Blog / Personal Injury

Fighting for Safety and Accountability on the Road: Trucking Accident Lawsuits

April 28, 2020 / Chip Cooper

Pursuing personal injury or wrongful-death litigation after a trucking accident or semi crash can be overwhelming for victims and their families. The process is different than in standard motor-vehicle cases—the foundation is the same, but the significant differences require additional expertise and care that Cooper Elliott is well-equipped to provide.

We approach trucking accident cases with care because we understand too well how a victim’s long-term quality of life hangs in the balance and is determined by the outcome. 

How Are Trucking Accident Cases Different from Car-Crash Cases?

In car-on-car crash cases, attorneys search for evidence that proves driver negligence. Semi crash cases start on similar footing but require deeper examination and research. 

For one, truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow stringent legal requirements in order to operate. That means more documents and electronic data create added complexity to the discovery phase. 

Another distinction: trucking cases may involve negligence or responsibility at a corporate level, not just an individual level. Truck crash attorneys need to have the skill and diligence to know which questions to ask and which documents and data to look for to identify the corporate problems that lead to crashes.  

And, because of the sheer differences in size and weight of the vehicles, trucking accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries and fatalities. In order to provide adequate justice and support for the victims, attorneys often must use expert witnesses to build a case for long-term damages.

Employing Knowledge of Nationwide Safety Regulations

At Cooper Elliott, we are committed to uncovering every stone in your personal injury or wrongful death truck crash case. Trucking cases require knowledge of statutes and regulations like those set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as diligence in locating and obtaining key information. Because each trucking case is different, these accidents cannot be pursued with a cookie-cutter approach.

We investigate how the truck driver may have contributed to the accident, but we also go beyond the failure of the drivers to discover which safety regulations were overlooked and contributed to the accident at the corporate level. 

Although truck drivers are subject to the same general traffic laws as non-commercial civilian drivers (obeying stoplights, following speed limits, using headlights, etc.), they have additional requirements, such as detailed maintenance logs and a limited number of hours they can drive without taking a break. 

For example, if a trucking accident occurs because of a blown tire, a record of when the tires were last checked, per safety requirements, should be available. This evidence may show that a required check wasn’t completed.

Lasting Changes Hold Corporations Accountable

We work hard on behalf of our clients to discover if the accident resulted from a chance blown tire or if the blown tire is a symptom of a larger issue, such as the trucking company’s negligent attitude toward safety. We investigate, based on safety regulations, any oversight at a corporate level. Sometimes we discover that the trucking company’s problems are present in similar crashes, injuries, and fatalities within local communities or even across the country. 

Because corporate oversight is a public safety issue, we look for trends within the company’s accident history. Proving negligence or a safety problem at the company level can influence procedures, corporate culture, and affect policy for a safer driving environment.

Top Experts Develop Damages Case

Because of the size and weight of the vehicle, trucking accidents may involve more serious injuries and more deaths than a case involving two standard-sized automobiles. According to 2019 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (see page 32), 13% of fatal crashes included at least one large truck or bus, while almost 8% of nonfatal crashes included at least one truck or bus. The majority of those who lost their life (82%) were not in the large truck, according to 2017 fatal-accidents data.

Our attorneys work with top industry experts who provide respected insight for your case. In a nonfatal case, expert life-care planners examine a plaintiff’s injuries and demonstrate how they will impact the cost of the victim’s immediate care, as well as care needed for the future—in many cases, the remainder of the victim’s life.These detailed analyses (a written report, testimony, or both) help the jury, defendant, and the defendant’s insurance company understand medical care based on the plaintiff’s injuries. In most cases, plaintiffs only get one chance to prove their needs, and whether a case goes to a jury or ends in a settlement, this is their opportunity to seek coverage for short and long-term medical expenses.

We’re Working for Change and Safer Driving for All

In a perfect world, trucking negligence wouldn’t exist. But when someone is killed or seriously injured in a truck crash, we fight to support the rights of the people and families affected. In addition to helping our clients, we hope that our cases lead to accountability and changes that improve trucking safety for the entire community. 

Give us a call—we’re here to help.

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