Anatomy of a Serious Commercial Crash
Truck wrecks are among the most complex personal injury cases, and these collisions occur with alarming frequency here in South Central Texas, mostly on major freeways like Interstate 35 and Interstate 10. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in one of these crashes, it is important to partner with an attorney who is highly experienced in these matters because truck wrecks require a unique approach.
Just like most new cars, most trucks have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) that electronically records key metrics that often contribute to a crash. However, truck EDRs are often more sophisticated, in terms of the amount of data they capture and record. Specifically, many EDRs store information about operation hours and safety status. This information is also in a driver’s log book. But, while almost anyone can fake a log entry, almost no one can fool an EDR. Finally, more and more trucks are now equipped with dash cams, and their images may provide nearly irrefutable proof of distracted driving or substance abuse.
Contrary to the messages that appear on TV, no insurance company is “on your side” or eager to pay claims following a vehicle collision. In fact, most insurance companies behave in the opposite fashion, often hiring lawyers and expert witnesses to deny compensation to victims.
However, since insurance companies rely on consumer goodwill, they typically exercise some level of restraint. Trucking companies are different, however. They do not particularly care whether consumers like them or not; their only concern is to maximize profits and limit expenses in any way possible.
Third Party Liability
More and more courts and government agencies now classify most all truck drivers as “employees” as opposed to “independent contractors.” So, respondeat superior or negligent hiring are almost always key legal theories in these cases. Third party liability is important because it gives injured victims an additional source of recovery.
Respondeat superior applies if the negligent drivers were working within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the crash; negligent supervision is essentially a fallback position that requires actual proof of harmful neglect on the part of an employer.
Serious truck wrecks almost always cause severe injuries. For a free consultation in this area, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.