Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accidents
All Initial Consultations are Free of Charge. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accident, then please call us now on our Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accident and Injury Hotline at (770) 865-8654 to speak with one of our Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys.
Nothing comes as close to a real life horror picture movie than to be in an accident with a tractor trailer. These incidents can happen in many ways, at any time, and to anyone, and in such circumstances such as a load that falls off a trailer onto your vehicle like a load of logs crushing your vehicle, the trailer hitting you from behind and injuring or killing all the people in the vehicle, the tractor trailer not being able to stop for faulty breaks or otherwise and hitting you, and you don’t even have a chance of survival, the driver of the truck falling asleep at the wheel and crossing the partition hitting you head on, and/or your vehicle ending up crushed under a tractor trailer, and these are just to name a few of the horrific types of tractor trailer incidents.
At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law & Affiliates, our Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys are experts at representing people who have been injured or killed in a tractor trailer incident. If you or a loved one has been in this most unfortunate situation, then we are truly sorry and we are here to help.
It is imperative, especially in these cases, that you contact us right away after the incident so that we can begin assisting you right away and investigating the facts of the accident. The tractor trailer companies are on the scene at a moment’s notice if there is such an incident and you should have legal representation immediately so that your case is not put at a distinct disadvantage against an aggressive tractor trailer insurance company.
As such, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a tractor trailer incident, then please kindly contact us immediately by any or all of the following means and we are available 24/7 to assist you. Contact us today for your free legal consultation at our Trucking and Tractor Trailer Accident Hotline at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Contact Us on our website.
The mistake that many attorneys make is that they treat a tractor trailer accident like a car accident. This could not be further from the truth. A tractor trailer accident is not an automobile accident and should not be treated as such anywhere in the State of Georgia.
Our Tractor Trailer Lawyers understand the law when it comes to these types of incidents and we know how to evaluate these cases and fight for your compensation against the tractor trailer insurance companies. We have the experience to do the following things that are essential to be successful in representing you in a tractor trailer accident such as, but not limited to:
1.) Evaluating Safety Fitness Ratings to make sure that they meet the minimum safety fitness standards. For example, some of the Safety Fitness Ratings are based upon, but not limited to, the following:
a.) Does the trucking company make sure that they use qualified drivers, as further explained herein below?;
b.) Does the trucking company insure that their vehicles meet safety standards also explained herein below?
c.) Does the company maintain records of accident reports and hazard material incidents? and
d.) Does the trucking company uses proper procedures when transporting hazardous material?
These are all very important Safety Protocols that the trucking company must follow by law, just to name a few, and it is the job of a qualified trucking accident lawyer and its investigators to inspect all records and scenes of the incident to determine if the trucking company maintained such safety standards to the fullest extent of the law; both State and Federal Law.
2.) Accessing Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (a/k/a SAFER) through the SAFER System that was designed to provide the public and trucking industry service providers with information on motor carriers such as a trucking companies’ insurance history and it’s safety record. This information can be found at www.safersys.org and provides a wealth of information on trucking companies.
3.) Accessing the Safety Management System (SMS) that focuses on seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) including, but not limited to:
- Unsafe driving: Was the driver operating the vehicle in a careless or dangerous manner?;
- Fatigued Driving: Was the driver operating the vehicle while ill, fatigued or not in compliance with the hours of service recommendations?;
- Driver Fitness: Was the driver unfit due to lack of training, experience or medical issues?;
- Controlled Substances/Alcohol: Was the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise impaired?;
- Cargo-Related: Was the cargo properly or improperly loaded?;
- The Crash System collects this data for a 24 month period.
The SMS System allows attorneys and its investigators to identify those companies that have poor safety performance and this is imperative in your case. Therefore, we download this information immediately about the trucking company involved in the incident and evaluate these most important points.
There are several Theories of Liability in trucking accidents and our lawyers are specialists in understanding these theories and determining which theories of liability apply in your particular case. For example, the following are theories that we explore in all trucking accident cases to determine which theory, or theories, are applicable to your particular case:
1.) Employer Liability. Is the driver an employee of the trucking company, does the trucking company have adequate policies and procedures, and did the driver follow those policies and procedures?
2.) Lease Liability. Many trucking companies will try to absolve themselves from liability under the theory that the vehicle was leased. The reality is that the failure to have a written lease does NOT absolve the trucking company for liability in many circumstances.
3.) Negligent Hiring, Entrustment or Retention. Did the company follow proper procedures when hiring a driver and did the company know that the driver had a safe past history, or did the driver have prior accidents and an unsafe history, but the trucking continued to hire or use that driver besides this fact? The trucking company has a duty to hire safe drivers and do everything in their power to insure that their drivers are safe drivers. If the trucking company did not follow proper procedures in screening drivers such as background checks, driving history, accident history, checking for proper licensing such as a current, unrestricted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and the like, then the trucking company may be responsible for the negligent hiring of said driver. This responsibility does not stop just when the driver is hired. This is an ongoing responsibility of the trucking company to insure that their drivers continue to be safe drivers while driving their trucks as either employees or independent contractors.
4.) Negligent Inspection, Maintenance or Repair. It is imperative, and the law, that the trucking company keep all parts and accessories on a commercial vehicle in safe and proper condition AT ALL TIMES, there are NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE. So, if the brakes are faulty the trucking company can be found liable and we will discover this important fact in a trucking accident.
5.) Shipper Liability. The shipper may be liable if the load that the truck was carrying was improperly loaded. We investigate this in our trucking cases as well.
6.) Driver Fatigue and Driver Distractions. This is governed by law and the driver must maintain a Driver’s Log to insure that the driver is not driving over the legal amount of time as set forth under the law. We evaluate the Driver’s Log to determine if the driver may have been fatigued and, therefore, responsible for the accident for this and other reasons. Furthermore, was the driver texting and driving which is against the law. We will get the driver’s cell phone records to determine if the driver was distracted while driving by texting or otherwise.
7.) Spoliation of Evidence. Yes, trucking companies will destroy documents to cover up their negligent actions. If this happens, then the trucking company can be subject to sanctions and it is further used to show that the trucking company was responsible for the accident in question. We will investigate to determine if the trucking company destroyed any evidence relevant to the incident.
8.) Punitive Damages. Punitive Damages may be recoverable if the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other impairments, or if the trucking company acted with such wanton and reckless disregard for human safety. We will investigate all issues to determine if Punitive Damages are appropriate in your case and seek Punitive Damages when it is appropriate to do so under the circumstances.
There are other causes of negligence on the part of the driver that will be investigated as well such as, but not limited to:
- 1.) Failure to maintain a proper distance from other vehicles;
- 2.) Proper Crossing of Traffic;
- 3.) Proper Stopping Distances;
- 4.) Proper procedures being followed during Nighttime Driving; and
- 5.) Proper driving in the rain and fog.
When there has been a trucking accident, the trucking accident companies’ insurance companies investigators are on the accident scene immediately. Therefore, as stated herein above, it is imperative that you have an attorney who will have an investigator on the seen immediately to investigate the following:
- A post-accident drug test;
- Skid marks must be evaluated immediately following the accident as they will disappear over time;
- Retention and disclosure of records must be notified to the trucking company to avoid spoliation of evidence as described above;
- Evaluation of the driver’s log must be done to determine if there has been a violation of service and driving provisions;
- A determination must be made if the load was properly loaded and proper loading procedures were followed, and whether or not there was an unsafe dispatch;
- Evaluation of pre-trip and inspection reports on the vehicle;
- Evaluating the weather conditions and whether the driver was using proper care under the current weather conditions;
- Was the driver fatigued or distracted or texting while driving;
- Were the brakes, rear guards, tires, fuel systems, towing devices, frames, axles, steering systems, and other mechanical equipment on the vehicle properly maintained, just to name a few of the things that a qualified inspector will be looking for on your behalf in a trucking accident;
Commercial Truck Tractors also have Engine Control Modules (ECM) that are responsible for controlling the important engine and vehicle parameters and this is sometimes referred to as the “black box.” Our trucking accident lawyers will download the ECM data as soon as possible after the accident and have a certified accident reconstructionist analyze the data for relevant information. This is imperative in your case and should not be overlooked under any circumstances.
There is also data called the Qualcomm Data that is a document that records, among other things, the messages between the dispatcher and the driver. As a matter of course, these records are destroyed by the trucking companies in a short period of time so our trucking attorneys will place the motor carrier on notice to salvage this information so it can be further evaluated by our experts for evidence of driver distractions, hours of service violations, and speeding, just to name a few.
We follow a strict Trucking Accident checklist that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1.) Investigation of the Accident;
2.) Preservation of Evidence;
3.) The Legal Complaint and all of the necessary components of such;
4.) Discovery to insure that we have all of the necessary documents needed to prove our case; and
5.) Use of Trucking Experts to prove our case.
As you can tell from this information, trucking accidents are very different from automobile accidents so it is very important that you retain a Trucking Accident Attorney as early in the process as possible so that you receive the proper medical attention that you deserve, that the evidence from the accident is not destroyed, that we are able to have our experts evaluate the scene of the accident and all the pertinent documents thereto, and so that we can handle all the legal aspects of the case so that you can focus on getting well.
We are experts in this field and we know how to handle these types of cases and we have been very successful in doing so to insure that you receive all the just compensation that you deserve if you find yourself in this most unfortunate situation. We can be reached 24/7 by any or all of the following means for your free consultation by phone at our Trucking and Tractor Trailor Accident and Injury Hotline at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, by email at email@example.com or Contact Us on our website. We are here to assist you every step of the way if you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a Trucking Accident and you, our client, is our first priority.