Dixon Truck Accident Lawyer
An accident with an 18-wheeler is quite different than your typical fender-bender or other collision involving two sedans. If you or a family member was hit by a large tractor-trailer and suffered serious physical injuries, get ready for a legal battle. Commercial truck companies use all available legal tools and strategies to reduce or deny personal injury claims filed against them, even if the evidence is fairly clear that the operator of the commercial truck was responsible for the accident.
Truck companies can stack the deck against an unsuspecting claimant since many companies maintain a team of investigators who spend their time trying to find any evidence that can be used to benefit the truck company against your personal injury claim. They also have large law firms on retainer ready to defend a lawsuit at their beck and call. As you can see, large truck companies are willing to put substantial resources into fighting an injury claim.Common Tricks and Tactics of Commercial Truck Companies
The objective of the truck company and their lawyers when subject to a personal injury lawsuit is to protect the bottom line of the company. That is why it is quite common for truck companies to use tricks and tactics to fight your claim. Here are some examples:“Losing” or Destroying Evidence
Truck companies engage in this dubious practice quite regularly. Federal regulations only require a truck company to maintain the data on the Electronic Control Module (ECM) for 30 days. Even worse, some state legislatures were lobbied by the truck and freight industry to pass state laws that allow the truck companies to treat these ECMs as company property, meaning they can destroy or alter them as they wish. This is why it is so important to retain an attorney as soon as possible so they can file the appropriate documents in court to try and preserve this important evidence.
Another example is, after a wreck, the truck company opting to destroy or alter the driver logs that would show whether the driver was in violation of the Hours of Service set forth by federal law. Or, the truck company “loses” the truck driver’s personnel file that may contain evidence showing whether the truck operator was properly licensed and trained to operate a commercial big rig.Violating Drug and Alcohol Testing Rule
This is a particularly troubling practice that many truck companies have engaged in. They tell the truck operator not to get a drug and alcohol test, even though it is required by law. Why? Because if there is evidence that the truck operator had a Blood Alcohol Content over the legal limit, that makes it much easier to establish liability on the truck operator which thereby imputes liability on the truck company. If the truck company is found to have violated the drug and alcohol testing rule, they are only subject to a small monetary fine levied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It makes more financial sense for the truck company to pay the small fine then have evidence showing liability, which may result in a substantial jury verdict against them.Only Making Lowball Settlement Offers to a Claimant
The insurance company for the truck company will likely make you a settlement offer. The issue is that the settlement offer will be so low that it does not properly compensate you for your harms and losses. It is quite common for insurance companies to argue that you were “over-treated” after the accident or that your lost wages claim was excessive. You could have $100,000 in documented damages, but the truck company only offers you $25,000.
If you find yourself in this situation, having a Dixon truck accident lawyer on your side is a huge benefit. The attorney, after attempting good faith negotiations with the insurance adjuster, can proceed with filing a lawsuit in state court. To be clear, filing a lawsuit does not end the settlement negotiation process. In fact, many truck accident cases wind up settling a few days or weeks before a trial.Contacting a Dixon Truck Accident Lawyer
Waiting to speak to a lawyer will only serve to hurt your case and bolster the chances that the truck company gets to walk away from the accident without being held accountable. Take action today and contact me, Ed Smith. I am a Dixon truck accident lawyer with 30 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death claims.
The video below discusses how soon you should get in touch with a truck accident lawyer after an accident.Dixon Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Dixon Truck Accident Lawyer. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident please call me right away for free and friendly advice at (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400. Don’t let the truck company walk away without being held accountable. Contact me today.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 10.23.19]