After a commercial trucking accident, it becomes essential to take the right steps to protect your legal interests. You need to take appropriate action if you are involved in a trucking crash and you get hurt. If you receive notice your loved one has been killed in a commercial truck crash, you also need to know what to do next so you do not jeopardize your rights as you try to cope with your grief.
The law provides truck accident victims with certain legal protections, but also requires victims and their families to take affirmative action in order to take advantage of those legal protections. As a result, the most important thing you need to do after an accident, and the step you should take right away, is to contact an experienced attorney.
After a truck accident, you need to do two primary things: you need to determine who was to blame for the collision and you need to begin gathering evidence to prove who was to blame.
The truck driver is the obvious culprit behind the collision, especially if the trucker blatantly did something wrong like speeding or driving while distracted. However, just because the trucker may be the individual most clearly to blame does not mean the trucker is the only one who is considered at fault in the eyes of the law. If a truck driver works for a commercial trucking company, it is possible and even likely the trucking company is at fault too. This could be because the company was negligent in fulfilling its legal responsibilities, such as by failing to make certain the trucker had a clean driving record. The company could also be responsible simply because the truck driver was working for the company and was thus their agent acting on their behalf.
It is important to have a truck accident lawyer help you determine who was at fault and assist you in making a claim against that person or company. By identifying all possible liable parties, including the trucking company, your lawyer can help make sure there is actually money available to provide compensation for all of the damages. Serious injuries are more likely following truck crashes due to the truck's large size, so being fully paid for losses matters a lot. Trucking companies have to have substantial liability policies of at least $750,000 in normal circumstances and $5 million in case hazardous equipment is transported. With help from a lawyer, you should thus be able to get full compensation for losses.
Your lawyer also helps you to gather evidence and do what you need to prove the trucker and trucking companies should actually be held liable for losses. This is important too, since accident victims have the burden of proving liability if they wish to be compensated for damages.