Collisions with big rigs are difficult from the beginning because the liability is always disputed by the auto insurance companies even when the commercial truck driver is cited by law enforcement. Fault for the collision will always be fought by the semi truck insurance companies so this is something to be expected by the victims and their attorneys. We found it interesting that the truck drivers will call their company or their lawyer at the scene of the accident! The first phone call should always be to 911, and not your insurance company. This is a quick example of how insurance lawyers and insurance companies have created a system to provide the facts to law enforcement in the best light possible and deny responsibility at all odds.

Injuries after an accident with an 18 wheeler

The injuries from these types of accidents are severe most of the time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a record of these commercial vehicle crashes and thousands of injury causing events. As a result, thousands of victims will face the reality of medical bills and rehabilitation and sometimes life-long injuries that will never go away. Our clients go through therapy for months and sometimes even speech therapy in an attempt to go back to their former selves. Hence, the money recovered by attorneys on behalf of their clients is for real medical care that is costly and absolutely necessary.

The Laws are Different for Semi-Truck Accidents

Unlike car accidents that occur in Arizona–and are regulated by Arizona statutes, City Codes and County regulations–truck accident drivers are subject to federal laws that are designed to maintain safe highways and freeways. First, the driving time is regulated by federal law and it does not allow a semi-truck driver to be behind the wheel for more than 11 uninterrupted hours. This allows the public to be free from commercial truck drivers that are too tired to be on the road. The driving logs are inspected by law enforcement to see if there have been any violations. Further, after these 11 hours, there must be a break of 10 hours before driving again. There are other rules about the driving time in a week. These rules change when there are two drivers on the truck and a sleeping compartment.

The lawsuit and the discovery are different for commercial vehicle accidents

Most car accidents are handled at the State Court level. This means that if you were involved in a car accident in Phoenix, you will most likely end up in the Maricopa County Superior Court. If the car accident took place in Tucson, your case would be handled by the Pima County Superior Court. When you have a truck accident case, you may file your lawsuit in the State Superior Court, but it will most likely be removed to the U.S. District Court (federal courthouse). There are important differences between the two courts:

  • In federal court, the verdict jury verdict must be unanimous. In state court, you only need a majority of the jurors to rule in your favor.
  • In state court, the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure apply. In federal court, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply. Failure to comply with the strict requirements of the Local Rules of Practice for the District of Arizona can affect your claim or even result in the dismissal of your claim.

Furthermore, the discovery in semi-truck accidents in different because it involves the laws and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations and components of a semi truck. Semi trucks have “black boxes” that record information before and during a crash.  They do this by recording information when “accident like” events occur like sudden braking or airbags going off.  The information recorded such as the speed and the deceleration before and after the collision can be extremely helpful and must be obtained by your attorney. The discovery for your commercial vehicle case must include this information, the log books, copies of all contracts, any investigation, the internal review documents, and the post crash drug report on the driver.