Truck Accident Investigation
Even minor car accidents can be traumatic. However, when semi-truck driver negligence is involved, the results can be truly devastating. On top of the enormous expense accrued, the injuries that follow semi-truck accidents are often life-changing.
There are accidents that are simply not preventable. However, most accidents are because they are due to negligence. From texting while driving to speeding, irresponsible actions have consequences and the guilty party must be held accountable.
If you were involved in a trucking accident by driver negligence, you may qualify for compensation to help with medical bills, missed wages or any other cost related to the collision. Learn more about your rights and how we can help by contacting the attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation at (404) 591-1800.
The following blog will help you understand how an experienced trucking attorney may prove driver negligence to protect your rights after an accident.
Getting Legal Help Immediately After a Truck Accident
Following a trucking accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as the law limits the amount of time you have to seek compensation after a wreck.
Accident investigations are most accurate when conducted immediately after the crash occurred. If you wait too long to act, you could lose your chance to seek justice for your damages.
The truck driver responsible for the accident is most likely already seeking legal advice. Don’t allow yourself to be blindsided – call and speak with an experienced trucking accident attorney today.
Holding the Negligent Driver Accountable
Mistakes happen, but negligence is preventable. Truck drivers, in particular, have a responsibility to be cognizant of their surroundings while driving, as the sheer size of a commercial truck increases risk and danger in a collision.
In cases of truck accident driver negligence, an attorney must prove that the driver was responsible for the crash. To prove negligence, your attorney will provide evidence following these four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
In case of truck accident negligence, truck drivers have a duty to drive responsibly and within the law, while the trucking company must maintain safe loading and maintenance practices.
If the truck driver fails to uphold the aforementioned duty of driving responsibly, he or she may be found liable. This is known as a breach of duty.
The offender’s negligent actions or inactions caused the injury and/or damage to your property. An attorney must prove that the negligent driver was responsible for the accident.
You were harmed or injured as a result of the offender’s negligent actions. An attorney must prove that the negligent driver caused actual damages as a result of the above causation.
Truck Accident Investigation
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations mandate that every trucking company maintain a driver qualification file (DFQ) on all drivers. This information is often a critical part of the investigation for the attorney.
A DQF must include:
- Driving records, including accident history for both the driver and truck
- The driver’s employment history
- Road test results
- Drug and alcohol test results
- Records for service hours
- Training certificates
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Copies of licenses
- Records of annual reviews
- Any medical certifications
- Employment applications
- Personnel records
It’s important to seek legal advice, as an experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain records such as a DQF for your potential case. Trucking companies are typically reluctant to hand over DFQ files, especially if the files might contain information that could be a liability for the trucking company or their driver. In some cases, an attorney may need to get a subpoena, forcing the release of this document.
A truck accident attorney will also ensure the driver meets all of the qualifications required to drive a commercial vehicle, as described below.
Commercial vehicle drivers must:
- Possess a valid commercial driver’s license
- Have passed a recognized driving test
- Be at least 21 years old
- Read and speak English
- Be able to safely operate a vehicle
- Be able to properly load and secure cargo
- Be in good health
- Possess a valid medical certificate, which includes a physical examination by a licensed medical examiner
After a collision, an attorney will investigate a number of factors, including whether the driver was under the influence, when the driver took his last break and information recorded by the truck’s black box (such as speed, braking activity, velocity changes or changes in RPMs and gear shifts). An attorney can gather valuable information to support your claim through a GPS device that shows the truck’s precise location and speed at the time of the accident.
As your committed advocate, your attorney will:
- Work with an accident reconstruction expert to simulate how the accident occurred
- Examine the truck or commercial vehicle for evidence pertaining to the driver’s negligence
- Interview the truck driver
- Interview first responders
- Interview law enforcement from the scene
- Interview safety officers from the scene
- Interview witnesses and/or passengers
- Take and examine photos of the scene
Having a skilled attorney at your side during this trying time can make all the difference for you and your family.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident Case?
When a trucking accident occurs, other people closely involved can also be held liable for the crash. For example, the staff who hired or trained the driver. Additional parties that can be penalized may also include the owner of the truck, the person or company that loaded the truck’s cargo, or the person or company that leased the truck the manufacturer of the vehicle, tires or other parts. Each party involved can be held liable for negligence.
It is not uncommon for trucking companies to try and avoid liability. They may claim the driver was not working for their company or that they don’t own the equipment, meaning they would not be responsible for the operation, maintenance, repairs or regular inspections of the truck or trailer. An experienced truck accident attorney knows how to work past these obstacles.
Common Signs of Negligence
When a trucking company is negligent, not only are they breaching their legal duty, they are also putting countless motorists in serious danger.
Common signs of negligence on the part of the trucking company:
- Overlooking safety regulations by allowing trucks with faulty parts to operate
- Pressuring drivers to make unrealistic deadlines
- Inadequate driver training
- Utilizing drivers who are not equipped to safely handle an oversized vehicle
- Allowing trucks to be loaded improperly
When a truck driver acts negligently, the consequences can be traumatic and extremely costly. Operating a vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds makes it critical for the driver to use the utmost safety and caution. It is simply inexcusable when commercial vehicle drivers drive distracted, irresponsibly or impaired.
With long hours and relatively no time spent outside of a truck, many drivers can become prone to dangerous mistakes.
Common Causes for Truck Driver Negligence
Truck drivers are under strict guidelines regulating hours of services and amount of sleep spent. Yet pressure to meet deadlines or poor judgment can lead to long, unsafe drives without breaks.
Operating a truck under the influence of alcohol, prescription or non-prescription drugs can lead to catastrophic consequences on the road.
Because trucks are more difficult to control than passenger vehicles – especially at high speeds – speeding is an inexcusably negligent act.
Dangerous Lane Changes
A truck’s size makes lane changes more challenging. Trucks require a much greater stopping distance than cars, which can pose a dangerous problem if one has changed lanes in front of you without adequate space.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
The large number of blind spots a truck has may increase the odds of the driver overlooking you when changing lanes. Trucks have multiple mirrors for these blind spots, but if the driver fails to check even just one, it could result in a dangerous lane change and possibly a collision.
Drivers found guilty of these or other forms of negligence can be held liable for your injuries and damages. If truck driver negligence can be connected to hiring, maintenance, delivery and deadline pressures from the trucking company, the trucking company can be found liable as well.
Contact Fried Rogers Goldberg
Trucking companies are often unyielding when protecting themselves against liability and will take every measure to refute claims, even if they are responsible for your pain and suffering. This is why it is invaluable to have an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side who is well-versed in the legal process involving trucking companies.
With more than 100 years of combined experience, Fried Rogers Goldberg dedicates more than 95 percent of our practice to commercial vehicle and trucking accident litigation. Pursuing legal action can seem intimidating, but you need not worry when one of our attorneys is on your side.
To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, contact our firm today at (404) 591-1800. Let us help ensure justice is served so you can peacefully move on with your life.
The Truck Accident Attorneys
The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC devote at least 75% of their caseload to representing the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Our extensive experience with the laws governing the trucking industry is the reason we are routinely successful at taking on trucking companies when someone is seriously injured.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
The Truck Accident Attorneys
The Truck Accident Attorneys at Fried Rogers Goldberg LLC devote at least 95% of their caseload to representing the victims of accidents involving tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Our extensive experience with the laws governing the trucking industry is the reason we are routinely successful at taking on trucking companies when someone is seriously injured.
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