One Washington man somehow escaped with not just his life, but also without serious injuries last week when his vehicle was pinned between the trailers of two semi-trucks in a 26-car pileup on Interstate 84 in Oregon. Kaleb Whitby's entire pickup truck was demolished except the small space surrounding his seat, CNN reports. But Whitby escaped with just a few cuts and bruises.
Unfortunately, other drivers can't always count on being so lucky. And injury lawsuits involving commercial truck accidents may require different or additional legal considerations than a typical auto accident, meaning your best move may be to hire an attorney who specializes in truck accidents.
Why should you hire a truck accident lawyer? Here are five things that a truck accident lawyer can do that you probably can't:
Determine who was at fault. The person or entity at fault for an accident may be the most important fact in any truck accident case. A truck accident attorney will know how to prove fault, or in instances where both parties were at fault, how it may still be possible to recover for a portion of your damages.
Use discovery to your advantage. Discovery is the process through which both sides of a case make the required disclosure of facts and documents related to a case. A truck accident attorney will know how to use discovery tools such as interrogatories, requests for admission, and depositions to get the facts necessary to win your case.
Negotiate with the other side. Most injury claims are settled before reaching a trial. An experienced attorney can help negotiate a fair settlement, advising you on when you should accept a settlement offer or hold out for something better.
Identify potential defendants. In most accidents involving commercial trucks, there may be several possible defendants, including the trucking company, the driver's employer, and insurance companies. A truck accident attorney will know which parties may share in the responsibility for your injuries.
Know laws that are specific to the trucking industry. There are a number of laws and regulations specific to the trucking industry, such as those regulating commercial driver's licenses, driver rest requirements, maximum truck weight, and truck maintenance. These laws may affect a driver or trucking company's liability in a truck accident. A truck accident lawyer will know how both these state and federal laws may apply in your case.
To learn more about accidents involving big rigs and commercial trucks, head over to FindLaw's section on Truck Accidents.
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