Truck accident cases are very different from simple automobile accident cases. From its inception, the litigation of a truck accident case must be handled differently. Truck accident cases are more time-sensitive. The evidence of liability needs to be preserved more quickly. Truck accident cases are also more complicated due to insurance issues and federal trucking regulations. For these, and other reasons, there is typically a need for a trucking expert witness.
What makes a truck accident case more complex?
First, the physical dynamics of what happens during a truck accident is very different. Driving a large tractor-trailer takes more sophisticated driving skills than driving a car or even a pickup truck. Truck accident cases are also more involved because of the various regulations that govern the trucking industry. In fact, industry regulations often play a very critical role in truck accident litigation.
Often, trucks involved in motor vehicle accidents are transporting industrial or commercial products, which are controlled by specific regulations. If these regulations are not followed by trucking companies and their drivers, there may be a source of liability. There are regulations regarding licensing, hours of service, weight and route restrictions.
How can an expert witness help in a truck accident case?
There are many different issues with which an expert witness can be helpful, when it comes to proving liability in truck accident litigation. Some of the most common issues include:
- Driver fatigue
- Alcohol and drug use
- Driver errors
- Improper maintenance
- Bad brakes
- Tire blowout
- Tread separation
- Failure to comply with federal regulations
- Excessive speed
Whenever liability is in dispute, which is most times, the trucking company will no doubt have an expert witness testifying on its behalf. It is in the best interest of the injured party to also retain experts in order to counter the testimony of an opposing expert.
Experts in Truck Accident Investigation
In some cases, experts in truck accident investigation can provide very valuable insight. The primary purpose of a truck accident investigation is to establish liability. The evidence at the scene of the accident must be preserved as soon as possible. An accident investigator has the knowledge and experience to collect all of the necessary and relevant evidence at the scene and also from the damaged vehicles themselves.
When would I not need an expert?
Typically, with trucking accident cases, the only time an expert may not be needed is when there is no question of liability. In other words, if it is clear that one party is completely at fault, an expert might not be required. Otherwise, if you are seriously injured or someone you love has died as a result of a truck accident, an expert witness should be retained.
If you have questions regarding trucking accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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