TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
How are wrecks with trucks different?
Kentucky truck accidents are more complex than accidents that don’t involve commercial trucks or large trucks. The most obvious difference is that the weight of a commercial truck, compared to a typical consumer vehicle, causes much more catastrophic injuries and severe damages. Another difference is the commercial truck driver’s insurance company or employer will almost certainly immediately dispatch an investigator to the scene of the accident to start collecting evidence to support their side of the story; while you or your loved one is in the hospital. There may be different parties responsible for the accident, different evidence that is needed in the investigation of the accident, and different recoveries available.
A truck accident lawsuit may be brought against:
The trucking company
The manufacturer of the truck or a particular part of the truck
The mechanic who worked on the truck
Identifying the right defendant depends on the specific cause of your truck accident. The investigation into the cause of a crash may include accident reconstruction, interpreting log books and maintenance records, and reviewing compliance with government regulations that apply to the trucking industry. Hiring a lawyer who is familiar with all aspects of trucking safety regulations and truck accident issues can be crucial to a successful truck accident recovery.
Commercial vehicles, such as trucks, that are engaged in interstate commerce must carry more liability insurance than the amount required for passenger vehicles in Kentucky. This may allow you to recover a larger amount of compensation than you could recover from a car crash if you have been seriously hurt or suffered a catastrophic injury.
What to Expect When Pursuing a Truck Accident Recovery
Pursuing a fair recovery from a truck company requires deep resources and access to experts who specialize in analyzing these types of lawsuits. Without access to critical resources, a law firm will not be able to adequately handle your case. Therefore it is vital to hire a truck accident injury lawyer who knows how to successfully negotiate with truck companies.
Most truck companies will deploy an accident response team soon after a large truck is involved in a crash. These teams are equipped to survey the accident scene and immediately to start building a defense for their truck driver. They move quickly in acquiring information at the scene and interviewing witnesses to assess their driver’s fault. They are well financed and shrewd. If you work with a personal injury lawyer who does not typically handle truck accident cases, then they may not know how to handle the accident response team—and this may impact your financial recovery.
Similarly, soon after your crash, you can expect that an insurance adjuster will contact you. The insurance adjuster may seem concerned about your recovery; however, it is rarely a good idea to accept an insurance adjuster’s offer without consulting a truck accident lawyer. The insurance adjuster, no matter how nice she is, works for the insurance company and the insurance company profits when it pays out as little as possible in claims. Accordingly, the insurance adjuster’s job is to get you to accept a low settlement. Do not give any statements, do not sign any settlement offers, and do not sign any forms without first speaking with a Kentucky injury lawyer who handles such claims every day.
What You May Recover in a Truck Accident Case
If you successfully settle your claim with the insurance company or defendants or if your case is successful in court then you may be able to recover damages for past, current, and future:
Funeral expenses (if you lost a loved one in the crash)
Other accident-related expenses
Some of the factors that will determine the value of your settlement include the severity of your accident and injuries, the impact of your injuries on your life, whether a loved one died in the crash, the parties involved in the crash, and the disposition of the claims adjuster or jury.
Once you accept a settlement, you will almost certainly not be able to get further compensation in the future. Accordingly, it is important to make sure that your settlement is fair before you agree to it.
Different Kinds of Truck Wrecks
Some common types of fatal truck accidents include:
Jackknife accidents occur when the cab of the truck turns so sharply that it folds back toward the trailer. Sometimes the cab can detach from the trailer.
Rollover crashes occur when the entire truck falls on its side or lands upside down. It often crushes cars and anything else that it falls upon.
Override accidents happen when a truck rides over a smaller vehicle. Tailgating is a common cause of override crashes.
Underride accidents, when a car physically goes under the back of a truck, are surprisingly common and often fatal. They commonly occur in trucks without safety guards in place to prevent these types of accidents.
Head-on crashes happen when the front of a truck and the front of another vehicle collide while traveling in opposite directions. Head-on accidents can occur when a truck is in the wrong lane.
How to File a Truck Accident Injury Lawsuit
Your Kentucky truck accident claim begins when you file an insurance claim directly with the at fault insurance company or by filing a lawsuit in the proper Circuit Court. Because the insurance company is involved from the beginning, it is very important to hire a Kentucky personal injury lawyer who handles injury cases every day.
Shortly after your injury, it’s important to gather and save evidence to support your claim. The insurance company will certainly be collecting evidence to prove their driver was not at fault, it’s important you have someone doing the same in your corner. Important evidence in Kentucky truck accident cases include:
Truck video monitor recordings
Some trucks have cameras in the cab of the truck. While a trucking company may be reluctant to tell you if a camera was present, a lawyer can ask the question in such a way that the trucking company must provide a truthful answer and, if possible, provide footage from the camera.
A driver’s record of duty status (AKA “logbook”)
Every truck driver is required by federal law to keep detailed records of his drive. These records include the number of hours driven each day, when the driver took breaks, how many miles he drove, and so on. By reviewing these records, your truck accident attorney can calculate if the truck driver broke any federal laws that regulate the mandatory break and rest times for truck drivers.
Automatic on-board recording devices
This is an electronic version of the driver’s logbook that automatically records information pertaining to the truck driver’s driving and break behavior and can also greatly assist you during your injury claim.
Truck maintenance records
These records will detail when the truck was last inspected, what maintenance has been performed on the truck, and who did the maintenance. If your truck accident was caused by faulty brakes or the truck broke down because it was not properly inspected before the trip leading to your accident, the trucking company or maintenance technicians responsible can be held liable.
Drug and alcohol records for the truck driver
After a truck accident, a truck company must perform post-accident testing on the truck driver to determine whether he was intoxicated at the time of the truck accident. Additionally, truck companies are required to randomly test their drivers for drugs. If those records show a pattern of drug abuse or the company failed to perform such tests, they may be held liable for your truck accident and resulting injuries.
Information on any cargo-loading companies that loaded the truck’s contents
If your Kentucky truck accident was caused by an unsecured load or spilled contents on the roadway, it may have been a result of improper cargo loading. Determining those responsible for loading the truck’s cargo can help you determine if someone else was at fault for your truck wreck injury.
Photographs of the wreck and your injuries
A picture says a thousand words. Nothing beats a carefully crafted excuse by the insurance company than a picture proving who was at fault and the extent of your injury in your claim.
Police collision reports
The collision report is usually the first written opinion of who caused the wreck and the cause of any injuries. Understanding how a collision report is drafted, what certain codes or descriptions are intended to mean, and even which unit your vehicle is described as can provide key details to your case that may make or break it.
If someone else saw what happened then get their full name and phone number. It’s a good idea to ask them to provide a statement and their information to the officer conducting the investigation of the accident. Witness statements can be crucial to winning your case by providing an objective opinion regarding who caused the wreck.
You will need to prove that the truck driver, trucking company, or other party was negligent and that it was their negligence that caused your accident and resulting injuries. Each Kentucky truck accident is unique and may require claims against more than one party or even expert witnesses to support your argument for compensation.
As you pursue your recovery, you and your attorney will need to gather evidence about what happened in your crash and your injuries. You should expect the trucker, trucking company, insurance company and others to resist providing you with requested information. An experienced injury lawyer will understand how to force the insurance and trucking companies to respect your requests and provide the requested information. It’s important to request this information as soon as possible after your truck wreck injury. Your lawyer may request documentation and use one or more of the following expert witnesses to help prove your claim: accident reconstructionist, engineer, doctor, economist, and accountant.
How to File a Truck Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When your family has just suffered the loss of a loved one in a tragic truck crash, it can be difficult to think about paperwork and lawsuits, but such things are important.
A personal representative of the deceased’s estate must be recognized by the court for the purpose of beginning a wrongful death suit. If your loved one had a will, then the representative is the executor of the estate. If your loved one did not have a will, then the representative is called an administrator of the estate. In many cases, your Kentucky wrongful death attorney will help your claim by petitioning to be appointed as the personal representative.
The personal representative acts on behalf of the deceased’s beneficiaries, spouse, and children (if any), and in some cases other surviving relatives to file a wrongful death lawsuit and to pursue justice after a fatal accident.
The Importance of Having an Experienced Kentucky Truck Accident Attorney on Your Side
The trucking company and its insurer are going to have experienced attorneys working for them. It is the job of those attorneys to minimize your recovery. The defense team will work hard to find evidence that you were to blame for the trucking accident or to try to blame another party. You deserve to have someone working for you and fighting for your fair recovery.
Gray and White Law uses cutting-edge technology to carefully re-create the scene of your accident. Our Kentucky trucking accident attorneys want the jury in your case to see the accident and, therefore, clearly see who was at fault. Few firms have the resources needed to provide professional accident reconstructions. By drawing on the expertise of seasoned accident reconstructionists and computer animators, Gray and White Law can provide a professional reconstruction of your accident. Our experts are forerunners in accident reconstruction and have reconstructed some of the largest traffic disasters in the United States. They have, for example, worked for the families of the victims of the tragic Carrolton bus crash and they have been involved in multiple seven-figure settlements after a fatal Kentucky semi-truck crash.
When you retain the legal services of an experienced Kentucky injury lawyer who practices throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, including Louisville, KY and Lexington, KY, you are not only hiring someone who can conduct a thorough investigation, someone who is going to negotiate and fight on your behalf as a fellow Kentuckian, but with the Morrin Law Office you are hiring an injury firm that only practices in Kentucky and only focuses on Kentucky law. Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance and trucking companies while you focus on recovering from your truck accident injuries and getting your life back on track.
What To Do After a Wreck Involving a Commercial Truck
1. Seek Prompt Medical Attention
This is crucial to documenting your accident-related injuries and assuring that details regarding their extent and severity are preserved in your medical records.
2. Request a Copy of the Police Accident Report
The accident report can contain and preserve key evidence like law enforcement officials’ fault findings; the names, contact information and statements of witnesses; any citations issued or arrests made immediately after the accident; and much more. Because this information can be easy to forget, misremember or lose track of later, having a copy of the police report can be helpful to preserving these crucial details.
3. Send Spoliation Letters
These are formal written notices directing some party to retain certain items (evidence) related to a legal claim arising from some event (like an accident). Spoliation letters may also be referred to as litigation hold letters or stop destruction In truck accident cases, these can be crucial to send to motor carriers, who are only obligated (by state or federal trucking regulations) to retain certain records for a discrete period of time. A spoliation letter can prevent motor carriers from destroying important evidence after record-keeping requirements have expired.
4. Return to the Accident Scene
Revisiting the accident scene may uncover other evidence that was not readily apparent right after the wreck, like crash debris near the site, tire tread marks on the road and/or nearby surveillance cameras that may have recorded the collision. As such, this can be another pivotal way collect and preserve more evidence related to a claim.
5. Keep All Documents Related to the Accident & Resulting Injuries
Generally, it’s advisable to keep documentation and other evidence in a single location, like a binder, an accordion folder or a plastic storage bin. However you choose to maintain this evidence, be sure to keep it in a place where it won’t be susceptible to water, animal or other damage.
6. Create Electronic Records of Your Evidence
For documents, pictures and other evidence, consider creating a backup record by scanning each item to develop an electronic file version. This can be helpful if the physical copies get lost or destroyed. It can also be important to having easy, immediate access to this evidence later, like when it’s time to consult an attorney and move forward with your claim.