Any accident that involves a tractor-trailer will typically cause a greater amount of property damage and more severe injuries than a crash involving passenger cars. The size and weight of an 18-wheeler can create the potential for very serious accidents. When a 40-ton tractor-trailer collides with a 3,000 pound economy car, the result can be incredible carnage resulting in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
Accidents involving a large truck can happen at any time, but the risk is highest during the morning and evening commute times when roads are the most crowded. Accidents involving large trucks differ significantly from accidents involving only passenger cars, SUVs, pickups or vans. In a rear impact crash, the vehicle that is struck usually sustains the most damage. If a big-rig rear-ends a passenger car, the occupants of the passenger car often suffer severe injuries that include traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, spinal cord damage, severe burns, or damage to vital organs.
If you or someone that you love has been in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, it is important to understand what happens in the hours and days following this type of vehicle collision. Since large trucks are often owned by a trucking company and covered by a commercial insurance policy, the trucking company will notify its insurer of the accident. Many trucking companies also have the ability to dispatch trucking accident investigators to the crash site within minutes. This means that a team of trucking investigators and insurance defense lawyers might be aligned against you, gathering evidence, and crafting a legal defense strategy before you have even consulted with an experienced Mississippi trucking accident lawyer.
As a part of their assessment of the accident, the investigators will try to speak to as many of the people who were at or near the scene of the accident as they can. Injury victims should not assume that the investigators are neutral parties since they are employed by the trucking company or its insurer. In other words, these investigators do not have your best interest in mind. You have the right to refuse to speak with the investigators until you have had the opportunity to obtain legal advice about the accident. It is a good idea to contact a Mississippi trucking accident attorney as soon as possible after you are involved in a tractor-trailer collision. Your attorney can provide you with valuable support in dealing with the accident investigators. The attorneys you retain will employ their specialized knowledge regarding commercial insurance policies, trucking industry laws and regulations, strategies for preserving evidence, crash analysis and reconstruction, and motor vehicle liability rules to build a compelling claim for financial compensation.
The issue of preservation of evidence is fundamental to trucking litigation. Commercial carriers often have their trucks repaired shortly after a crash and return the truck to service. When the truck is quickly returned to its pre-crash condition and put back on the road, critical evidence can be lost. The event data recorder (“black box”) information involving the crash can be erased because the recorders have limited recording space. Further, physical or mechanical repairs can impair the ability of trucking accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the semi-truck accident. Our Mississippi trucking accident lawyers often send a notice to the trucking company indicating that the big-rig and its black box are the subject of litigation. This letter will warn the trucking company that failure to preserve this evidence in its post-crash condition will force our law firm to seek sanctions for “spoliation” of evidence. We also seek gas receipts, driver log books, tire invoices, and other documents to construct a compelling claim for damages.
If you or someone that you love has been injured or died in a Mississippi trucking accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away so that your rights can be protected. The knowledgeable and experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Porter & Malouf, P.A. might be able to help you. If you have questions, please call our office today at (601) 957-1173 to schedule a free initial consultation.