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I was in an accident that appeared to clearly be the truck drivers fault. Do I still need a lawyer to prove he was negligent?

Question: I was recently in a cement truck crash and was hit bya cement truck that changed lanes and cut me off.  It seems like a slam dunk case – I havewitnesses.  But some of my friends are tellingme that I need to get a truck crash lawyer because it takes a more evidence to prove that atruck driver was negligent than it does to go after a passenger cardriver.  Is this true?

Response: You should at least consult with a personal injuryattorney who litigates truck accidents before deciding to representyourself.  You are not playing on a levelfield when litigating against a trucking company. Most trucking companies arehighly skilled at auto truck accident investigation and claims practice. Theirinsurance company adjusters represent the truck company, not you.  And, truck companies have accidentinvestigators that are on-call and dispatched to the scene of the crash as soonas the company learns there has been an accident. While you were dealing with yourmedical care and personal business from the cement truck crash, the trucking company was investigating thetruck accident and setting up their legal defense.

Ingeneral, the main legal theory of liability in a truck accident case, or anyother motor vehicle accident case, is negligence.  But, truck accidents differ because there isa wealth evidence  through the civildiscovery process that does not exist in cases involving only private passengervehicles.   The legal theory is the same,but there much more discovery  litigationrequired to pursue a negligence claim against a commercial truckingdefendant.   For example, most largetrucks have a "black box" which records important information thatcan be used for evidence in an accident case. Additionally, big rig drivers are required to keep a log book containinginformation about miles driven per day, hours off duty, etc. – this informationcan reveal whether the driver was fatigued.   Radio recordings between a driver and his dispatch center can providesolid evidence relevant to negligence. 

Moreover, all trucking companies are required to maintain driverqualification files, which include information from state agencies (what statesa driver has driven in,) prior employer contracts, copies of violations ofmotor traffic laws, etc.  And, oherinformation — toll tickets, fuel receipts, weight tickets, and otherinformation – can be relevant to proving negligence.  However, your trucking industry defendant isnot just going to hand over this information with a smile.  The truck accidents lawyers representing the truckingcompany will vigorously litigate exemptions to your state’s discovery rules,and otherwise try to prevent you from obtaining as much of this evidence asthey can.  Discovery litigation can becomplex and protracted – you also need a zealous, experienced advocate fightingfor you.

Answered by Jamilla Moore

The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. If you need help with a Truck Accident claim, consult an experienced trucking accident attorney from the law offices of Gordon Elias & Seely, L.L.P. by calling TOLL FREE: 800 - 773 - 6770 OR by filling out the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
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