Time is of the essence when it comes to hiring a personal injury attorney following any type of injury accident. This is because an injury attorney can help preserve evidence, ensure you get the medical care and documentation needed, and file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. However, hiring an attorney quickly following a tractor trailer accident is especially important. Here are a few of the things you will want to do so should you find yourself injured after your car collides with a semi truck.
Obtaining Logs from the Tractor Trailer
If you were involved in an accident involving a tractor trailer, the log books that the driver keeps can be invaluable. By law, this log must be kept and must include
- The name of the company that owns the tractor trailer
- The name of the individuals who have driven the trailer
- The number of hours the driver has driven the big rig, including start and stop times and break times
- What type of cargo is being transported
- The weight of the cargo being transported
- The number of miles the truck is driven per day
Additionally, a maintenance log book is also required to be kept. This log book includes information such as:
- When the big rig was last serviced
- Information regarding the test of brakes and hand brakes
- Tire replacement details
Having this information can play a crucial role in determining fault for an accident involving a tractor trailer. If you can show the driver did not follow the laws in regards to how many hours they can drive per day, it is possible the driver was tired and caused the accident. If the truck is traveling a large number of miles per day, you may be able to prove the driver of the truck routinely speeds, and that may have played a role in the accident. In some instances, the log book can show the types of cargo being carried and the weight of those items, which may help prove shifting cargo played a role in the accident. Or you may be able to prove the brakes or tires on the truck were not properly maintained, leading to an accident.
Unfortunately, there is only a limited amount of time for you to obtain this log book, and often times, it needs to be subpoenaed from the company that owns the tractor trailer. Hiring a tractor trailer accident lawyer following the accident can help you get your hands on this log, which can help you win your case.
Determining What Insurance Carriers to Join in the Lawsuit
Another benefit to hiring a tractor trailer accident lawyer quickly is that they can figure out who needs to be joined in your personal injury lawsuit. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you typically only need to join the driver and their insurance carrier in the lawsuit. But when it comes to tractor trailer accident, there may be many other parties involved.
If a tractor trailer driver is not an independent contractor, you will need to bring the company that they work for into the lawsuit. In some instances, the company they work for may not own the cab or the trailer of the big rig. Depending on who owns those two pieces, you may need to add two other parties to the lawsuit. And if there is some sort of mechanical or tire failure, you may need to add the tire company or big rig manufacturer into the lawsuit. The correct parties need to be added before the statute of limitations expires.
Anytime you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are many benefits to hiring an attorney quickly. They can work to obtain witness statements, document the crash scene and begin obtaining evidence that can disappear. When it comes to tractor trailer accidents, hiring a truck accident lawyer quickly is even more important. They can help you obtain driving and maintenance logs and join all of the needed parties to the lawsuit.