Month: June 2017

Determining Liability in an Auto vs. Truck Accident

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of large trucks traveling on U.S. roads. Large trucks transport all types of goods from food to hazardous materials. If you or a member of your family has injuries from an accident with a large truck, you will need to establish who is liable for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. Here are some things that will help you determine if you have a viable case:

Accident Statistics

A 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 111,000 people sustained injuries in accidents with large trucks.

  • There also were 438,000 trucks involved in traffic accidents.
  • About 74 percent of the injured people were occupants of other types of vehicles, such as automobiles.
  • Seventeen percent were occupants of large trucks.

Determining Liability in a Truck Accident

The following list contains parties who could be held liable for trucking accidents:

• The truck driver
• The trucking company that owns the truck and trailer
• The company or person that leased the truck and trailer
• The manufacturer of the truck
• The manufacturer of the tires on the truck
• The manufacturer of any defective parts
• Any company responsible for loading truck

Causes of Truck and Auto Accidents

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that 44 percent of truck drivers take over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions before or while driving. Possible side effects of these drugs are drowsiness and dizziness. Another cause of accidents is the driver drinking alcohol while driving on public roads. The FMCSA also reports that the most common causes of trucking accidents are truck driver errors:

• Driving too fast on roads
• Improper loading of cargo
• Fatigue from working excessive hours
• Unfamiliar with roads and area
• Distractions such as talking on smartphone without a hands-free device
• Using devices to text, surf the internet, and watch videos
• Inexperience handling the truck
• Improper attachment of trailer to the truck
• Depowering the front brakes to reduce operating costs

Evidence in Truck and Auto Accidents

It is important to gather evidence supporting your case against a trucking company. Many trucking companies install electronic event data recorders in their trucks. This equipment keeps track of all operations of the truck. Here is some of the information the equipment records:

• Speed of the truck
• Patterns of truck speed
• Length of truck operating time
• Frequency of break usage

Government agencies require a certified truck inspection after all accidents. This inspection will reveal the condition of the truck and trailer.

Damages in Truck and Auto Accidents

You will need compensation for any expenses incurred by the accident. These expenses are known as damages. Here are some damages you can receive compensation for during your lawsuit:

• Medical expenses such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and physical therapy
• Wages lost due to the accident
• Mental and physical pain
• Property loss
• Loss of companionship such as loss of affection from spouse
• Special damages that include monetary loss due to the accident

You should contact a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer soon after the trucking accident happens. You have rights to protect concerning injuries and property damage. Here are some reasons to contact a lawyer following an accident:

• There is a limited time to sue the responsible party
• Their familiarity with state rules and regulations
• You have the legal right to recover damages
• Their knowledge of complex laws governing lawsuits
• They can pursue all responsible parties to maximize your recovery
• They can help you understand settlement option

A personal injury lawyer can be your advocate throughout the lawsuit process. They can help you fight your way back to physical, mental, and financial health.

Hickey & Turim SCThanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim SC for their insight into accident and personal injury cases.

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI/DWI

It’s a frightening moment: you’re driving home from dinner and drinks when suddenly you see flashing lights and hear a siren behind you. Even under the best of circumstances, an encounter with law enforcement can be nerve-wracking. What should you do when you’re pulled over after having a few drinks? Here are a few things you should know as articulated by a DUI and DWI lawyer Waco TX trusts:

1. You Don’t Have to Answer (Most) Questions

As with any encounter with law enforcement, you have the right under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remain silent and refuse to answer potentially incriminating questions. This means that you don’t have to tell a police officer how many drinks you’ve had or where you’re coming from. However, in many states, you are required to comply with lawful orders or requests from law enforcement officers. Often, this requires you to comply with a request to identify yourself with your driver’s license and provide the officer with registration and liability insurance information upon request. Similarly, if an officer requests that you step out of your vehicle, you are required to comply.

2. You Don’t Have to Perform Any “Tests” or Give a Sample Voluntarily

If you’ve been stopped after drinking, you may be asked by the officer to perform some tests. Commonly, the officer will add that he just wants to make sure that you’re okay to drive home. Whether or not that’s actually true, these tests are also the next step of a standard DUI/DWI investigation, and a video of your performance is almost always a central piece of evidence in a DUI/DWI prosecution. It’s important to know that you are not required to perform these tests. Given that some people have trouble performing the tests when completely sober, you should decline to perform them if asked.

The same principle applies to a request for a breath or blood sample. If you’re worried about what the result might be, it is usually best to refuse. The officer can get a warrant to draw a blood sample, but officers don’t always follow through with the paperwork and hassle it takes to get the warrant. Even if they do apply for a warrant, the warrant—and thus the test result—may be subject to exclusion in your case if the officer doesn’t do the process correctly.

3. Know Your Rights, But Be Polite

As important as it is to know your rights, you should also exercise them intelligently and with respect. Know that your interaction with law enforcement is being recorded from start to finish. Even if the officers don’t get video of you doing the tests or get a sample to test, people who act belligerent or disrespectful aren’t likely to get any favors from officers, prosecutors, or jurors. Additionally, emotional volatility and poor decision-making are classic signs of intoxication that can be used against you. Refuse to aid law enforcement’s investigation, but do so calmly and respectfully.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Sutton, Milam & Fanning for their insight into DUIs and criminal defense practice.