Have you been injured in a semi-truck accident?
An accident involving an 18-wheeler or a semi-truck is not like a common auto accident. Anyone who has ever been behind the wheel of a big-rig or involved in a truck accident knows the hurtling mass of a 20-ton vehicle is not able to maneuver as easily as a car or vehicle, and often causes a great destructive force. While semi accidents are not the most common accidents on Kansas highways, they are often the most deadly.
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, Patterson Legal Group, LC and our semi-truck accident attorneys may work on your behalf to obtain compensation for the injuries sustained by you or your loved one.
Act Promptly and Consult with a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney
Accident scenes where semi-trucks are involved change very quickly and the memory of witnesses soon fade. It may be critical for your claim to take action immediately. It’s important to preserve evidence of your medical condition and injuries, and evidence of what happened at the accident scene. Many professional trucking companies operate “SWAT team” style cleanups and get to the accident scene immediately. These corporate employees are the first to take photos and measurements before the accident scene is cleared, which may happen before you are able to take them.
The police may also take crash-scene photos and allow evidence to be cleared from the scene. If you have the chance, ask that police do take pictures. If your condition allows you to take pictures on your own, any photographic evidence you are able to collect may be helpful. Photographic evidence you can collect at the scene may help an accident reconstruction expert explain to you, your attorney, and perhaps a judge and jury, what happened to cause the 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident to occur.
Common Causes of Kansas Semi-Truck Accidents
Many semi-truck and 18 wheeler accidents are caused by drivers who are speeding, suffering from driver fatigue, or who are not paying attention to the road. While truck drivers are regulated to the number of hours they can drive and have mandated rest periods each day, sometimes these rules are violated. It may be necessary to review drivers’ logs to look for violations before they disappear following an accident.
Other types of trucking accidents may include:
- Aggressive driving;
- Failure to inspect truck equipment (tires, brakes and lights);
- Illegally work-shifts;
- Oversized loads;
- Driver boredom or cell phone usage;
- A lack of side mirrors or unusually large blind spots;
- Dangerous lane changes;
- Jackknifing; or
- Speeding, ignoring posted reduced truck speed limit.
Difficulties of Semi-Truck Accident Cases in Kansas
The trucking industry is in the business of sending vehicles on the road and works to produce studies and evidence to shift the blame for a semi-truck crash from the truck driver to a passenger car driver. Experienced Kansas semi-truck accident attorneys should be aware of misleading information truck companies provide and have knowledge of how to counter these tactics in court. Other common difficulties truck accident attorneys encounter include:
Falsification of Truck Driver’s Logs:
Drivers are often pressured by their employers to make deliveries quicker than road conditions allow. Prior legal cases have revealed truck drivers may be pressured to falsify a driving log, sometimes to show they are fit to be driving on the road. Not all lawyers are aware of the tricks truck drivers use in order to falsify their driving records.
Sometimes employee manuals from semi-truck companies reveal the company has encouraged the employee to use illegal methods on the job. The service industry catering to truckers has also been known to support falsification of driver’s logs. Time-stamps may not be printed on fueling receipts, or with devices used for interstate toll roads. An experienced attorney may have to investigate cell phone records, air cards, ATM transactions, Q-Com, and any other available information to reconstruct an accident.
Weigh station data is not publicly disclosed and is routinely destroyed after a short period of time.
Trucking companies often have policy manuals that appear great on paper and meet every standard as required by the professional industry. However, it is not always a reality that the company requires semi-truck drivers to follow the policy set forth in the company manuals. Federal and state regulations designed to prevent truck drivers from substance abuse, overuse of stimulants in order to work long hours, are frequently abused. Attorneys who are experienced in truck accident litigation have the ability to identify these deficiencies in company policies, which may be necessary for recovery in your case.
Finger Pointing from Employees, Companies, and Manufacturers:
When more than one person or company is in charge of equipment that has injured you, there may be more than one person who is legally responsible for your injuries. However, tracing the origins of where a defect may have started is very difficult. Often, it is beyond the ability of an attorney, which is why it is necessary to hire a team of investigators and industry experts to pin down the real cause of your accident and to hold accountable the parties responsible for your injuries.
Financing your Case:
Commercial, private, and governmental semi-truck operators have deep pockets they are willing to use to defend themselves from semi-truck crash claims and property losses. It may be necessary to hire multiple experts to determine the level of responsibility for each party involved to determine your amount of recovery. Prosecuting a truck accident claim is complex and you should only select a firm with resources to represent you against a large and well-financed defendant.
The Party that Acts Quickest Gains an Advantage:
The trucking company involved in an accident may have representatives on the scene minutes after it happened, while you may be coping with an injury, in the hospital or dealing with the loss of a loved one. The most effective way to counter the tactics used by a large trucking company is to start the investigation of your accident immediately. This starts by obtaining effective legal representation, without delay.
Preservation of Evidence:
Driver’s logs, computer records, and “black box” data must be secured before it disappears or is lost. Large commercial companies have policies to routinely destroy data as quickly as possible, which they view as a way to reduce potential liability they may owe to an injured victim. Federal regulations permit trucking companies to destroy drivers logs and other essential data after a period of six months. These items may be critical for your lawyer or an accident reconstruction expert to determine the surrounding circumstances and cause of your truck accident. These pieces of evidence should be safely secured and stored by your attorney to help your case.
CONTACT OUR SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
Patterson Legal Group, LC works on a contingency fee basis and does not charge a fee unless you collect. Our Kansas semi-truck accident attorneys are experienced with handling complex 18-wheeler and semi-truck accident cases. If you, or someone you love, have suffered and injury as a result of a semi-truck accident, contact our lawyers for a free case evaluation. For more information on our semi-truck accident attorneys, click here.