What do I do if I was involved in a Catastrophic Trucking Accident?

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Why do so many attorneys encourage people to protect their rights immediately by hiring a lawyer if they are involved in a catastrophic trucking accident?  Many would accuse personal injury lawyers as simply being ambulance chasers looking to make a dime. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

A published article, Responding to Catastrophic Trucking Accident, was written specifically to the owners of trucking companies explaining what steps they should take when one of their big rigs and drivers have been involved in an accident of catastrophic proportions.  As you read their advise, think about it, does it sound like these steps protect you the injured victim or the bottom line of the trucking companies and their insurance companies?

The article states that the trucking company should do everything in their power to get an attorney to the accident scene.  Why? In this way, anything that the driver of the big rig says is protected by attorney-client privilege. In this way the trucking company can prevent the driver from admitting to guilt at the scene and any comments the driver makes would be classified as ‘work product protection.’

This same article also encourages the owners of the big rigs to ask that their insurance company send an insurance adjustor to the accident scene.  Why?  It is suggested that in this way they obtain the ‘good will’ of the law enforcement officer preparing the Traffic Collision Report and obtain ‘other information even before the official report is issued.’

The article also advised that the trucking company to research the potential claimants by performing background checks on the injured drivers and passengers which would turn up information about the potential claimants as this can turn up ‘valuable information.’  Emphasis was given for the insurance company to basically determine how much money a person makes to determine their ‘worth.’

It should be said that it is admirable that the writer encouraged the trucking company to preserve physical evidence and to comply with requests to turn such evidence.  The writer pointed out that failure to do so could cause the trucking company to be accused of spoliation of evidence. Many a personal injury lawyers would note that ‘spoilation of evidence’ is a huge problem on trucking accident cases.  Time after time, reports, logs, and truck parts simply ‘go missing.’

The writer also properly pointed out that that should the truck causing the collision return to the regular lot where trucks are kept, then employees of the trucking company may remove and throw out the damaged truck parts.  The actions of said employees may be innocent in the sense that they do not understand the legal repercussions of their actions.Some employees of trucking companies do not realize that by repairing a truck prior to it being inspected or by throwing out damaged truck parts they are spoiling evidence.  Other employees may recognize that such actions are wrong but may be fearful of losing their job for failure to perform upkeep on a truck or for ‘doctoring’ logs or for failure to keep proper documentation.

Much of the advice given is logical from the viewpoint of the insurance carrier. This advice helps them with their bottom line.  In fact the writer mentions that these steps would help the trucking company and their insurance company better understand ‘what the potential exposure may be.’  Unfortunately, it is in the best interest of the insurance company to limit their exposure. In other words, the insurance companies only make a profit when they limit payments on claims to injured people.

Clearly, the insurance company of the trucking industry has people working to limit their exposure from the start.  While you or your loved one is fighting to stay alive in an ICU or in severe pain at a local emergency room, the trucking company is working hard to protect their assets. Shouldn’t you have some one on your side helping protect your rights, preserve evidence, and make sure that you get the best possible recovery.  Injuries from catastrophic trucking accidents are usually life-changing. In other words, the injured may not ever fully recover.

The Edward A Smith Law Offices has been fighting for the rights of those severely injured in catastrophic trucking accidents for several decades.   Please feel free to contact us to with any questions or concerns you may have.  We can be reached at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  I know that before any of us at the Edward A Smith Law Offices hire someone we do our due diligence in checking the person out.  Feel free to do the same and learn what others are saying about me, my practice, my staff and the results I have gotten them.  You can use sites such as Google, AVVO or Yelp to do this.  You can get a sense of my office my checking our social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest.  My website also contains some information about a few of the verdicts and settlements we have obtained over the years.

While my website, AutoAccident.com, clearly shows we handle car accident claims, it should be noted that we are a premier truck accident law firm in California and have successfully obtained millions of dollars for those injured in big rig collisions. Please let us know how we can help.