Determining Who Is at Fault After a Truck Accident
If you've been in a motor vehicle accident with a truck, there is certain to be significant damage, if not serious injuries or loss of life. Thousands of people are killed each year by truck accidents in the United States, and most of these incidents can be avoided. However, proving fault in a subsequent case can be tricky. It is up to a truck accident lawyer to investigate the cause of the accident and win the case in your favor. During this process, trucking companies can put up a fight and be a force to be reckoned with.
The first strategy on the part of the trucking company is to place the blame on the other driver. That is why it is so important to contact a lawyer right away and not wait, because your story will be less credible and the laws may be in the company's favor anyway. While there are many reasons for truck accidents, automobiles are sometimes the cause. The truck company is certain to look into fault on the part of the other vehicle. It can say that the driver of the passenger car was speeding, abruptly changed lanes, was drinking, was driving recklessly, or was in the blind spot of the truck driver.
These reasons would place the fault on the passenger car driver, which is the best case scenario for the truck company. However, many unsafe practices lead to accidents caused by trucks, including a manufacturer's or company's negligence. If an accident occurred because the brakes failed on the truck, the company can still blame the manufacturer if it assumes the brake parts were defective, either because they were not designed properly or there was a mistake during manufacturing. Improper maintenance would point to the company as being liable, especially if records show a lapse in maintenance or the suspected defect was the subject of a government recall the company didn't adhere to.
Other common causes of truck accidents include driver fatigue, driving under the influence, mechanical failure, poor maintenance, traffic violations, unsecured loads, and a lack of driver training. A truck accident lawyer knows what the evidence for these looks like and also has access to a team of experts to investigate an accident scene, examine maintenance records, and check the driver's logs on travel time and rest. Expert help is important because trucking companies hire their own industry experts, and winning a truck accident case can be complicated. Truck accident lawyers do not only have expertise on the unique federal laws governing truck driving rules. They can also summon forensics experts who have access to state-of-the-art technology, which helps them reconstruct the accident and accurately prove whether it was the driver of the truck or the passenger vehicle who was really at fault.
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Trucking Info, "Trucking Statistics", http://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm (accessed March 15, 2011).
TheLaw.com, "Commercial Truck Accident Law", http://www.thelaw.com/guide/accident/commercial-truck-accidents-law/ (accessed March 15, 2011).