After defending the tractor trailer companies for years, I now spend my time representing those who have been injured by the negligence of tractor trailer drivers. Handling a tractor trailer case is much different than a standard car accident case. There are many issues and laws that are specific to 18 wheelers, semi trucks, and tractor trailers that are unique and require specific knowledge in order to handle properly. I have seen first hand where tractor trailer companies and insurance companies immediately send a team of experts and defense lawyers to the scene of a bad tractor trailer accident. They take photos, interview witnesses and immediately begin defending the case. It is important to make sure you hire a trucking attorney that knows how to get access to the same information, which will likely include a post accident blood test to determine if the driver was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Also, most tractor trailers are equipped with an engine control module that stores valuable data such as the speed of the vehicle at the time of the accident. This data must be preserved, if you wait too long and the data may be lost forever. Our firm teams up with experts to analyze and interpret the data. It is also important to obtain any information related to the drivers hours of service – sometimes court orders are necessary. There are manual logs as well as GPS devices that can help you determine if a driver was driving longer than he should have been. The FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) limit the amount of time a driver can continuously operate an 18 wheeler. According to the United States Department of Labor, driver fatigue is a primary factor in 4.5% of fatal truck accidents and is a secondary factor in an additional 10.5% of such crashes.
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This is just a few of the important items when handling a trucking case. In sum, handling a tractor trailer injury claim is more challenging and requires certain experience. Please do not hesitate to call our office to speak with an experienced tractor trailer accident attorney today.