How Does an Injury Lawyer Build a Case After a Truck Accident?

How Does an Injury Lawyer Build a Case After a Truck Accident?Washington, DC sees a lot of truck traffic. Although commercial trucks are prohibited on many streets within the District, large trucks freely travel on 395, major streets, DuPont Circle, and even Pennsylvania Avenue. With all of this truck traffic, the risk of accidents grows ever higher.

Being in a truck accident isn’t like being in a car accident. Authorities will want to launch a full investigation – not only to determine what happened, but also to identify all at-fault parties. Your insurance company and truck accident attorney will want to conduct their own investigations, too. In today’s blog, we want to talk about how we use the evidence and data from these investigations to build a case for your compensation.

What information and evidence do you review first?

A truck investigation involves several steps, as well as involves several parties. The process typically includes:

  • Collecting evidence, like photographing tire tracks (or lack thereof), damage, and debris at the accident scene. Authorities will also gather witness statements and note available sources of video footage.
  • Examining the vehicles to determine if the truck had any mechanical issues or defects that could have led to the accident.
  • Analyzing data for the vehicles involved, including electronic logging devices (ELDs), GPS units, cellphones, or other things that might help determine the cause of the accident.
  • Interviewing witnesses – including drivers, passengers, and passers-by – who may have seen what happened and what or who caused the accident.
  • Reviewing the records of the drivers involved in the accident, including their driving history, and any previous accidents or violations.

How can you tell if a truck driver is at fault for a crash?

Because they’re driving around multi-ton dangerous trucks, their drivers are generally held to a much higher standard than other drivers. There are a lot of rules around driving a truck – drivers can only drive for so long before they have to rest. The trucks can only carry a certain amount of cargo. There is a lower legal BAC limit for truckers, too.

Truckers must follow these regulations or face penalties. During an investigation, authorities will do things like:

  • Review the driver’s electronic logging device (ELD) to ensure they were following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours of service (HOS) regulations. These limit the hours a trucker can drive before needing to take a break or rest. If a driver or company breaks or falsifies these logs, they can be fined or penalized.
  • Check their commercial driver’s license (CDL) to ensure it is valid and has no outstanding citations or issues.
  • Check their medical records to ensure they are physically fit enough to drive a truck.

How can you tell if a trucking company shares liability?

In many truck accidents, it’s not just the driver who is liable; the trucking company shares liability. That could be the case because companies are typically liable for the actions of their employees (called “vicarious liability”) or because the company’s policies are unsafe, insufficient, or in violation of federal laws. A trucking company may be at least partially liable for a truck accident if:

  • It falsifies driving logs or otherwise acts in violation of HOS rules.
  • It fails to conduct proper background searches on its hires.
  • It fails to maintain and repair its fleet, therefore putting unsafe vehicles on the roads.
  • It creates an unsafe environment/encourages unsafe behaviors at loading docks.
  • It fails to conduct drug testing.
  • It engages in negligent hiring.
  • It fails to properly load and secure cargo on trucks before they leave for deliveries.
  • It fails to properly store or transport hazardous materials, or fails to mark trucks with appropriate HAZMAT signage.

Our attorneys will review all of the company’s records, including its history of any violations or negligent acts.

What does my attorney do with this evidence?

Your truck accident lawyer uses all of this evidence to build a strong case on your behalf. They will use these reports and data to bolster your claim, including:

  • Establishing liability. Accident reconstruction reports, witness statements, and video footage can all help prove who was responsible for causing the accident. Your lawyer can use these to help show who was at fault for your injuries and damages.
  • Demonstrating your damages. Evidence like medical records, financial records, and witness statements all go a long way in proving the extent of your injuries.
  • Refuting the other party’s arguments. The insurance company or at-fault party may argue that you are being untruthful, or that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. This is where evidence like witness testimony and other expert testimony comes in, to strengthen and prove the veracity of your statements.
  • Persuading the other party to settle. Having an overwhelming amount of evidence typically makes the other party willing to negotiate a settlement. When you have strong evidence of liability and fault, your attorney is in a good spot to argue you are entitled to maximum compensation.

Only an experienced personal injury lawyer has the skills and strategy you need to argue a persuasive case on your behalf.

What is the value of my truck accident case?

Your injury lawyer will also work to secure maximum financial compensation for your injuries and losses. This number is different for everyone, depending on the extent of your injuries and other factors personal to you. However, your attorney will take into account:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages, past and future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In the tragic event you lose a loved one in a truck accident, we can file a wrongful death claim on your behalf.

Please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC through this contact form or by calling our office.