When you or someone you love has been involved in a vehicle accident on the highway, the aftermath can be very disorienting. In the midst of fielding calls from your insurance company, assessing the damage to your vehicle and, of course, recovering from the physical and mental trauma inflicted by the accident, you may find yourself wondering whether it would be a good idea to contact an attorney.
Indeed, many people choose to seek the services of an attorney after a car or truck accident to help them sort through the legal issues around their accident. Hiring an attorney is the best way to understand your legal rights in the context of your accident.
One thing that many accident victims do not realize is that they may be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault driver. This compensation can be the key to helping them receive the best possible care in their recovery. Without the help of an experienced attorney, they would have suffered a huge financial impact and may not have had the resources they needed to heal.
Another thing that many accident victims do not know is that there is a major difference between a car accident attorney and a truck accident attorney. While both cars and trucks are vehicles that can cause costly and harmful collisions on the highway, the laws surrounding each type of vehicle are vastly different.
Difference Between Car Accident and Truck Accident Liability
The difference between a car accident attorney and a truck accident attorney starts with the primary responsibility borne by the driver of each vehicle. In cases of car accident, it is usually the driver alone that bears the responsibility. Unless the car was defective in some way, the burden of responsibility lies with the driver to know and follow the laws of the road. But in the case of a truck accident, the trucking carrier company can be found as much at fault or more so than the driver. For example, if the driver was improperly trained by the company, or if the company did not follow federal regulations or do its part to keep the vehicle in good working condition, a court is likely to hold the carrier company accountable in the truck accident case.
Investigating Car and Truck Accidents
Another difference between a car accident attorney and a truck accident attorney involves their forensic skill. In a case of car accident, the two drivers typically exchange their information, file reports themselves with police or with insurance companies, and the matter is quickly settled. But in the case of a trucking accident, much more information comes into play. Conducting a truck accident investigation, an experienced attorney will examine a large body of evidence including the truck driver’s employment history, the qualifications they used to apply for the job, and any drug or alcohol tests performed on the driver over the course of his/her career. The trucking accident attorney will look into the carrier company’s insurance information, inspect both the truck and the vehicles involved in the accident, and make sure that the truck’s electronic control module (or “black box”) is brought to court.
Determining Fault in a Trucking Accident
All of these factors are crucial in determining fault in a trucking accident lawsuit. For example, if a truck driver hits a bicyclist in a busy intersection while making a legal right-hand turn, it may be that the driver was not properly trained by their carrier company to understand and anticipate this type of accident, which is all too commonly known within the bicycling community.
In another example, a driver may fall asleep at the wheel on a highway at night and end up causing a multi-vehicle collision—a situation that would seem cut and dried as being the driver’s fault. But if the trucking company was unlawfully requiring the driver to stay on the road longer than the federal limit of 70 hours per week, they would be just as accountable for the accident as the driver was.
Speak to an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
If you are the victim of a highway accident, it is important to hire an attorney with the right kind of experience to represent you, in order to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. If you have been involved in an accident and are unsure of what to do, contact us for a free consultation. Our law firm has over 50 years’ experience of working with trucking law, and we can help you understand your rights and get you on the road to recovery.