Why Do You Need an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer?
Prosecution of tractor-trailer injury claims is extremely complicated and attorneys qualified to handle these case types must undergo vigorous ongoing legal training. Tractor-trailer injury claims implicate both federal and state law and often cause catastrophic injury or wrongful death. In addition, commercial trucking companies are highly sophisticated and well-funded, and unless you have an experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyer on your side, your injury claim will never be taken seriously.
The Trucking Company’s Immediate Response Team
The vast majority of trucking companies throughout the United States have “immediate response” teams on call who can respond anywhere and anytime if one of their trucks is involved in a crash. These immediate response teams consist of accident reconstruction experts, heavy equipment specialists, defense lawyers, and evidence retention personnel.
Teams are dispatched immediately upon notification of a truck crash. The goal of the trucking company is to minimize potential risk exposure that comes when one of its driver/employees crashes into another vehicle. Immediate response teams are dispatched by the trucking company in most crashes, even when the injuries are minimal. Without the assistance of an experienced tractor-trailer injury lawyer, a victim is left to play by the rules of the trucking company.
Many times purposeful destruction of documents (evidence) becomes an issue in 18-wheeler crashes. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to obey strict Records Retention Rules. Often times evidence is gathered by the trucking company and its insurance company and then never seen again. Don’t let this happen in your case. A Missouri truck accident lawyer must immediately send spoliation (evidence preservation demand) letters to all parties of interest.
Tractor-Trailer Technology in the Computer Age
Most tractor-trailers are fitted with at least 10 on board computers, otherwise known as “data accumulation systems” (DAS). Following are just a few of the devices now used on trucks and the type of data they monitor:
- Trip Recorders – records speed and length of time the truck drives at that speed
- Log Scanners – allows trucking company to monitor driver logs and monitor any possible over-hours violations
- Paperless Log System – Eliminates driver requirement of maintaining paper logbooks
- Weight-in-Motion Systems – Exchanges information with highway weigh stations
- Satellite Tracking Systems – Enables trucking company to monitor real-time truck location and email the driver
- Electronic Control Module – Monitors engine and operator performance
- Data Logging Unit – Measures vehicle data, engine and operator performance (cab mounted)
- Cellular Communications System – Allows communication between driver and trucking company
- Collision Warning System – Radar-based collision avoidance system which scans up to 350 feet ahead of the truck and saves various information if a crash occurs. Operates similar to an airplane ‘black box’
- DriveCam – Cab-mounted data recorder which saves video when truck suddenly decelerates, losses traction, or sustains impact
Each of these devices are extremely sophisticated and require the assistance of a specialist to download and decode data. Trucking companies commonly use ‘immediate response’ teams to download vital data following a crash. It is critical that victims of a truck crash be permitted access to this data.
One of the first things St. Louis truck accident attorneys do following a truck crash is request the absolute preservation of these data recorders. Our attorneys often seek a court Protective Order to make certain the trucking company does not “accidentally” erase or manipulate the data. Contacting a 18-wheeler accident lawyer is the first step at securing evidence and protecting your claim for compensation.
Who is at Fault?
Most truck drivers are hard-working and have good intentions. Truckers consider themselves professionals and are proud of the service they provide to the general public. After all, a large portion of the goods consumed in this country are moved with the use of tractor-trailers. Our firm takes this into consideration in the handling of each trucking personal injury case.
Truck drivers are in high demand, and despite rising fuel costs the trucking companies are desperate for qualified drivers. However, the hiring process is where issues can be addressed before they eventually result in the catastrophic injury or death of an innocent victim. The high demand and low supply of truck drivers means that some trucking companies are willing to overlook questionable driver records or previous safety violations in order to get another driver on the road.
Our attorneys immediately request the complete driver employee file from the trucking company involved in a crash. A problem can arise when accident victims wait more than six months after a crash to contact our injury lawyers or hire an inexperienced lawyer from another firm. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration only requires trucking companies to retain certain driver information for a period of six months. It is critical for our attorneys to thoroughly review a driver’s qualification file to see if the trucking company acted recklessly in the hiring of that driver.
Victim of a tractor-trailer crash? Contact a St. Louis Trucking Accident Injury Attorney at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers today and our experienced attorneys on your side! Our lawyers are available anytime at 314.444.4444, or by email to discuss your truck injury claim. Don’t be victimized twice, contact truck accident injury lawyer at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers today.