Liability in trucking accidents can be difficult to establish. While the problem may begin
with the truck driver on the road, there are many more relevant parties, including:
- The trucking company that owns the truck
- The manufacturer of the truck and its parts
- The company that has leased the truck
- The loading company
Going up against these companies and their respective attorneys and insurance companies
is almost an impossible task if you do not have proper representation of your own. An
experienced attorney can represent your interests so that your rights do not get trampled.
There are many strategies that the companies will use to minimize their responsibility for
your accident. One common ploy to try and limit liability is for the trucking or leasing
company to characterize the driver as an independent contractor. Their hope is that
liability therefore will not extend to them. However, with strict federal regulations, this
isn’t a successful ploy. The companies can be held liable for inadequate driver training,
negligent hiring, inadequate truck maintenance, improper loading of the truck, and
negligent supervision. However, proving liability against all the specific parties that are
involved is no small feat. There is a vast amount of evidence that needs to be gathered
and evaluated, and investigations that need to be done. In order to hold each involved
party responsible and to recover the maximum amount for your injuries, you need an
attorney that is willing to commit the time and resources necessary to explore the actions
of each party involved.
Here are some of the critical steps that must be accomplished:
- Truck Inspection: We will hire experts to inspect the truck for any equipment that
may have malfunctioned or been improperly maintained.
- Inspection of the Accident Scene: The closer to the time of the accident we are
able to inspect the scene, the better we will be able to serve you. Important
evidence can quickly disappear. The condition of the roads, street signs, and
witness statements are all very important to the investigation.
- Employee Records: Was the trucking company enforcing hours of service
regulations? Were they pushing their employees to make deliveries even if it
meant violations? These questions and more can be answered by time logs kept
by trucking companies. But this vital source is not kept indefinitely, therefore it is
critical that you call us immediately so that we can request them on time. Other
important records include employee health certificates and the results of alcohol
and drug screenings. The manner in which these tests are conducted and
enforcement of rules can be important in revealing employer negligence as well.
Because of the high-level of turnaround in the trucking industry, it is also
important that a particular driver’s entire driving history be considered, no matter
what state he might have driven in. We will also make a thorough investigation
of a driver’s health history and consult any medical practitioners that granted a
driver a clean medical certificate.
- Electronic Records: Advances in electronic records mean much more accurate
monitoring of driver action. Using electronic records, we can cross-check driver
activities, including GPS data and electronic on-board recorders. Some trucks
even have black boxes that record data. These are invaluable to understanding the
factors that may have contributed to an accident.
- Interviews and Depositions: In order to build the strongest case possible, several
parties will need to be interviewed. Depending on what these interviews reveal,
they might also need to be deposed. Statements from the driver, witnesses, and
police officers help us create a complete and accurate picture of what happened.
- Police and Government Records: When police arrive at the scene of a traffic
accident, they put together their own report. These reports, in addition to
government investigations of truck accidents, can be very helpful in developing
So, if a semi or 18 wheeler accident has left you injured, please contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer Houston at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP.