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Personal Injury

ADVOCATES FOR VICTIMS OF CARELESS TRUCKERS - TRACTOR-TRAILER ACCIDENT

An 80,000 pound, fully loaded tractor-trailer rig barreling down the highway poses a serious risk to others traveling the Mississippi roadways. Approximately 438,000 large trucks were involved in collisions during the most recent year for which National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics are available. These collisions caused 3,903 fatalities and accounted for 111,000 more injuries. Because a forty ton 18-wheeler can outweigh a passenger car by 26 times, the victims injured or killed in trucking accidents are occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians in more than four out of every five collisions according to the NHTSA.

While many people assume semi-truck collisions are like other motor vehicle accidents, George Schmidt, a Mississippi trucking accident attorney, recognizes the unique issues that make big-rig personal injury litigation complex. Trucking litigation requires an attorney with special knowledge and experience regarding the complex issues involved in tractor-trailer accident legal claims. Schmidt Law Firm has been successful in navigating the legal and factual issues in trucking accident cases.

WHY YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

Trucking accident lawsuits typically involve more complex factual and legal issues than the average car accident. It is very important to understand is that 18-wheeler accidents are not just “motor vehicle accidents involving a large vehicle.” Trucking accident victims will benefit from a top Mississippi trucking accident lawyer because this specialized area of motor vehicle litigation requires the following:

  • Knowledge of trucking industry practices and customs
  • Access to highly regarded trucking accident experts and investigators who can be quickly dispatched to an accident scene
  • Comprehensive understanding of the detailed regulatory structure that governs the trucking industry
  • Extensive experience and specialized training in trucking accident litigation

Our law firm has successfully represented clients in complex trucking litigation, so we have the knowledge, tenacity, and experience that tractor-trailer accident lawsuits require. Our success in and out of the courtroom allows us to negotiate from a position of strength and creates trust and respect that facilitates results.

WHY DO SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENTS OCCUR?

Tractor-trailer accidents that cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death can result from negligence involving multiple parties. Our law firm conducts asset searches and extensive discovery so that we can identify all responsible parties and sources of insurance coverage available to satisfy a judgment or settlement. This allows us to maximize the recovery for our clients because a verdict is meaningless without the ability to obtain funds from the defendants.
Some of the parties that might be responsible for trucking accidents include:
  • Truck Drivers: Many drivers with a commercial license often feel pressure from their employers to ignore safety practices and skirt trucking regulations to increase their income. Truck drivers might disregard hours of service (HOS) rules, which are regulations designed to prevent driver fatigue.  Some may use methamphetamines and other intoxicating substances to continue driving beyond the point of exhaustion. Unrealistic delivery schedules also can create pressure to speed or to take routes that are not safe. When a commercial driver disregards trucking regulations or operates a big-rig in an unsafe manner, the driver can be liable for causing a collision that results in injuries or fatalities.
  • Commercial Carriers: Trucking companies usually are responsible for the negligent conduct committed by their employees, which includes truck drivers. The legal doctrine of “respondeat superior,” which means “let the employer answer” makes an employer vicariously liable for the negligence of an employee. However, many commercial carriers engage in strategies like designating truck drivers as “independent contractors” in an attempt to evade liability. At Schmidt Law Firm, we look beyond such designations and instead focus on the nature of the relationship between the parties to defeat such tactics. Our law firm also pursues liability against trucking companies based on negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and negligent retention. A trucking company has a duty to properly inspect and maintain the trucks it uses to transport cargo. Our law firm knows that establishing the liability of the trucking company is imperative because the trucking companies tend to have more extensive insurance coverage than the truck driver.
  • Independent Maintenance Company: Some commercial carriers enter into maintenance contracts with third-party companies. These companies have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care when inspecting and maintaining tractor-trailers. If the brakes fail on a semi-truck because of improper maintenance, the maintenance provider can be financially responsible for the resulting losses.
  • Vehicle/Part Manufacturers: Sometimes defective parts or vehicles are the cause of crashes. When a vehicle component or semi-truck is defective, the manufacturer might be legally responsible.
  • Shipper: Improperly loaded cargo also can contribute to a collision. The shipper might be liable for injuries in this situation. If the load is unbalanced, overweight, or improperly secured, the trucking company and driver typically also share responsibility for this type of hazard.

PRESERVING EVIDENCE IN TRUCKING LITIGATION

Trucking companies anticipate that their drivers will be involved in accidents that generate litigation. In response to this risk, commercial carriers and their drivers have developed practices that frequently result in important evidence being manipulated or hidden. For example, federal regulations require truck drivers to maintain logbooks to document HOS compliance. These records are so routinely manipulated that they are derisively referred to as “lie books” in the trucking industry. Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) that document compliance with inspection requirements can also be inaccurate.

At Schmidt Law Firm, we take prompt action to defeat such tactics. We send a “spoliation letter” to the trucking company, which indicates the big-rig and truck data recorder (“black box”) are evidence in pending litigation and must be preserved unaltered. If the trucking company persists in attempting to repair the big-rig, which interferes with accident reconstruction analysis or by tampering with the information saved on the data recorder, we might seek a restraining order. Trucking litigation requires expertise in evidence preservation to prevent vital information or evidence from disappearing.

Because we have experience with trucking litigation, we also have the ability to use the discovery process to expose falsified logbook entries and fictional DVIRs. We carefully analyze all “black box” data from the truck’s data recorder. This data can provide critical information about hours of service, vehicle maintenance, sudden braking, speed before the collision, the location of the big-rig, and other valuable facts. In addition to the data we obtain from the truck’s “black box”, we will obtain and scrutinize fuel receipts, lodging bills, GPS data, email correspondence, the driver’s personnel file, safety violation records, and other relevant documents.

CALL A SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY

Schmidt Law Firm, PLLC is dedicated to pursuing justice and getting the maximum amount of compensation for victims of careless truck drivers and indifferent commercial carriers that establish unrealistic schedules. If you or a family member are a victims of a collision with an 18-wheeler, Schmidt Law Firm will hire the best accident reconstruction experts, trucking industry experts, medical experts, actuaries, engineering experts, and many other recognized leaders in their field to build a compelling cases for you.

The amount of money you can recover will depend on the unique facts of your case, we will help you to pursue monetary damages for medical and hospital expenses, unpaid earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, disfigurement, lost future earnings, loss of companionship of a spouse, punitive damages and/or other appropriate damages. Call Schmidt Law Firm, PLLC today, at 1-844-818-6995

Contact Schmidt Law Firm to get your voice heard.
Call us at 601-545-2525 to set up a free case evaluation.
ATTORNEY AT LAW 
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