It can be an overwhelming and stressful time when you or a loved one are involved in a crash with a heavy commercial vehicle. Several factors unique to tractor trailer collisions make them more complex than regular car accidents, which is why you should retain experienced legal counsel to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit. Keep reading to learn how an 18-wheeler crash attorney can help in a Johnstown truck accident case.
While any person injured in a motor vehicle collision may benefit from legal assistance, the complexities of a truck accident are amplified due to several factors. For one, the circumstances of the crash may be harder to determine, given the size of the vehicle. The truck’s load, weight distribution, and other factors unique to commercial vehicles may contribute to the crash in ways that would not be present in a regular car accident.
It is also important to investigate the owner of the truck and trailer (which may be different), in addition to the driver, his or her employer(s), brokers which arranged for the load, and companies which loaded the product. All of these may be potential defendants and may have their lawyers on the case, even as early as the scene of the accident, to defend themselves aggressively.
Additionally, trucks have specific records and logs, such as electronic data recorders or black boxes, pre-trip inspection records, and driving logs that could be crucial evidence. The unique nature of tractor-trailer collisions can give rise to numerous issues, and a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in Johnstown is equipped to navigate them.
Finding an attorney experienced in handling truck accident cases is crucial since they will know what specific details to pursue, such as electronic data recorders and load distribution. In addition, the lawyer should be familiar with the industry and have a network of experts to consult, including doctors and economists who can help quantify lost wages and future earning capacity.
A well-practiced Johnstown semi-truck accident attorney also knows how insurance companies operate and will not allow them to lowball the case’s value. Insurance companies recognize the importance of a seasoned legal professional and may adjust their valuation accordingly. Having connections with experts and a deep understanding of the trucking industry can also add immense value to a case, and injured victims should seek these qualities in a truck accident lawyer.
Correctly identifying all at-fault parties is essential to a successful lawsuit. This can be challenging due to the different types of corporate entities that may be involved, such as:
One way an attorney can identify the correct defendants in a truck accident case is by reviewing the police report, which typically lists the driver and vehicle and trailer owners. However, it is important to corroborate this information by conducting a search of the state’s corporation bureau records to obtain the formal legal name of the defendant.
Additionally, a lawyer can inspect the truck for any signage or labels that may identify the company or the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number to cross-check with the USDOT’s registrations. By identifying the correct defendants, the lawsuit will have a higher chance of yielding monetary recovery.
There may be also claims against brokers, which are companies that do not handle actual goods, but instead arrange for shipments between the customer shipping the goods and the trucking company hauling the goods. If a broker failed to adequately inspect a trucking company or driver’s safety records and driving history, that broker might be liable to the injured victim as well.
In Pennsylvania, if a defendant in a personal injury case is a truck driver on the job for a company, the employer can be held liable for any damages the driver causes while acting within the scope of his or her employment. This is known as vicarious liability, and it means that even if the company did not do anything wrong, they are still responsible for its employee’s actions. However, if the truck driver is working outside of his or her job duties at the time of the crash, the trucking company may not be legally responsible for the accident. A skilled attorney can investigate a specific 18-wheeler crash case to determine whether the trucking company may be liable for the accident, in addition to the truck driver.
Truck accident cases require a knowledgeable and well-practiced lawyer who understands the unique complexities of the case and can navigate any issues that may arise. When looking for an attorney to help with this type of claim, it is important to consider his or her experience and knowledge of the industry.
With the right legal counsel, you can hold all liable parties accountable and seek comprehensive compensation for your damages. Call Marcus & Mack today to learn more about how an attorney can help in a Johnstown truck accident case.