Taking legal action after a car accident involving another private motorist is difficult enough, but things get much harder when you're dealing with a trucking company. They have deep pockets and financial incentives to pay you as little as possible.
The key to taking on a trucking company is to put experience on your side. Here's what we do when we represent people harmed by their negligence.
We secure evidence to support your claim
We'll give the trucking companies credit for this much: they take their response to accidents seriously (often more seriously than they take accident prevention). They often have teams of investigators at the scene within hours of the crash to gather evidence and protect their own interests. That's why it's critical to have an attorney conduct an investigation on your behalf, as well.
In trucking cases, we also take prompt legal action to preserve other critical evidence. For instance, we always want to look at the Hours of Service (HOS) log, which contains information about the hours the trucker spent driving and whether mandatory rest breaks were taken. This might reveal that the trucker was fatigued or asleep at the wheel, especially if there are discrepancies with the "black box" GPS data. By law, the trucking company is only required to keep that log for six months. We'll intervene to ensure that the trucking company can't destroy the log.
We get to the bottom of what happened
Evidence is important, but what really makes the difference in a trucking case is the story the evidence tells. Our goal is to find the narrative of what happened and show that the trucking company's negligence or recklessness led to your injury.
Did the trucking company fail to conduct a background check when they hired the driver? Did they fail to appropriately train or supervise the driver? Was there pressure on the trucker to go too fast or work through mandatory rest breaks? We pore over documents, interview witnesses and cross-reference testimony to build a case the trucking company can't ignore.
We sort out the insurance situation
One major complicating factor in truck accidents is the number of insurance companies involved. Typically, the cab and the trailer have separate insurance. The cargo, too, has its own insurance. If there were any other vehicles involved, which is common when a jackknifing truck causes a pileup, they have their own insurance policies, too. It's common for the insurance companies to collude to protect all of their bottom lines, at your expense.
We investigate to find all applicable insurance. We carefully review every offer from an insurance company to ensure that it doesn't affect the other insurance companies' liability. This is where experience can make a huge difference. We know how to coordinate and negotiate all of the available insurance to maximize the total value of your claim.
Again, the key to dealing with a trucking company is to get an experienced attorney on your side right away. You must do this before critical evidence disappears or is destroyed. If you've been in a truck accident in Montana, we'd be glad to discuss your legal rights and options during a free consultation.