What Do I Need to Win a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Any auto accident is bad news, but crashes involving trucks are very serious business. If you have been struck by a semi, there are a few things you need to do to ensure a successful outcome in your lawsuit against the driver or the truck company.
Why are truck accidents so much more deadly than other types of road collisions?
Although car safety ratings are steadily increasing, there are two concerning figures published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which give cause for alarm.
The first is that the share of all fatal accidents in the US involving trucks has gone up every year except one since 2009. The second is that the share of truck accidents being responsible for all serious injuries sustained in road crashes is also up.
So what are the reasons for this? First of all, trucks are huge compared to cars and motorcycles. The sheer weight of most tractor trailers is almost incomprehensible when put alongside anything ranging from a convertible to even a large SUV. This means that no matter how safe your minivan might be, it's not going to be much help if you get t-boned by a semi-truck barreling down the road at 75 miles per hour.
Most truck accidents are caused by:
- Poor driver visibility - this is usually due to the much higher relative seating position of a truck’s front cab, which is especially deadly for passing motorcycles
- Driver distraction - remember, a huge number of truckers are doing long haul work, which means they may be driving all the way from Los Angeles to New York and are almost always on a pretty strict deadline. Truck drivers are required to stop and rest every so often, but it isn’t unusual for drivers, especially under company pressure, to cut corners
- Drugs and other forms of intoxication - Because of the pressure to cover long distances in as little time as possible, a lot of truck drivers consume too much caffeine or take amphetamines to stay awake. Amphetamines in particular, especially when mixed with a little alcohol, can have some not so great side effects when it comes to needing to be precautious after many hours on the road, especially at night
Please follow this link to learn more about the causes of truck accidents. The cause of the wreck will determine who the plaintiff or plaintiffs in your lawsuit will be.
Essential actions you need to take after any accident involving a truck
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, the first thing you need to do is contact emergency services and get help on the scene. Any truck accident is bound to involve injuries, so EMTs need to get there as soon as possible to render aid. Police need to be called in to interview witnesses and determine if the accident was caused due to illegal behavior, such as speeding, reckless driving, or drunk driving.
Be sure to photograph all damage to your own property, and, after receiving medical treatment, photograph and document any and all injuries you’ve received, however minor. Remember, after a serious physical trauma, such as getting hit by a truck, some injuries may not reveal themselves until later.
For example, bruising is an often overlooked thing that should be documented at the time because you may later develop complications in that part of your body. The picture of the bruising will connect the injury with the accident in court.
Putting together a good case
The police are responsible for identifying and interviewing witnesses, but you should still do your due diligence and collect the contact information of any witnesses at the scene. You and your attorney may very well need them down the road if your case makes it a court of law or they need to be interviewed for a deposition.
It may be that the accident was not the fault of the truck driver, but caused by a mechanical problem that predisposed the truck or a part of the truck to malfunction, such as brakes or the wheels. In these cases, the company that owns or operates the truck may be liable for damages.