Salt Lake City 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
According to the Utah Department of Transportation (DOT), almost 25 percent of Utah highway vehicles are trucks, and that number is growing. Tragically, in 2015, Utah suffered the most motor vehicle traffic crash deaths in seven years. Fourteen percent of those fatal crashes involved trucks. Many more innocent people were injured or lost property due to these accidents.
With many rigs weighing 80,000 pounds, the devastation can be profound and the legal implications complicated. A Salt Lake City 18 Wheeler accident lawyer who is experienced in these matters knows what to do and can assist you in your case.
Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident
It is important for a crash victim to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to learn his or her rights. Trucking company insurance providers may contact a crash victim, and they have their client’s best interest in mind when they do. A cooperative person might unknowingly provide them information that may later be used against them.
If an award is due, the trucking company might not carry sufficient coverage to cover all of a victim’s expenses. A skilled Salt Lake City 18 wheeler accident lawyer can inform you of these types of pitfalls and how to proceed, as well as negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Researching Truck Accidents
Dealing with an 18 wheeler accident is much more involved than a regular traffic accident. The truck driver may be at fault, but it’s also possible that the trucking company or another entity’s negligence caused the problem. Many areas must be explored in order to get the best financial reward one is due.
Gathering Crash Evidence
Gathering evidence demonstrating another party’s fault will be essential to your case:
- Weight limits
- Police reports
- Onboard computers
- Driver logs and other logs and records (that may be destroyed after a certain time period)
- Trucker broker liability
- Federal and local codes
- Drug tests
- Inspection records
Understanding Vehicle Inspections
Not only are there six levels of US truck inspections, including vehicles and drivers, but also enhanced inspections for radioactive shipments. These can all be quite involved, with the first-level inspection alone including twenty-six steps. Important case information can be gleaned from this data.
After a crash, all inspection and record-keeping offices should be contacted to request that no pre-accident evidence be destroyed (even if the mandatory retention time is up). Combing through this data may allow a thorough law practice to find evidence such as inspections that were not completed or inspection failures that were never remedied.
The records may also contain suspicious items—such as altered or duplicate log books (also known as “lie books”) that keep track of a driver’s hours on the road as well as rest time. Post-accident inspection data should also be evaluated. Lawsuits may arise due to any of the following:
- Equipment failure or negligence
- Violation of state and federal laws
- Driver fatigue
- Wrongful death
- Negligent hiring, entrustment, or retention practices (e.g. if the driver could have been considered high risk before being hired by his/her current employer)
Choose the Right Lawyer
If you have suffered damages related to a big-truck accident, Craig Swapp and Associates has both the experience required and knowledge of all the applicable laws that may apply to your case. We have substantial familiarity with these types of motor-vehicle-related accidents and have helped many clients get through the terrible aftermath of a crash.
Contact us to speak with a Salt Lake City 18 wheeler accident lawyer and learn how to assert your rights. Call us at 1-800-404-9000 and schedule your free consultation as soon as possible.