Why Discovery Following a Trucking Accident is Both Critical—and Complex
Due to the complex relationship between trucking companies, their drivers, and the truck manufacturers, truck accident "discovery" (gathering of evidence, which can include through subpoenas and legal procedures) is absolutely crucial in a serious injury case. There are many causes of truck accidents, but the bottom line is that when a 35,000-80,000 pound truck comes into contact with a 5,000 pound passenger vehicle, it is clear who will come out on the losing end. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates there are over half a million trucking accidents each year, resulting in over 5,000 fatalities.
Over ninety-eight percent of these deaths are comprised of the driver or passengers in the automobile rather than the truck driver, and overall one person is injured or killed in a truck accident every sixteen minutes. If you have been the victim of a serious trucking accident whether it was a result of clear negligence or not, you need serious help to deal with the aftermath, including injuries, medical bills, loss of work and income and the pain and suffering you have dealt with since the time of the accident. Because of the particular complexities of trucking accidents it is prudent to hire a highly experienced trucking accident attorney immediately following your accident for several reasons:
- An attorney will be able to subpoena the black box on the truck if it's equipped with one, before that crucial information is destroyed. The trucking company will not simply hand over the black box, and it can contain the information your attorney needs to get you the settlement you deserve. The black box on a truck records average speeds, number of hard stops, maximum speed and hours the truck has been in service. If your accident was caused by an overly tired trucker, or one who was driving in a reckless or negligent manner, this piece of evidence can literally make your case.
- Your attorney will make sure no critical evidence is hidden or destroyed and if necessary can obtain a court order which will prohibit the trucking company taking the wrecked truck where it cannot be looked at for evidence. An experienced trucking attorney knows about recreating the accident and what evidence will be important down the line.
- There are legal time limits and constraints you will face when dealing with a trucking accident, and your attorney will make sure none of those deadlines are missed.
What Questions will My Attorney Ask of the Driver and Trucking Company?
An experienced trucking attorney is well aware of the specific nature of the questions which must be answered in order to prove your case. He will ask whether the driver has had prior traffic citations or been involved in any other collisions, and will want to know if the trucker has been cited for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The attorney will zero in on the driver's level of training and experience as well as what pre-employment screening process the driver was subject to prior to employment. Your attorney will want to examine the trucker's logs, and will request any communications the driver has had with his company since the accident.
The trucking company will be asked to state whether the driver of the truck was acting within their specific scope of employment at the time of the accident, as well as to produce their company safety policies and procedures. The company will also have to describe how the driver was trained, and who is responsible for overseeing safety on a daily basis. Your attorney will inquire as to whether or not the driver involved in the collision was tested for alcohol and drugs following the collision and the results of any tests. If the company is contending that equipment failure was a factor in the accident, they will be asked to identify the nature of the equipment and the nature of the failure as well as documentation of such failure.
Although these are just examples as far as the investigation and legal discovery process your attorney may engage in on your behalf, and every case is different and different steps may be appropriate or justified you can see it can be a very complicated procedure, and especially in a serious injury case, we believe that your interests are best served by an attorney or law firm that has lots of experience in trucking accidents specifically. Your attorney is the advocate in your corner, and will protect your rights and fight to get you the best settlement possible for your accident.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 37 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Truck Accident Case!
Our trucking accident lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia work diligently to maximize the financial recovery we obtain for our clients. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.
Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.