Following an 18-wheeler accident, an injury lawyer can help a victim get the information and representation they need to get through this complicated legal process. About 5,000 people in the U.S. are killed every year in these wrecks, and more than 100,000 are injured. This is only a very small portion of traffic incidents (about 3 percent) involving large trucks, but because cargo trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles, they often result in more serious injuries.
IN THE WAKE OF AN 18-WHEELER ACCIDENT, WHY IS A LAWYER OFTEN NECESSARY?
Unlike typical passenger vehicle crashes, there are multiple parties that may share liability in the event of a wreck. These parties typically include:
- The driver of the truck
- The owner of the truck
- The company responsible for leasing the truck
- The loader or shipper responsible for loading cargo on the truck
- The manufacturer responsible for producing the truck’s parts
When a crash occurs, it can be extremely difficult to determine which of the parties are at fault. These parties often work to shift blame onto each other, complicating the situation further. For example, a leasing company may blame a brake manufacturer if the brakes malfunctioned prior to a crash. However, the brake manufacturer may then blame the owner of the truck for not maintaining the brakes properly. In general, these parties will do everything possible to distance themselves from the incident, so an experienced legal expert will often be needed to sift through the details of the crash and pinpoint who is responsible.
WHAT INFORMATION CAN HELP A VICTIM STRENGTHEN THEIR CASE AGAINST THE DRIVER OR TRUCKING COMPANY?
Both state and federal agencies require a certified inspector investigate every crash that involves a commercial truck. During the investigation, the inspector will focus on verifying the integrity of the truck and determining the condition of all mechanical parts. This will help determine if manufacturer liability is involved. However, this information is not recorded in the police report and will have to be retrieved from the relevant government agencies.
Most commercial trucks are now also equipped with sophisticated recording devices that act much like the black boxes in commercial aircraft. These recording devices keep track of many things, including the speed the truck is moving at, recent changes in speed, patterns of brake usage, and how long the driver has been operating the vehicle. This information can be used to determine if driver error was a factor in the crash. However, this information may be destroyed right away following an 18-wheeler accident, but an injury lawyer can help prevent this and analyze the information for the victim. An injury attorney can also follow up with witnesses and determine if the trucking and loading company were operating within safe boundaries.
Handling all of this while recovering from injuries can be exhausting and overwhelming, so anyone hurt in a commercial truck crash should consider speaking to Terry Bryant and his team of experienced injury attorneys. With the help of a legal expert, a victim will have information on their side and an opportunity to get the compensation they need to recover from the accident.