Truck drivers are typically highly-trained professionals who work long hours, and they often drive in congested traffic at high rates of speed delivering products needed across the nation. But, when a big truck is involved in any accident, the first party that is evaluated for driving behavior is the driver of the big-rig. While it is easiest to reconstruct the course of the truck, the driver many times is doing all they can to prevent an accident. This is the dilemma truck drivers face when they have been part of a collision. The scrutiny from law enforcement and the legal counselors of those injured will focus on the truck driver because insurance coverage is almost always higher on tractor-trailers and the potential for significant settlement is much greater when the driver’s comparative negligence percentage can be enhanced by any technicality. This potential for overt attention to the truck driver is exactly why all transport professionals should have an experienced truck accident lawyer in mind at all times in the event they are involved in an accident.
State law enforcement agencies, and particularly the California Department of Transportation, will send an investigation team to the crash site as soon as possible following the incident. First responders will begin the process immediately, but DOT representatives may not arrive until well after the fact. Even with this attention to detail, state agencies do not always investigate the accident regarding all issues, such as inspecting the trailing flat bed or container for improper loading. This activity is a common cause of accidents outside of driver actions. Manpower issues can be a real problem for the government agencies, and many times an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney can conduct an independent investigation on the behalf of the truck driver and provide evidence of fault on the part of other involved entities or drivers. Thorough investigations are a necessity with many accidents, and a personal injury lawyer can often provide this additional inspection. West coast trial lawyers can then use any uncovered evidence in supporting the driver when the case goes to court.
Personal Injury Financial Recovery
While the primary injuries addressed in a truck accident will be for injured passengers in standard vehicles involved in the collision, truck drivers are regularly injured in crashes. And sometimes the injuries are fatal. In addition, the truck driver is not always the primary driver at fault. This does seem to be the stereotype when big truck accidents happen, but other issues caused by drivers of standard passenger vehicles can be the ultimate negligence indicators. All accident cases hinge on negligence, and the trucker is not always the ultimate culprit. Insurance providers will also attempt enhancing the comparative negligence of the truck driver when they have significant injuries, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can defend the driver when they are attacked in the adjudication process with enhanced negligence claims of those required to pay benefits as well as other injured claimants wanting to increase their financial recovery amount.
Shipping Company Response
The first step a transportation company will take when an accident occurs is dispatch an investigation team to the accident scene immediately in hopes of impacting the final determination by accident reconstruction specialists. Trucking companies employ reconstruction experts just like law enforcement agencies, and their priority is with protecting the company. The employing company will commonly even attempt distancing themselves from their own driver if they think it will be an aid in avoiding vicarious liability. This is a specific problem for owner-operators because they are technically contracted independent agents. However, this is not what the court will look at when the case goes to trial, which is very common in truck accident cases because injured party attorneys are after as much compensation as possible. Many times the driver is caught in the middle.
Truck drivers are not always totally at fault for an accident, even when evidence suggests so in an undetermined causation collision. Auto parts manufacturers could also be liable when their products do not respond as they state when products are sold. The same is true for manufacturers of containers and flatbeds when they contribute the causing an accident as well. The truck driver in many ways is just another injured party when vicarious liability could be a component of the crash, and truckers need legal representation for whole damages as well as other drivers and passengers. Of course, the employing trucking company could also be issuing driving instructions that skirt the rules and regulations of the highway, and their requirements can be an element in determining fault. Companies that contract the shipment transfer could also be liable when they have improperly loaded the cargo, including overloads that are so common in truck accidents. Having a good truck accident attorney thoroughly investigating the mishap can be a real advantage at arriving at an accurate outcome regarding true responsibility.
Defending a Driver Investigation
Not only are truck drivers thoroughly investigated at an accident scene, they are also often investigated microscopically by the injured plaintiff legal representatives looking for any detail that can be used to increase the comparative negligence percentage for truck drivers. Prior driving history is central to this type of over-evaluation. Any citation will be brought out in court if it can help, and especially when plaintiff legal counselors are pushing for punitive damages or wrongful death assignments from a jury against the driver or the employing transportation company. The employing companies prior citation history is vital as well, and drivers can be attached to other incidents involving the company.
Contact a California Truck Accident Lawyer
Never assume your employing transportation company will defend you in a truck accident case. Many times the issue becomes one of “everyone for themselves” when financial responsibility is being assigned. Always retain an experienced and aggressive legal representative like our west coast trial lawyers in Los Angeles for solid and comprehensive representation.