After being injured in an accident with a semi-truck, a victim will be in pain, upset, and have endless costs adding up. These losses may make a victim wonder if hiring a truck accident attorney is the best solution.
Before calling an attorney, however, a victim needs to gather some information.
Considering the sheer size of a semi-truck, it is no surprise that semi-trucks can cause severe accidents and more deaths than other types of motor vehicle accidents. In fact, according to ScienceDaily, new research shows that semi-trucks are involved in bigger losses and account for 11 percent of fatal road crashes.
Hiring A Mesa Accident Attorney For Your Truck Accident
A truck accident is not the same as a regular car accident. Instead, a victim must look for an attorney that has experience in the trucking industry and accidents with commercial vehicles. Proving liability and collecting damages for these types of cases is extremely complex. There are federal and state laws that may apply, and there may be a question of liability when an independent contractor is driving the truck.
To help expedite the process, there are four items an accident victim can gather information on. If they do not have access to this information, their accident attorney may be able to help answer these questions.
4 Questions And Answers For Truck Accident Attorneys
1. Who Is Liable For The Accident?
Sometimes a victim may know the name of the truck driver and the company they work for. While these parties may not be liable, it is important to gather this information still.
Typically, a truck accident will result in multiple parties being liable, according to FindLaw. In fact, the responsible parties may include the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, or the company responsible for maintaining the truck’s safety systems.
In some cases, the legal theory of respondeat superior will apply. Respondeat superior, according to Wikipedia, is when the employer becomes responsible for the actions of their employee; as long as those actions were performed as part of the employee’s regular duties.
Even if the victim is unaware of who is liable, an experienced attorney can anticipate which parties may be involved and who is ultimately liable for the accident and injuries.
2. What Was The Driver Doing At The Time Of The Incident?
What a trucker is doing at the time of the accident is critical. Sometimes a truck driver is distracted or fatigued. Other times they are obeying the rules of the road, but their truck’s brakes fail.
It is important for an attorney to find out whether the driver was properly licensed and trained too. Also, an attorney will assess if the driver had any physical or mental impairments that made them unsafe on the road.
Lastly, a Mesa accident attorney will evaluate the evaluation and hiring process for the trucking company to see if they negligently selected their drivers.
Negligent hiring and negligent retention can make an employer liable for the actions of their drivers.
3. Was The Truck Driver Fatigued?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 4,000 people die in fatal semi-truck accidents each year, and a vast majority of those are due to fatigued driving. This is why the federal government has imposed strict rules for how many hours a driver can work and how many hours they are required to take off before driving again.
The “hours of service” rules were created to stop fatigued driving. The rules require drivers to take a specified number of breaks and have an extended rest period. Also, they must have specific rest times between 1:00 am and 5:00 am; the hours where fatigued driving is most likely to occur.
If the driver was fatigued, they are reckless and liable. If their employer knew they were tired or required their drivers to ignore the federal regulations, then the company could also be responsible for the injuries caused by the accident.
An attorney can find out if the driver was fatigued by reviewing their timesheets or driving logs. They will calculate the number of hours the driver was in operation, how many breaks they received, and if the company or driver violated any federal laws.
4. Was There A Chance Of Equipment Failure?
Sometimes the driver and the employer are not liable for the accident because the equipment failed. In this instance, it may be the company that manufactured the equipment or the company responsible for maintaining the truck that is liable for the injuries.
For example, if the truck’s brakes fail, it is beyond the driver’s control. The manufacturer, however, may bear some of the liability, especially if they were aware of a defect in the braking system.
Accident Victims Need A Mesa Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are highly complex and often deal with serious injuries and high-value damages. Therefore, a Mesa accident attorney should be contacted immediately after the crash occurs.
Victims of truck accidents may be able to recover damages for several losses, including financial hardship, lost wages, medical bills, pain, emotional suffering, and possibly punitive damages. If the company acted in bad faith, the costs might be increased for their actions.
Truck accident victims can contact the Mesa accident attorneys at Tobler Law for assistance. Tobler Law will fight aggressively for their clients’ rights to compensation. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 480-898-9700 or request an appointment online.