Why Prompt Investigation is Key in a Tractor Trailer or Commercial Truck Accident

By: P. Christopher Guedri

Tractor trailer or commercial truck accidents often lead to very serious injuries or even death. Typically the stakes are very high, both for the plaintiff and the defendant when the accident leads to a personal injury case. If you have been involved in a tractor trailer or commercial truck accident, you should avoid giving statements to anyone regarding the incident before you speak to an attorney. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible following the accident because prompt investigation following a tractor trailer or commercial truck accident can often mean the difference between winning and losing your case.

If you do contact an attorney regarding your involvement in a tractor trailer or commercial truck accident, you will be classified as the plaintiff in the case. This is important because being classified as a plaintiff or a defendant changes how you and your attorney approach your case. Under Virginia law, you, the plaintiff, have the burden of proving how and why the accident happened. The defendant trucking company, on the other hand, has no obligation to provide any evidence at trial as to who caused the accident. Though it might seem absurd, if there was a scenario in which neither party brought any evidence to trial, the defendant trucking company would win! This is why it is vital that you speak with an attorney to get the investigation started as soon as possible.

Because the stakes are so high in tractor trailer or commercial truck accidents, trucking companies and their insurance companies often have dedicated investigation teams that can be at the scene of the accident within minutes or hours. They arrive at the scene and collect all the evidence that supports the truck driver's theory of how the accident happened. Unfortunately for you, the truck driver might have a very different theory, one that most likely minimizes his responsibility for causing the accident. Armed with this evidence, the trucking company's lawyers will do their best to convince the jury that the truck driver was neither negligent nor responsible for the accident in question.

• In order to prove that the truck driver was negligent and thus responsible for the accident, you, the plaintiff, must offer evidence at trial that shows this. Unfortunately, the more time that passes between the accident and the investigation, the more likely it is that the evidence you need at trial will disappear. For example, eyewitness accounts are some of the most convincing pieces of evidence you can offer at trial. If too much time passes, however, you might track down some eyewitnesses only for them to tell you they don't remember anything about the accident. Your attorney will be able to interview not only the people who witnessed your accident but also the law enforcement officers who investigated your case. Additionally, your attorney will be able to leverage the resources of his or her law firm to investigate the scene of the accident. The sooner your attorney begins his or her investigation, the stronger your evidence will be at trial and the more likely you are to win your case.

If you have been in a tractor trailer or commercial truck accident, it is important you contact an experienced lawyer. The personal injury lawyers at Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen can help evaluate your claims. For a free consultation and to talk about your case, call us at 866-388-1307.

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