If you or a loved one have been injured in a semi-truck accident in Kentucky, you already understand the damage a big truck can cause. When a private passenger car or pickup is hit by a semi- truck, the occupants of the smaller vehicle have little chance of escaping unharmed. The semi-truck’s weight and speed combine to enhance the potential for fatal or catastrophic injuries. Occupants who survive must often recover from multiple fractures, spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and long-term recovery.
Your personal injury attorney will do certain things to help you win your semi-truck accident case against the responsible at-fault driver. It is also important for you to do your part.
The first step toward winning your semi-truck accident case begins immediately after the accident. Unless you are positive the wreck was completely and solely your fault, you should never admit fault to anyone. When a person is seriously injured, their post-accident comments often become formal quotes in police reports, ambulance run sheets, medical records, and other permanent documents. After the accident and during your recovery, be careful what you say to witnesses, investigating officers, EMTs, hospital personnel, and especially insurance adjusters.
When you’re in pain or on medication, you may not have a clear idea of what you should or should not say. You could easily say something that will jeopardize your injury claim. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will deal with the insurance adjuster and help by gathering these and other critical pieces of information.
Truck drivers log more annual miles than other vehicles. To minimize the potential for serious accidents, federal, state, and local agencies monitor certain truck driver activities and work together to promote and enforce safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes truck driver rules and guidelines for load securement, weight, inspection, and other safety requirements. Kentucky weigh stations inspect semi-trucks and verify safety compliance. Any records that document enforcement and compliance actions can help prove a driver or motor carrier’s pattern of negligent driving.
Drivers must comply with FMCSA Hours of Service rules. While certain truckers may still use paper logs to document compliance, recent mandates require that most truckers install Electronic Logging Devices. An ELD tracks driving activity and can help confirm how long a driver has been on the road. Often, this can be critical evidence for proving a trucker’s recklessness and determining if exhaustion contributed to your accident.
A truck’s Event Data Recorder (also known as a black box or EDR) tracks what was happening with a truck and driver immediately before a crash. While not all semis have EDRs, those that do often record a vehicle’s pre-crash systems status, driver inputs, crash signature, restraint, airbag use and post-accident information. The data is accessible only with special retrieval equipment but could provide important information to help your lawyer analyze and win your semi-truck accident case.
Video evidence is more reliable than an eyewitness as it doesn’t rely on memory. If a truck has a dashboard camera, it records events as they occur. When properly positioned, dash cams record the road, intersection activity, and surrounding traffic before, during, and after an accident.
Maintenance, repair, and inspection logs and records may help prove negligence when a semi-truck malfunctions or a defect causes an accident. Logs may reveal a failure to recognize or correct a safety-related condition. They may also show that a driver and/or trucking company failed to inspect and maintain a vehicle as required.
Truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license to operate a semi-truck. As with other licenses, authorities document tickets, accidents, and other driving events. A driver’s record can often help establish a pattern of negligence, reckless behavior, or drug or alcohol abuse. If an employer knew of an adverse history and allowed a driver on the road anyway, it may help support your case against the driver and the trucking company.
At Saladino & Schaaf, we have years of experience representing Kentuckians in personal injury lawsuits. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, contact us online or at (270) 444-0406 to schedule a free consultation today. You may be entitled to significant compensation, but the clock is ticking.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm located in Paducah, KY and serves clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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