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What Do I Need to File a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2015 | Car Accidents |

The average commercial tractor-trailer weighs about 80,000 lbs – more than 26 times the average automobile. As a result, most auto accidents involving tractor-trailers end in catastrophic losses. If you have been in a tractor trailer accident in Kentucky, you are most likely entitled to compensation for injuries, damages, and personal losses. Always call emergency services immediately after an accident, and ensure that medical attention is on the way. Even if you feel fine, schedule an appointment with your doctor the same day as your accident–you could be in shock and not feel your injuries. Soon thereafter, call a trucking accident lawyer. You will need someone familiar with the insurance and litigation processes specific to a commercial trucking accident. The police report filed after the accident will include pertinent information about the truck driver, the company the driver works for, and which insurance company they use. This is necessary information that your attorney will want to know immediately upon receiving your call. Determining Fault Immediately following a tractor-trailer accident in Kentucky, it would be premature to make a determination of fault. Contact a trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible after the incident. Until you speak to your lawyer, refrain from discussing the accident except to give pertinent facts to the law enforcement officials on scene. If you can, gather–in writing–as much information as possible, including:

  • Truck driver’s name
  • Name of the trucking company
  • Truck’s license plate number
  • A detailed account of the accident
  • If the truck driver was on his phone at the time of the accident
  • Any strange, erratic, or disturbing behavior displayed by the truck driver

If there are any indications of extreme fatigue, or intoxication from the truck driver, be sure that the police include it in their written report. All of this information will help a judge or jury determine fault for the accident. Truck drivers are governed by the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations cover sleep schedules, mandatory rest stops, and safety equipment operation and maintenance. Your trucking accident lawyer will investigate your accident for any violations of the FMCSA to help determine fault. In a tractor-trailer accident, both the trucking company and the truck driver can be at fault. Respondent Superior is a legal term that references the fault of the company versus the fault of the driver behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Your trucking accident lawyer will help ensure that you are suing the correct party to get the full amount of compensation you deserve. Evaluating Conditions Trucking law varies from state to state, so you want a firm that is familiar, and specifically experienced with the laws in Kentucky. Trucking companies must adhere to safety regulations and trucking law beyond those of standard motor vehicles. For example, any commercial vehicle operating with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more must have an up-to-date logbook in the cab of the truck, subject to inspection by any law enforcement officer. It is your lawyer’s responsibility to inspect the logs and make sure they line up with documentation of gas purchases, delivery receipts, and black box data. In addition, time records of vehicle drivers must be maintained and archived for a minimum of 6 months by the trucking employer. The pertinent conditions surrounding the accident may also include:

  • Weather and road conditions
  • Operation of the truck’s safety equipment
  • The mental state of the driver
  • Cell phone and data plan usage
  • The trucking company’s culture
  • Signs of unrealistic delivery expectations
  • Trucking company’s S. Dept. of Transportation safety rating

There is a lot of information gathering that goes into a trucking accident lawsuit, and your attorney has access to resources that you cannot access as a civilian. Your lawsuit has a better chance of success when you choose a competent attorney with extensive experience handling tractor-trailer accidents in Kentucky. If you have experienced a tractor-trailer accident in Kentucky, contact the Edwards & Kautz Law Firm at 270-908-4914 to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced trucking accident lawyer. * Photo courtesy of SagredoCC 3.0 via WikimediaCommons