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The Utah Accident Book "The Essential Guide to Accident Cases in Utah"
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Utah Trucking Accidents
Semi-truck accidents are responsible for literally thousands of serious injuries and deaths each year in the United States. A good percentage of these happen in Utah. If you or a family member have been involved in a Utah trucking accident, it is crucial that you do certain things to protect your legal rights. Sometimes, what you do (or don’t do) can significantly damage your potential trucking accident lawsuit.
One of the most important things to do is to get prompt medical attention. Even if you don’t think your injury is serious, you should still get medical help right away. Often, those seriously injured don’t understand at the beginning the full extent of their injuries. And if you don’t have medical insurance, you should still do what you can to get medical attention.
Soon after the crash, an investigator or adjuster will be calling to “ask a few questions.” These will be recorded. It is during this interview that the interrogator will try to lock you into a position, both as to how the trucking accident happened and as to the extent of your injuries. Because of the serious nature of these cases, it is best NOT to speak with one of these adjusters or investigators until you speak with an experienced truck accident attorney. Certainly you will not want to sign any document until you speak with legal counsel. Remember: the investigator from the trucking company or their insurance people will not have your best interest at heart. They are simply trying to cover their backside.
In trucking accident cases, your truck accident lawyer will start a prompt investigation and will look at the police report, witness statements, photographs, driver’s logs, driver’s receipts, and other trucking documentation. They will also examine all applicable insurance policies in effect at the time of the crash. In certain cases, an truck accident reconstruction expert will be brought in to analyze the facts and to determine who was to blame for the crash. Also critically important in Utah truck accident cases, is to see if there is any rule breaking that went on before the crash. Not only Utah safety laws that may have been broken, but laws contained in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Big rig drivers, as well as other commercial drivers, are held to a higher standard of care and are required to drive more responsibly than your average motorist. A trucking company that employs a semi driver that has fudged his driving logs, could be in big trouble if it looks like the driver was driving while sleep deprived. This type of violation could open the door to punitive damages since the act of violating the FMCSR is usually seen as a “willful” and “intentional” act.
If you or a family member have been injured, it is important to act fast. Some of the evidence that you might need to prove your case, such as the driver’s logs, may not be available after six months. Other evidence, such receipts and other shipping documentation, may also start to disappear. While a letter from a Utah trucking attorney asking the driver or his company to preserve this evidence is helpful, the best course of action is full and prompt investigation by an attorney who knows what to look for and who knows what the value of your case is.
The best Utah truck accident attorney will NOT treat your case as a run-of-the-mill car wreck case. They will treat it as the serious trucking case that it is: one that requires prompt and thorough investigation of the trucking company while never neglecting the medical and other needs that you might have in these kinds of cases.