Truck accidents can be more complex than typical vehicle crashes. The process of determining who is responsible for these accidents and the amount of compensation owed to injured victims is complicated. This is due in part to the seriousness of the injuries – truck accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries – and in part to the complexity of the laws.
The trucking industry is governed by complex state and federal regulations. Safety is supposed to be the main consideration. The truck accident lawyers at Phelan Petty are intimately familiar with the applicable trucking regulations, and work with an experienced team of accident investigators to provide the rapid response necessary to preserve the evidence necessary to win truck crash cases before such evidence disappears.
The trucker’s log
The regulations require truckers to maintain a logbook that records their driving activities and other events, such as repair records and information about cargo and equipment carried by the truck. The information contained in this logbook may be vital in determining liability in the accident. The log may show that the trucker violated hours of service rules, and help prove that driver fatigue was a cause of the crash.
The “black box”
Tractor trailers and other large trucks have a “black box” that records various important data, including location and speed of the truck at the time of the crash. Black box data can show whether or not a trucker was obeying speed limits, or if he or she attempted to stop to avoid a collision.
The potentially liable parties
Truck accidents are often more complicated than standard car crashes because multiple parties and their respective insurance companies are involved. These parties can include the driver of the truck, the company employing the driver, the owner of the trailer, the shipper and/or the broker of the load. In some cases, multiple parties may be at fault, which increases the complexity of the claim.
The role of contributory negligence
Virginia is one of only a few states that are pure contributory negligence states. This means plaintiffs may be barred from recovery if the judge or jury finds that the plaintiff was at all negligent and his or her negligence was a proximate cause of the truck crash. For this reason, proving liability in Virginia truck accident cases is more difficult than in almost every other state, making it critical that you hire an experienced truck accident attorney to handle your important case.
It takes an experienced truck accident attorney with the necessary professional resources to reconstruct a truck accident, acquire evidence from various sources and determine if certain individuals and entities complied with the various federal and state regulations involved. All of this work on the part of an attorney and his or her team can help establish liability in a Virginia truck accident case.
If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident, the Richmond injury attorneys at Phelan Petty are here to help. To arrange a free case review, please give us a call today at 804.557.4683 or reach us through our contact form. We represent clients throughout Virginia.