If you have been in a traffic accident with a semi-truck, you will need to find a truck accident attorney who has experience representing clients who were driving a car. Accidents involving these specific types of trucks are significantly different than with smaller trucks or cars. The following are a few of the characteristic of these types of accidents that make them different.
There are regulations regarding maintenance.
Although this can be an issue in a car accident, because there are federal regulations regarding the upkeep of a semi-truck, there will be documentation that can provide clues about the cause of the accidents. These types of trucks are used for moving goods and materials across long distances, and without proper maintenance, they can be the source of accidents. Common examples of this are upkeep of the brakes and tire maintenance. These trucks are also subjected to periodic inspections by the Department of Transportation.
There are regulations regarding driving time.
A truck driver can't drive on the road for as long as they want. Truck drivers are trying to make a living, but there are laws in place to protect public safety. Drivers are required to record their time behind the wheel. And their mileage logs are evidence of adherence to these regulations. Of course, they can be falsified, but an attorney with experience with semi-truck accidents will know when an accident might be due to fatigue.
Semi-trucks create unique circumstances for accidents.
When drivers are changing lanes, it is imperative that they use their mirrors. This is especially important for the lanes on both sides of the truck because cars in this area can be side swiped. Another issue is with stopping the truck. It takes longer for a semi-truck to come to a stop, so it is not uncommon for a truck to rear-end a car. Ironically, this same argument is used to defend the truck drivers. The insurance company may argue that the car driver cut in front of the truck, and the truck driver could not stop in time. Although this type of argument is seldom effective when two cars are involved, an attorney with truck accident experience will be better equipped to fight on this issue.
If you have been in a car accident involving a semi-truck, you should seek out a personal injury attorney who has experience in this area of traffic accidents. The more experience the better because insurance companies that underwrite truckers and trucking fleets are routinely fighting claims and are threatened with lawsuits. You need an attorney who has the experience to negotiate with these insurance companies and also knows when to go to court.