Car accidents can be difficult and traumatic experiences, exponentially moreso when that accident involves a commercial truck or vehicle. Logistically, financially, legally: things become much more complex when the other party in even the simplest accident has the backing of a company. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re involved in an accident with commercial vehicle on the road in Georgia:
You need to act fast
This is true of any accident, but especially when it comes to dealing with commercial vehicles. In an accident with another driver in a personal vehicle you need to move quickly to make sure you gather all the facts and information you’ll need to make your case that the wreck wasn’t your fault and document how you’ve been affected as a result. When a commercial vehicle is involved, especially a trucking company, they’re probably going to move quickly with their own rapid response team to inspect the scene and log evidence. And, as much as we’d like to assume everybody out there is honest, there are some companies whose rapid response teams have a way of mysteriously losing evidence, or moving to have vehicles released from impound before they can be inspected by you or your insurance company.
In these cases it’s essential to have a lawyer who can respond faster than their rapid response people; someone who can issue a spoilation letter and/or restraining orders to ensure that evidence is preserved and collected. This can include valuable electronic data kept by the company, driver’s logs, and even dashcam video. Having an attorney on hand can be especially helpful when it comes to coordinating an inspection of the vehicle and the accident scene.
The Cause of the Accident Can Be Complicated
Unlike accidents with regular vehicles, large commercial vehicles have a number of factors to consider that would make it difficult for your average person to determine the cause of an accident without a thorough inspection of the vehicle and the driver, even to the point where the driver might not fully be at fault. There is, of course, good old fashioned driver error, which could also be influenced by the driver lacking the adequate training or license for driving their vehicle. Fatigue can often be a factor as well if a company is pushing their drivers to work more than they should. Even without driver error, the accident could have been caused by improperly loaded cargo, or faulty equipment the company failed to maintain without the driver’s knowledge. You just don’t know until you’ve been able to conduct a thorough investigation.
You’re not facing just one opponent
Of course, that thorough investigation means going through more than just the other driver and maybe their insurance company. You’re also going up against the company that owns the vehicle and employs the driver, perhaps even a larger parent company that swoops in for such incidents. In addition to them there are the other companies involved with the maintenance, loading, and (in some cases) leasing of the vehicles. Add all this up and you’re talking about a lot of different doors you’re going to have to knock on to try to get a straight answer, something you probably don’t want to do on your own.
Commercial vehicles have their own laws and restrictions
In addition to the laws the rest of us must follow, commercial vehicles must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR). This is a collection of policies and safety measures that must be adhered to by all commercial vehicles that (with their cargo and passengers) weigh over 10,001 pounds. This includes various inspections that must be performed and documented by the driver before every trip, in addition to mandatory background screenings and medical examinations for all drivers of vehicles over 26,001 pounds. There are a lot of complicated regulations within the FMCSR, and if you’re going to look out for violations you’ll definitely want the assistance of someone who knows where to look.
Ready to get an experienced fighter on your side? Reach out today. We’ve got two decades of experience in litigation and trials, and know all the tricks insurance companies and defendants try to pull to tire you out after an accident. Don’t worry – we’ve got your back.