Special litigation skills are necessary when handling personal injury accident cases involving a semi tractor-trailer and a passenger car. Much needs to be known about the semi tractor-trailer, owner of the semi tractor-trailer and travel schedules. Most large trucking companies now have on-board computers and satellite tracking devices. Obtaining all of the necessary information can make the difference between a small or large monetary recovery for damages to an injured party.
There are a unique set of laws that govern drivers of semi tractor-trailers and trucking companies. The lawyer handling one of these cases must have significant knowledge of the Federal Motor Vehicle Regulations and understand the types of questions that need to be asked in order to determine if violations of these laws have occurred.
In addition to investigating what “rules of the road” the driver of a semi tractor- trailer has failed to follow, experienced representation includes an investigation as to the training of the driver, the length of time the driver has been driving, the loading of the semi tractor trailer, the cargo in transit and an microscopic investigation of the drivers log.
Many times various parties can be held responsible for damages caused by one trucker driving a semi-tractor trailer rig. The trucker and the company he/she works for are obvious responsible parties. However, the tractor or the trailer can be owned by other parties who may also be held responsible.
In many instances, a lawsuit can also be filed directly against the trucking company’s insurance company. Although, many people think that insurance companies can be named parties in any vehicle accident, in some states they cannot be sued in common everyday automobile accidents. Recovery against an insurance company can be had only after obtaining a settlement or verdict against the party or parties responsible. Then the tractor insurance insurance pays under their contract. However, the insurance company insuring an interstate trucking company can be sued directly along with the other parties. As a named defendant, the jury knows that insurance is available. If they feel that a large verdict might hurt a small trucking company’s ability to stay in business, they are more likely to award a large verdict if insurance will cover the damages.
Everything about the truck driver should be checked out thoroughly. His past employers to his medical condition should be reviewed. Find out why he left his previous employment. Determine if there is any medical condition that should restrict his driving ability. Before a trucker is hired it is the duty of the company to do due diligence in checking out the person before they are hired. If it is determined that the trucking company failed to properly obtain and evaluate the trucker’s history, a claim of negligent hiring can be asserted.
There is a higher standard for truck drivers because they must live by certain rules and regulations that the average automobile driver does not have to abide. A well qualified attorney will know how to find out if those standards have been met.