Misconceptions by personal injury attorneys when dealing with truck accident injury claims
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have been attorneys for hundreds of trucking accident injury claims. We have found that one of the biggest misconceptions by other personal injury lawyers in these claims is to treat a trucking accident the same as a car accident. In reality, these are completely separate worlds. A trucking accident injury, from a legal standpoint requires a completely different approach than a car accident injury because truck drivers and truck companies are governed by a vast array of regulations in addition to the basic responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle on our roads. There is an entire government body of federal regulations that truck drivers and companies must abide by before a trucking company even lets a truck driver on the road.
How Willis, Willis & Rizzi approaches trucking accident injury claims
When we receive a trucking accident case in our office, our initial thoughts are that this story didn’t start with what happened on the road that particular day. As trucking accident attorneys, we understand that there are chapters in this story that happened before the accident and injury. We want to look at what happened before the truck driver ever got on the road that day. You can separate trucking accidents into 3 categories:
- Before the driver ever got on the road, did the trucking company properly vet this driver? Did the company look into and determine is this a safe, responsible driver?
- The second category we investigate is was there driver error. What was the conduct of the truck driver? Was the driver intoxicated? Was the driver fatigued? Was the driver operating the truck recklessly?
- The third category we look into is the truck itself. Was there a problem with the truck due to a mechanical issue or failure to inspect?
In terms of looking at the actual vehicle collision there are many regulations that govern truck drivers in terms of their driving. The federal government regulates how many hours a truck driver can be on the road. Was that truck driver a fatigued truck driver? Was the driver driving in excess of the amount of hours they were allowed to drive? Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to get a load from point A to point B; time is money and the faster they can deliver their load, the better the truck driver looks.
In our experience trucking companies almost always take the approach to fight liability. They will tell you their truck driver was perfectly trained and doing nothing wrong. But in our digital age, what many people don’t know is that these truck drivers are being video recorded while they are driving. There are cameras in the truck cab with someone in a driver’s hub many miles away watching that driver. This information, this evidence, is in the hands of the trucking companies, and you need an experienced trucking accident lawyer to use every legal tactic available to get access to this evidence to determine if that truck driver was doing something they shouldn’t have been doing when the accident occurred.
What are the challenges for a lawyer in a truck accident injury claim?
In our experience as lawyers for truck accident victims we have faced many challenges. Concealment. Obfuscation. The insurance companies that insure these trucking companies have immense resources at their hands and have crisis response teams that in our opinion are present to engage in damage control in a trucking accident. This happens before we have even learned about the case.
When we get involved as attorneys in a trucking accident our goal is to determine what information is available, and to get access to those documents and information. Much of the information that we want to see in terms of that driver’s qualifications, whether that truck was properly inspected that day, and whether that truck driver should have been on the road in the first place is in the possession of the trucking companies and their insurance providers. Those are documents that we need to see that they control. There is a lot of battling to get those documents through the court process, and Willis, Willis & Rizzi are skilled at gaining control of the documents needed in a trucking accident case.
Determining fault and liability in a trucking accident injury claim
When determining fault and liability in a trucking accident injury claim often times trucking companies will claim they are not liable because the driver was an independent contractor. There are federal regulations that state whether the driver was an independent contractor or not, the driver works for the trucking company and the company is responsible for the conduct of that driver.
Many times, in these cases we are not only making a claim against the driver, but also a separate claim against the trucking company itself for their negligence in even hiring that driver, or their negligence in even retaining that driver despite behavioral or other concerns that came up while that driver was working for that company. We have brought direct claims against trucking companies for their failure to properly train or supervise that driver.
There is the conduct on the road at the time of the accident that the truck driver and company are liable for as well as conduct before the accident even occurred. And through the legal process we can often show that if a trucking company had done their jobs properly in training and supervising drivers or ensuring proper maintenance and inspection of the truck vehicle, we would not be dealing with the trucking accident today.
Why hire Willis, Willis & Rizzi as your Truck Accident Attorneys
Over the last 15 years, Willis, Willis & Rizzi has handled hundreds of truck accident cases and in our experience it is vital to get into the case as early as possible. There are letters that need to go out to protect information. There are things that we can do with regulatory agencies and the trucking companies themselves to let them know that we are involved and telling them that they need to save these documents because if litigation comes, we will be asking for these documents. We have the tools and resources to get our hands on this information, and we also know what steps to take if we feel like we are not being allowed to get access. We have the awareness and experience to go around the trucking companies to get access to information through the federal agencies that regulate truck drivers and trucking companies.
We feel that that type of experience in these trucking accident cases is invaluable. There are too many personal injury attorneys that lump trucking accidents in the same category as car accidents. They only look at the injuries and base the value of your case on the injuries alone. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we look at the case in a much broader way that goes beyond the injuries in the case. There is the injury, and there is what happened before the injury, what led to the accident even happening in the first place. We feel that what happened before the injury adds value to the trucking accident claim.
Contact us today at 330-535-2000 or fill out the request form and we can discuss your trucking accident injury case.