Almost every consumer product, from a thumb tack to a party van, spent some time on a large truck. So, a fully-loaded large truck weighs over 80,000 pounds. As a result, the force in a semi-truck collision is so immense that no safety restraint system, however sophisticated, could possibly absorb it. Catastrophic burns are often the worst injuries in these collisions. Diesel fuel burns at a different temperature from ordinary gasoline, making the resulting burns extensive, painful, and difficult to treat.
These injury claims are complex, not just because the injuries are so severe. Generally, an out-of-state shipping or transportation company owned the truck involved in the crash. These companies often immediately hire high-priced lawyers to defend them in court. Because of these complexities, only the most experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer should handle such claims. Inexperienced lawyers have little or no chance of obtaining maximum compensation in these cases.
Basic Building Blocks
Compensation is available if a Marietta personal injury attorney proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Since they’re commercial operators, truck drivers usually have a higher duty of care in Georgia. So, it is easier to prove negligence, or a lack of care, in these cases.
Noncommercial drivers, who have a lower duty of reasonable care, normally have some margin for error. Not every driving error is a breach of care in these situations. But truckers have a duty of utmost care. Thus, almost any driving mistake, such as speeding slightly above the posted limit, is a lack of care.
Nevertheless, evidence is still critical. Basic ingredients usually include the police accident report, witness statements, and medical bills. Sometimes, these basic ingredients are enough to obtain maximum compensation. More often than not, at least one ingredient is weak or missing.
Witness statements are a good example. Most large truck crashes are freeway crashes. Very few witnesses stop what they are doing, pull over to the side, and wait hours to give an official statement to a police officer.
This lack of evidence is especially critical if, as is often the case, the victim either did not survive the crash or sustained such a severe injury, usually a head injury, that their memory is compromised.
If all basic building blocks are not in place, there is no need to settle for less. Additional electronic evidence, usually a large truck’s Event Data Recorder, is usually available. Basically, an EDR is an onboard computer that measures and records operational data, such as:
- Engine RPM,
- Brake application,
- Vehicle speed, and
- Steering angle.
A skilled attorney can put these seemingly random bits of evidence together and shape them into eyewitness testimony. This testimony is almost bulletproof in court. Computers are never incorrect or biased as long as they are working properly. Moreover, electronic evidence usually resonates very well with tech-savvy Cobb County jurors.
Lawyers must act quickly to preserve this critical proof. Rather than pay storage fees, insurance companies normally destroy wrecked trucks and other wrecked vehicles. Once that happens, the EDR, and any other physical evidence the vehicle contained, is lost.
A spoliation letter creates a legal duty to preserve any potential physical proof, including the EDR, for future inspection.