (also called a TRO, which is a court order that requires the company to preserve the evidence and the documents regarding the accident). Many large trucks have a “black box” which is an on-board recording device. This will need to be preserved. Your attorney will also locate witnesses and gather their statements. He or she will go to the accident site and do an independent investigation. This may involve performing an accident reconstruction with experts. Your attorney will coordinate with law enforcement to get access to the necessary accident report information.
What types of accidents do trucks cause?
The accidents can range from bumps and scrapes to serious accidents with high rate of speed. Typically, the faster the truck is going, the greater potential for severe injuries and death.
Regulations require large semi-truck and tractor-trailer drivers to only work a certain number of hours. Accidents with these drivers commonly involve driver inattention and distraction. Oil field workers often work long hours (18 hour shifts are not unheard of) and can be overtired when driving a commercial vehicle. Oil field workers and drivers are not held to the same regulations as 18-wheeler drivers.
What determines what a trucking accident case is “worth”?
It’s hard to say what an injury or case is worth because there are so many factors that affect the outcome. Factors can include the venue, the injuries and circumstances.
A personal injury attorney who works with large truck accidents can assess your situation and give you an estimate of what will most likely happen.
Board-certified attorneys are lawyers who meet several criteria: They typically have a successful practice, have experienced a larger number of trials, passed personal injury exams and know the laws that pertain to these cases. Because these cases require niche knowledge, not all firms take them. Smaller firms may not have the resources needed to pursue trucking claims (experts need to be hired and depositions need to be taken, for example). Small firms often refer these cases out to larger firms because of this.
Fortunately, these cases are taken on a “contingency basis.” This means the victim pays nothing if the firm does not win their case.
The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.
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