In the United States alone, roughly 500,000 trucking accidents occur each year, with an average of 5,000 of them resulting in at least one death. These are astronomical numbers. While we have seen an increase in new technology that we’re hoping helps to bring those numbers down, it is still up to drivers to create the safest driving environment possible. We can have all the back-up cameras and radial warnings we want, and still, fatigued driving and drunk driving are entirely up to us to avoid. A majority of truck accidents occur due to those two factors. If the unfortunate case arises in which you need to file a claim for a trucking accident, we want to help you be as prepared as possible.
There are a few key ways to best ensure you have an irrefutable case. First, if possible, immediately document all damages incurred. This may be property damage or physical damage. Take photos of as much as you can, so long as it is safe to do so. Then, be sure to take down contact information of witnesses and any other victims, and provide them with your contact information as well. A key witness may be the deciding factor in who wins a trucking related accident. Also, be sure to keep note of any pain or physical harm that appears over time. Car accidents are notorious for delayed aches and soreness. This will help to determine medical coverage needed. Lastly, we advise people to hire an attorney sooner rather than later. If you approach the truck driver or trucking company unrepresented, they will immediately try to offer a settlement that ensures you will not sue. This is often because they know you have a case and they do not want to pay the full amount you are owed.
In the event that you are able to converse with the truck driver, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:
What time did you wake up this morning?
It’s no secret that truck drivers are on the road for long hours, sometimes at an unfathomable length of time. In order to complete a job, truck drivers may try to stay awake as long as they can, sleeping very little, and ultimately creating an unsafe environment for everyone around them. Getting proper rest is a huge problem with truck drivers and the trucking industry. If a driver cannot even recall when they woke up, chances are they haven’t slept in a while.
What were you doing just as the accident occurred?
This question is very important to both drivers. If phones were a distraction, that can be an issue. Texting while driving is illegal, and in New Mexico, a novice driver is not legally allowed to send or receive calls, even hands-free. A few other common distractions in trucking accidents are drivers eating, distracted by a radio call or trying to adjust mirrors. If ever there are distractions which caused the accident, it is almost always going to be the fault of the distracted driver.
What is your next stop?
If the truck driver’s next stop is a motel or resting stop, you may be able to extrapolate that they were in need of sleep. If the other driver involved was on the way to the hospital or work, they may have been rushing or speeding. Finding out where each driver was headed is a good indication of the type of hurry or mood they may have been in, letting us know what kind of state they were driving in.
If you are unsure whether you have a case or not, or if you need some guidance on what your next steps should be, contact us today for a free evaluation. The attorneys at Buckingham Barrera are here to help you and your family. Allow us to review your case and better guide you through the process.