When you file a lawsuit to recover your losses after an accident, the ability to prove fault is an essential aspect of your case. In accident cases involving semi trucks, questions of liability are complicated by a variety of factors.
Attorney Mickey Fine has extensive experience in complex tractor trailer accident cases. Please call The Law Offices of Mickey Fine at (661) 333-3333 today for a free consultation. Our team serves clients in Bakersfield, and nearby areas of California.
Building Your Case After a Tractor Trailer Accident
Generally, determining fault in a tractor trailer accident will involve the following steps:
1. Collecting Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
As soon as possible, your attorney will need to collect all available evidence from the scene of the accident. Generally, this requires sending investigators and accident reconstructionists to the location where the accident occurred.
These professionals will take photos and videos of the scene, take measurements, and gather various other forms of data that can be used to piece together the events leading up to the collision. If the vehicles involved in the crash have been moved from the scene, investigators and other experts will need to examine the vehicles off-site.
If any witnesses saw the accident, your lawyer will interview them. Their testimony may also prove helpful in establishing who is at fault.
2. Obtaining Trucking Company Records and Other Documentary Evidence
Beyond the scene of the accident, your attorney will need to gather evidence of fault from various other sources. One of these sources will likely include the company that owns the truck involved in the crash.
The trucking company’s records will reveal how many hours the driver had spent behind the wheel prior to the crash, how much prior experience he or she had driving tractor trailers, and various other pieces of information that could all potentially be used to help establish liability. Cell phone records, GPS data, and other forms of documentary evidence may also be valuable in order to prove fault.
Semi trucks also have event data recorders that record the driver’s actions in the moments before an accident. These data can help establish negligence in the crash, including factors such as excess speed, careless operation of the truck, and more.
3. Evaluating the Evidence and Determining Who Is at Fault
Once your attorney has gathered the evidence at the crash site and from the trucking company, then he or she can evaluate the evidence in order to determine who is liable. In truck accident cases, the liable parties will generally include one or more of the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The shipping company or cargo handler that loaded the truck
- The truck’s manufacturer or the dealership that sold the truck
- Another driver or vehicle manufacturer
- A maintenance or repair facility that serviced the truck (or another vehicle involved in the collision)
- The government agency or contractor responsible for the condition of the road at the crash site
As the investigation unfolds, your lawyer may need to request or subpoena additional records from any of these parties (or a combination) to determine who is at fault for the accident. Through detailed review of these records, your attorney will ensure that all liable parties are included in your claim.
Each of these parties may be represented by a separate insurance company. Each insurer will try to pay as little as possible, which is why it is so important for your lawyer to gather evidence of who is liable and make a compelling case on your behalf.
4. Filing Your Tractor Trailer Accident Claim
In order to recover financial compensation on your behalf, your attorney will need to formally file a claim against the liable party or parties. After initiating the claim, your attorney will engage in settlement negotiations focused on securing a favorable outcome without the need to go to court. Most tractor trailer accident cases settle, and having an experienced attorney is critical to negotiating a settlement that fully accounts for your losses.
If the party or parties in your case do not offer a fair settlement, then your attorney will begin the process of preparing your truck accident case for trial. During trial, your lawyer will present evidence from the investigation to prove that the parties named in your case are at fault for the accident.
Presenting your truck accident case in court requires an extensive amount of preparation and intimate familiarity with the rules that govern trial court procedure in California. Your lawyer will need to present your case before a jury or judge, with the goal of attaining a verdict in your favor.
Proving fault in a truck accident case is a complicated process. It is crucial to hire an experienced lawyer who will conduct a thorough investigation and present evidence that establishes how the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company, and/or other parties resulted in your injuries.
Were you seriously injured or was a member of your family tragically killed in a tractor trailer accident in Southern California? If so, The Law Offices of Mickey Fine is here to help.
Please call (661) 333-3333 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Attorney Mickey Fine serves clients in Bakersfield, and nearby areas of California.