Help from the Experts
Truck Accident FAQs
- Remain at the scene unless you need emergency medical attention
- Contact the police and get the investigating officer’s department and badge number
- Collect the driver’s name, license plate number, trucking company, location, and contact information as well as information for witnesses
- Take photos of the scene, damage to your vehicle, the truck, property damage, skid marks, and visible injuries
- See a doctor immediately, even if you feel fine in the event of delayed-onset symptoms, internal injuries, or brain injuries
- Contact our law firm as soon as possible after the accident
If the truck driver was responsible for your accident, you may be able to sue the trucking company, depending on the circumstances. Because of the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is legally liable for the actions of an employee who is on the job. If the trucker is a direct employee of the trucking company, this doctrine applies. However, if the trucker is an independent contractor, respondeat superior may or may not apply, depending on the amount of supervision exercised by the trucking company.
There are also cases in which the trucking company is directly liable for your injuries. For instance, our investigation may show that the trucking company failed to properly maintain the truck, leading to a collision when the brakes or engine failed, or that the truck driver was under pressure to work through mandatory breaks, leading to fatigue. Or we may be able to show that the trucking company negligently hired a driver with a history of drunk driving or speeding.
The shipper of the cargo is generally not liable for your injuries – unless they also own the truck, of course – but there are exceptions. If the cargo was hazardous or otherwise dangerous and the shipper failed to properly notify the driver, we may be able to pursue a product liability claim.
Immediate legal action is needed to protect your legal rights after an accident, and an attorney’s help is critical. For instance, you need an attorney to take action to prevent the trucking company from destroying the hours of service (HOS) log, which they are normally only required to keep for six months. The information in that log may show that the trucker was fatigued at the time of the accident, leading to a collision.
In addition to helping you prove that the trucker was at fault, an attorney can help you get maximum compensation for your accident. Truck accidents often cause serious injuries that will require long-term medical care. You need an experienced truck accident lawyer from our firm on your side to fight for compensation for the full, long-term cost of that care.
Finally, an attorney can help with the often complex insurance situation following a truck accident. Tractor-trailers generally have separate insurance policies for the cab and the trailer, and depending on the circumstances, other insurance companies may be involved as well. Our attorneys know how to coordinate different available coverages and handle subrogation claims to maximize the amount of compensation that actually goes to you.
Unfortunately, out-of-state trucking companies often believe they can hide from accident victims. Our attorneys know how to track down the trucking company and bring them to the negotiating table – or face them in court. If necessary, we’ll retain a local attorney in the trucking company’s home state to help with your case. If that’s the case, we’ll split our fee with the other law firm, so you won’t end up paying more.
Absolutely not. The trucking company’s priority is to reduce its own liability – at your expense. Any information you give them will be used for that purpose. That’s why you should contact our law firm immediately after your accident. Once you have us on your side, we’ll contact the trucking company and their insurance carriers to let them know you have retained an attorney, and we’ll handle all of their questions from that point forward.
In general, you shouldn’t even entertain a settlement offer until you have completed your medical treatment and have a sense of the full cost of your accident, and you definitely shouldn’t accept the trucking company’s money until you’ve gone over the settlement offer with an experienced attorney from our firm. You only have one chance to be made whole again – once you’ve taken their money, you can’t go back and sue for more. That’s why you need us to review your case and see whether the settlement actually covers the full cost of your accident.