18 wheeler crash cases are usually more complicated than your ordinary car accident case. Getting the best result for you often requires a truck accident lawyer with specialized knowledge and experience. Some ways truck accidents are different from car accident cases include:
- Truck Safety Regulations. Car drivers are required to follow state and local motor vehicle laws. Truck drivers are also required to follow these. In addition there are hundreds of pages of specialized safety rules called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) most American truckers and trucking companies must follow. The FMCSRs cover things like truck driver skills and qualifications, hiring procedures, drug and alcohol testing, driving and work time limits, safe driving rules, truck safety standards, maintainence and more. Knowing and being able to use the FMCSRs is often essential to getting the best result in your 18 wheeler accident case. Most legal education provides no FMCSR training. Lawrence Flick has completed specialized U.S. Department of Transportation FMCSR training. Before you hire a lawyer for your truck crash case find out if they have had this training.
- Specialized Evidence. In a car crash case a lawyer is typically going to want the police report, photos of the damage to your vehicle, accident scene photos, medical bills and records. Evidence in a truck crash case is specialized and goes way beyond that. Trucking companies keep lots of records. Driver qualification files, time records (logs), inspection reports and repair records for the truck are just some. Knowing what to ask for, understanding what is provided and knowing if records are missing requires specialized knowledge that experienced truck accident lawyers should have. You are going to be at a serious disadvantage if the lawyer you hire for your 18 wheeler case doesn’t have this specialized knowledge.
- Insurance is Different. Most car accident cases involve personal auto insurance polices and liability coverage which often ranges from $ 25,000 to $250,000. 18 wheelers and other big trucks usually are covered by some kind of commercial insurance. The amount of liability coverage, also called “policy limits”, is usually much higher than most personal auto policies provide. The trucking company may also have additional layers of insurance which provide more liability coverage than the basic policy. Truck insurance policies are also usually required to contain special provisions called an “endorsement” which limits insurance company defenses to a claim under the policy. This is a specialized area. We have a whole book in our library devoted just to this endorsement. It is important for your truck accident lawyer to know about this endorsement and understand if and how it effects your case.
- Different Kinds of Crashes. Most car crash cases we handle involve rear end collisions or some type of intersection collision like where the driver did not yield the right of way at a stop sign or during a left turn. Truck crashes happen in these ways. There are also many other kinds like jackknifes, rollovers, trailer breakaways, runaway trucks, falling cargo incidents, crashes involving more than one semi and underride crashes not usually seen in car accidents.
- Finding out Why Your Semi Crash Happened is Often More Complicated. Inattention, driver distraction and speed are common car crash causes. The fault is usually completely on the driver. In truck crash cases the crash is often the last event in a series of bad choices made by the trucker and trucking company management. For example, the trucker who caused truck crash may have been behind the wheel longer than the safe driving hours allow and was tired. Company management may have told him to do this or looked the other way as their drivers regularly violated these rules. So the fault can go way beyond a bad choice by the trucker and all the way up the corporate chain of command.
- Federal Court. The trucking industry is a national business. The trucking company and driver involved in your truck wreck are likely from states other than yours. In federal court this is called “diversity of citizenship” and meets one of the basic requirements for filing a lawsuit in federal court. The rules and procedures in federal court are often more complicated and many plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers prefer to avoid federal court. Even if your truck crash lawsuit is filed in state court, the trucking company’s lawyers may be able to transfer it to federal court if it meets federal court jurisdiction requirements. Unless it is clear that your case does not meet these requirements you probably want a truck accident lawyer who is comfortable in federal court and has as track record of sucesss there. At Flick Law Firm we have been sucessfully litigating truck crash cases in federal court for more than 20 years.
- Time Demands of Your Case. As you can see truck crash cases can be complicated and time consuming. They often take years to complete. Many lawyers handle a large volume of cases each of which have their own client and time demands. It may be difficult for them to devote the time and focus to your case required to get you the best result. Many of the best truck accident lawyers know how time and attention consuming these cases can be and often choose to handle fewer cases so they can devote the necessary time to your case needed for the best result.
- Higher Stakes for Everyone. A loaded semi can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. The potential for catastrophic or fatal injuries in these crashes is very real. You may have huge medical bills, ongoing medical needs, not be able to do your job or be totally unable to work. The crash may affect the trucker’s ability to work as a truck driver in the future. Depending on the outcome, the trucking company’s insurance may go up. If they don’t have enough insurance they may be facing a huge judgment, bankruptcy or going out of business. The insurance company may be facing a very large claim. Given what is at issue the truck driver, trucking company and insurance company may be tempted to be less than truthful. We have a video of a trucker lieing to law enforcement, have seen the defendant’s story about how a crash happened change and know about evidence being destroyed. You need a truck accident lawyer who knows these games and has successfully dealt with them.
From the about it is easy to see how truck accidents are different from car accident cases. To talk to a an experienced truck accident lawyer about your case call us at (913) 648-7000. We look forward to talking to to you.
THIS PAGE WAS LAST REVIEWED AND EDITED BY LAWRENCE FLICK ON FEBRUARY 26, 2020