When a motor vehicle and a truck collide, Oregon truck injury accident laws can mean that making a claim can be almost as problematic as the collision itself. It doesn’t matter that a car, SUV or pickup truck are no match for the power and size of a semi or large box truck; proving liability can be quite complex.
What information do I need to make a truck accident injury claim?
Portland truck accident attorneys know that cases involving making a claim against a trucking company or truck driver can be far more difficult than “normal” vehicle accidents. Some of the truck accident claim basics that lawyers and investigators will look into include:
- Should the claim be made against the trucker, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or a combination of any or all of these? Oregon truck accident law allows for the possibility of suing more than one entity in a single accident.
- How did the truck driver’s actions contribute to the accident? What was his mental state, and how was he physically? Should the truck driver be tested for alcohol or drugs?
- Does the trucker have the appropriate credentials and training for the truck he was driving when the accident occurred?
- Was the driver fatigued? Investigators will want to review the trucker’s log to confirm whether or not federal and Oregon truck accident laws relating to rest periods were adhered to by the driver.
- Another question investigators will ask is what condition the truck was in before the accident occurred. Investigators will ask for truck maintenance and inspection records, as well as testing and loading histories.
- Was the roadway on which the accident happened suitable for truck travel? Were appropriate signs posted, and what condition was the road in at the time of the crash?
Where does all this evidence come from?
Oregon truck accident law may be complex, but they also require an extensive range of documentation to be kept by truckers and trucking companies. Some of these records can be useful sources of information, but there are many others as well. When preparing a truck accident claim, the following sources may contain vital evidence to support your claim:
- Trucking logs
- Witness statements. Get as many as possible immediately after the accident, or at least the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who may have seen what happened.
- Police reports. Your Portland truck accident attorney will know exactly how and where to acquire these.
- Cell phone records from both the driver and the trucking company
- The truck driver’s safety and driving records, training history and copies of his driving licenses. All these will be contained in the driver’s personnel file.
- Gaining access to a copy of the trucking company’s safety record is one of the key truck accident claim basic procedures.
A good personal injury attorney will use an accident investigator to assess evidence collected at the accident scene to try to find any defects or failures of the truck’s equipment. They will also try to find records of previous accidents involving the same failure or defects in trucks.
If the truck itself was defective, part of your claim could be against the manufacturer. A case could also be made under Oregon truck accident law against the trucking company for being negligent in not finding or remedying the problem before it caused the accident.
Special witnesses may be required in cases involving trucks
As well as other road users who witnessed the accident, a good truck accident attorney will call on experts and specialists to support a truck accident claim. The types of expert witnesses that may be used include:
- Accident reconstructionists
- Computer graphics technicians
- Forensic specialists
- Specialists with a background in trucking safety
The other guy has his own investigators
Because of the amount of damage that trucks can do to both people and property, it’s not uncommon for trucking companies to have their own investigators. These people are hired to immediately and vigorously start collecting any evidence they can find to indicate the real fault of the accident lies with the car driver.
Some of the things the trucking company investigators will look for include evidence that the car driver:
- Was passing in an unsafe manner, contributing to the accident
- Crossed the center line into the path of oncoming traffic which may have included the truck
- Had been drinking or was under the influence of other intoxicants
- Did not obey traffic laws; for example by following too closely, running a red light or speeding
- Was driving in the trucker’s blind spot
- Tried to cut between the truck and a curb
What kind of damages can I expect to recover?
If you’ve made a successful truck accident claim, damages that you can expect to recover include:
- Economic damages, which would cover medical care and rehabilitation, loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity
- Non-economic damages including those for pain and suffering, disfigurement or a decline in your quality of life
- Loss of intimate relations between yourself and your spouse, also known as loss of consortium
- Punitive damages, which punish a trucking company for being dishonest, reckless, or acting in bad faith
- Double or triple damages can be awarded under certain circumstances, like if the truck driver was guilty of drunk driving
Clearly, Oregon truck accident law is highly complex, and filing a claim is a process which may require far more evidence, as well as independent and expert testimony not normally needed in car-to-car accidents. Trying to uncover all this accident on your own would be hugely difficult and time consuming.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a truck, it’s critically important that you seek immediate medical treatment. After that, contact a reputable and experienced Portland truck accident attorney. Choose one that understands the complexities of Oregon truck accident laws and who knows whether to file a claim against the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer or all of these. Trucks are large and powerful and have the potential to do tremendous damage, and if this has happened to you, you deserve to be compensated. Get the help you’ll need to make a successful claim.