We do see a lot more crush injuries due to the weights and forces involved in most trucking accidents. We also see more amputations due to the forces involved causing ejections from the vehicles. The last thing I would say that we see more often in semi truck and vehicle collisions is closed head injuries. They are caused by the passengers striking their heads violently in these types of accidents.
The biggest challenge is that the trucking industry is quite sophisticated, and in most cases, immediately after a truck is involved in a collision, the trucking company will hire a professional investigator to immediately get involved and start an investigation. They will have an advantage by way of looking at the facts and date early on in the investigation.
Secondly, a major, major issue I have touched on previously in these cases is data preservation and dissecting that data and the complexities of these accidents is critical. That is something that almost always requires an expert to perform an accident reconstruction investigation based upon the data in the black box and upon the information from the police report. This is a major hurdle that needs to be climbed over quickly in these types of cases.
The third thing that is going to be very challenging to the individual is to understand that federal regulations are a little bit complex in this area. There are lots of rules and regulations that sometimes are not properly followed by the trucking industry, especially by the truck drivers, and specifically their employers. They do not like to always comply with these rules and regulations because it costs them money and sometimes they feel it is easier to avoid complying with the regulations. Most trucking companies do not get caught or they will not get caught until an accident occurs as a result of that violation or regulation. Federal rules and regulations are an integral part of any personal injury truck accident case.
Honestly, the first thing a person needs to do is hire an attorney who has a lot of experience in dealing with trucking accidents. It is as simple as that. If you do not do that, you are going to be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the trucking company’s professional hired guns. Secondly, a person needs to retain a copy of the police report. The sooner a person has a copy of that police report, the better off they will be, because oftentimes, the police report will give significant clues as to what the trucking company is claiming and what the truck driver says.
The other step they need to realize is not to give out any statements until they consult with their attorney. They are going to be pressed by the trucking company or its insurance carrier to give a recorded statement about the accident before the truck company pays their claim. A recorded statement taken by a truck company professional is an attempt to figure out how they might be able to limit or completely deny your claim. I know that is not really a step, but it is so important to understand in these cases that you do not give a recorded statement to anyone without your attorney present.
What the truck company traditionally does is that it doesn’t deny the claim, they minimize the claim. In many cases, they might admit to fault, but then deny the nature and extent of your injuries and say, “Well, we’ll pay for the ER visit, but we don’t really think that you were injured beyond needing an ER visit and being checked by a doctor.” Most of the time, the truck companies only admit to what they have to concede to, and that may be accepting that they were at fault, but not accepting full responsibility for all damages.
I have yet to see a case where a trucking company has admitted to fault and admitted that they are responsible for all of the damages caused by an accident. They will almost always limit their obligation to what they perceive to be a minimal responsibility. It takes good medical care and medical documentation to overcome that denial.