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Finding Fault in Trucking Accidents

In trucking accidents, there is often the question of who was at fault. This may take time to determine.

“If you think it’s bad enough figuring out who is to blame in car accidents, wait until you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler. Apportioning blame in those cases can be very difficult,” remarked Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC.

In every accident case there tends to be a number of variables that could be blamed for the accident. For instance, the roads, the weather, actions of other drivers, poor mechanical maintenance, defective tires, brakes or other factors could be cited. Of course, there is also the human factor, which many drivers would like to ignore and point their finger at the other guy. Nonetheless, finding out who was directly responsible for a truck crash is often very complex.

In the “usual” car crash scenario, typically each person is responsible for their own actions. That means a car driver who is reckless and causes a collision is usually held responsible and accountable for their actions. Taking this one step further, if an auto maker (like Toyota) sells a car with a defective braking system, they may be (and have been) brought to account.

“In cases involving 18-wheelers, liability often isn’t clear at all because the question becomes whether or not the trucker is the responsible party at fault or whether the trucking “company” acted in such a way that made the collision possible. For example, did the trucking company hire someone that wasn’t qualified or cut corners on safety requirements, such as allowing a driver under the influence to take their truck on the road?” questioned Schuelke.

Questions like this tend to hover about the outside edges of a trucking crash investigation and many of the answers are not that clear unless there is an in-depth investigation – something an Austin personal injury attorney would conduct. Their main goal to serve their client is to get a settlement that reflects the serious nature of the crash, not let the insurance company offer a lowball settlement based on a cursory examination of the crash site.

Many of the reasons for big rig accidents tend to fall into certain categories, ones that many personal injury lawyers see over the years of practicing law. The most common causes of semi accidents are usually related to hours of service violations, negligent hiring, lack of proper training, the trucker DUI, improper cargo loading, driving while fatigued, reckless driving, texting while driving, and truck malfunctions and defects.

In a serious trucking accident, the trucking company will have investigators on the scene within hours, if not earlier. Because of this, victims are always at a disadvantage in investigating the case. And if the victim of the 18-wheeler wreck doesn’t do what he or she can to investigate early, then evidence may be lost forever.

The end results of being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler are never that good and you may need all the legal help you can get to secure enough compensation for your future. “Don’t delay talking to an experienced lawyer, or you may miss the opportunity to fully investigate your case,” advised Schuelke.

Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC at or (512) 476-4944.

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