When commercial semi truck drivers have accidents, the truck drivers have a plan to limit or contain the trucking company's liability damage. Often big rig semi trucks are equipped with cameras and the trucks are always equipped with instructions to call the trucking company. This means that that the trucking company will have their own investigator, especially in the case of a serious injury on the way to the tractor trailer accident sometimes before the police are on the way to the truck crash scene.
While a victims family is grieving over the loss of a loved one, a trucking company insurance company is making certain that deserved compensation to the victims family is contested. Because McCutcheon and Hamner handles trucking accident cases and only personal injury cases, we know what to do in handling complex truck wreck cases. We are not suggesting that lawyers who handle divorce work or DUI cases do not know what to in handling truck wreck cases. What we are saying is here at McCutcheon and Hamner, Accident and Injury Lawyers have a tried and tested team of truck accident reconstructionists that is on call 24 hours a day/7 days a week that we call immediately in truck wreck cases, this system has resulted in millions of dollars paid to our clients.
Most commercial cars and trucks, like airplanes have "black boxes". These are known as Event Data Recorders and they record certain vehicle information. Commercial vehicle data measurement varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Tractor-trailer accidents involve two or three major black box manufacturers, these commercial vehicle black boxes record several days back in time of use, average truck speed, vehicle speed at the time just before the last braking event occurred. This is information the trucking company often does not want you to have if you are involved in an accident with their vehicle. (like one of the last cases we had where the truck was traveling 13 mph in excess of the posted speed limit before the driver lost control)
It is very important that the trucking company receive a "preservation letter" so that our truck accident expert can be present when the commercial vehicle data is downloaded and so that the semi truck remains in the same condition it was in at the time of the accident. We have seen cases where truckers used mismatched brakes from the left to right side and other cases where tractor trailer brakes were not within the specifications required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Obviously, trucking companies do not want people injured in accidents with their vehicles to know these facts.
Cars can have EDRs (black boxes) and some give changes in speed, brake action, accelerator action and whether or not seat-belts were buckled or airbag deployed, when an accident occurs. Obviously, these facts are important when investigating vehicle accidents. Time is of the essence when a serious injury or death occurs in connection with an accident.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle or any vehicle, call 911- then contact the Accident and Injury team at McCutcheon and Hamner, Personal Injury Lawyers- 256.333.5000.
Commercial and Charter Vehicle Accidents
Every time we see someone hurt or killed by a big truck, we should be reminded that 110,000 people a year are injured or killed by a commercial vehicle. Every 16 minutes someone is killed or seriously injured by a tractor trailer truck. Every day somewhere in the United States a wheel comes off an 18 wheeler semi truck and those truck wheels at 50 or 60 mph can do tremendous damage.
We all need to be reminded that every 18 wheeler truck has a commercial policy of insurance with a million dollar limit and a team of truck crash experts who the trucking company will usually have at the truck crash site within an hour. Truck wreck evidence is hidden,evidence is obtained,accident witnesses are interviewed and local police officers are put into face to face conversations with expert vehicle truck accident reconstructionists from the trucking company.
McCutcheon and Hamner Accident and Injury Lawyers belong to a national organization of lawyers who handle truck wreck cases. We meet with this national team of commercial big truck attorneys to update each other on what the trucking companies are doing, how the trucking company lawyers are handling truck crash cases and the best way to protect our injured clients. The horror stories of what these truck insurance companies do to protect themselves is startling. Often,after an accident, the truck driver has to meet with the trucking company lawyer before he goes home. One of our group had a case where a trucking company had a very nice lady fly the family of an injured truck wreck victim to the town where the crash victim was in the hospital, put them up in a hotel, gave them cell phones and meal cards, and then spent all their time learning as much bad information about the truck injury victim and their spouse as possible. The lawyer for the injured truck accident victim did not learn of this until six weeks before trial.
At McCutcheon & Hamner we have our own team of truck wreck experts on call 24 hours a day / 7 days a week that we dispatch to truck wreck scenes immediately-when you contact us about your accident.
What has changed is that over the years injury victims lawyers could always use the "black box" information from the engine control monitor to tell us about the speed of the truck and the trailer braking before impact and still can, but now with various electronic devices such as Qualcom and other third party vehicle information data systems, we can obtain information from companies other than the trucking company. We can use what we learn about the 18 wheeler truck to compare it with the actual truck driver log books. Quite often these two sets of data are different. About 40% of all tractor trailer accidents involve truck driver fatigue. These truck drivers are professionals and they spend a lot of time behind the wheel of their big truck. These truck drivers work hard and are often overworked by their trucking company. Their trucking company asks them to drive more than they should and appreciates them when they do, but when a truck accident results,the trucking company has to try and cover up those extra driving requests, where the company has asked the truck driver to work beyond their legal hours of service.
Lawyers can not treat commercial vehicle accidents as if they are a regular car wreck case. Truck wrecks cannot be treated as a regular car wreck, there is an entire set of federal regulations that govern this very dangerous trucking industry.