1. Preserve evidence with a spoliation letter: To preserve evidence, your attorney needs to send a spoliation letter to the trucking company. This is critically important. The spoliation letter puts the trucking company on notice that an accident victim has a claim against the company and that the company is responsible for preserving evidence that may be used to prove that claim. If this is not done, the trucking company could erase the information on the on-board recording device (if there is one) and destroy other evidence.
2. Everything you say can be used against you: You may be contacted by at least one commercial truck insurance adjuster or the trucking company. Do not talk to them. Their job is to get information from you that will result in less compensation for you. If you are contacted, tell them you are hiring an attorney and contact me for a free consultation. If you have retained a lawyer, give the insurance company representative the phone number of the law firm and no other information. Even a friendly conversation with a representative from a trucking company or an insurance representative can be used against you.
3. Don’t sign your rights away: Even if you have done your best not to talk to the trucking company or its insurance company, you may be pressured to sign a document after the accident. You should never sign anything before your attorney reads it and tells you to sign.
4. Get a second opinion: Even if the police report says you were at fault, if you disagree, you should hire an attorney to help you find out the truth. Attorney Fred Pritzker and I won a verdict for $2,400,000.00 in a wrongful death case where the police report indicated that the bicyclist was at fault and the truck driver was not. We proved otherwise when we took the case and did our own investigation. After obtaining the truck driver’s logbooks, we were able to determine that there were numerous falsifications, which should have caused the driver to be out of service at the time of the accident. Moreover, when we deposed the truck driver, we found out that he had failed to monitor his right outside mirrors when making the right turn that resulted in the bicyclist’s death. We also discovered that he believed he was pulling a 48-foot trailer, as opposed to a 53-foot trailer.
5. Hire the right attorney for the job: Most personal injury attorneys do not have experience with commercial truck accidents involving serious injury or wrongful death. The reason is because these cases involve specialized federal and state laws pertaining to commercial vehicles. It takes time to learn these and know how to use them to a client’s advantage. In addition, most personal injury law firms do not have the resources to fund these big truck cases. You can talk to me at no cost or obligation to you about my experience with semi truck accident claims. If you hire me, you will not have to pay unless we win your case.
Our law firm represents accident victims and their families nationwide in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Our top accident settlements and verdicts indicate our skill in this area of the law. Our offices are in Minneapolis, Minnesota.