Have You or a Loved One Been in a Truck Accident?
Are you feeling overwhelmed, angry and fearful about an uncertain future?
A catastrophic truck wreck changes your life forever. You’ve got bills to pay and forced to make decisions you’re not ready to make. And the most important financial decision of your life is knocking on the door. Choosing a catastrophic truck accident lawyer is a decision that will affect your family’s financial future for decades to come. Choosing the wrong attorney can risk your family’s financial future.
How do you find a credentialed, experienced and qualified interstate truck accident attorney?
We can help.
I’m Patrick Steinfeld. I’m an interstate big rig accident attorney. I’ve been practicing law for 28 years and I know the “top” interstate truck accident lawyers throughout the country.
I’ve learned one “truth” over the years; Don’t hire a personal injury car accident lawyer for a serious interstate truck accident.
Sure your prospective lawyer will say they have trucking experience… but there’s good experience… and bad experience. I started The Truck Lawyers to help people navigate the often-confusing road to choosing the right attorney for your semi tractor-trailer truck accident. The Truck Lawyers offers a FREE Truck Accident Attorney Referral Service. I know the top truck wreck lawyers in the country and I know the experienced, credentialed and qualified commercial semi tractor-trailer crash attorneys in your state. I know whom I would select as “my attorney” if I was involved in a bad truck accident.
Don’t confuse “trucking” experience with “personal injury” experience. They are entirely different and not transferable. Don’t be fooled by personal injury attorneys who flaunt credentials like… best of the best or being a super attorney. These credentials do NOT relate to trucking litigation. Finally, personal injury attorneys are all members of this and members of that and have nice looking logos and badges on their website. But the real question is whether an attorney is a member of one or both of the nations two major interstate trucking litigation groups. If your prospective truck accident attorney is NOT a member of AAJ’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group® or the Association of Plaintiff’s Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America®… then that’s a HUGE RED FLAG.
Anyone can say they are experienced but remember there is good experience and bad experience.
Here’s the problem with most car accident attorneys. They treat truck accidents like car accidents. That’s a BIG mistake that can lose you of hundreds of thousands of dollars… if not millions.
I’ll explain Four Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer is NOT a Trucking Accident Attorney in a moment but first I want to share my two sides of law.
1) We all know law requires an attorney to remain somewhat detached from the emotions of a claim. This is necessary in order to remain focused on the facts, law and arguments of the respective parties.
2) However, we also believe that law involves a personal element that allows us to be passionate about your claim while remaining compassionate, understanding and having a personal desire to help our clients. I call it “passion with compassion.”
We Believe in You
We are a client-centered firm focused on satisfying YOUR needs and goals. We are unconditionally loyal to YOU and your cause. We have been honored to help trucking accident victims just like you and we would be privileged to help you and YOUR family.
We Care About You
We care about you and understand the physical and emotional losses you have suffered. We work very hard to effect a positive change in the lives of our clients even in the most difficult circumstances. We have professional experience in trucking litigation and are proud when we can help others with that knowledge.
You Pay Nothing Until There is a Recovery
We want to help you in every way we can. We know you are facing significant financial expenses right now and we don’t want to burden you with more expenses. We want to make it affordable for you to pursue your claim, so we accept commercial trucking cases (just like yours) on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing until there is a recovery. We advance all costs so it costs nothing to get started.
No Office Visit Required
Your focus right now should be on your physical and emotional recovery. We want to accommodate you in any way we can. So we can come to you or make other arrangements that work for you and your family.
We respect the importance of communicating with you and will respond promptly to your phone calls and emails.
We have the resources (including financial resources) to present a strong and compelling case on your behalf while remaining focused on the best outcome for your needs
Ok… I promised to explain why a car wreck lawyer is NOT the same as an interstate truck crash attorney. Here are four reasons:
Four Reasons Why a Personal Injury Lawyer is NOT a Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking companies often earn millions of dollars a year so they are going to fight to keep their money. Truck drivers have a hotline to their claims department who will deploy a rapid response team consisting of an accident reconstructionist and insurance investigator to the scene of an accident within moments of the crash.
This is a common practice in serious interstate trucking accidents because of the potential financial exposure to the insurance carrier and trucking company. However, in car accidents where an insured has a small insurance policy of $15,000 to $100,000, there is no financial incentive to deploy a rapid response team because financial exposure is limited.
Our truck accident attorneys employ their own Rapid Response Teams to document the scene, take measurements, photograph vehicles and obtain witness statements. Car accident attorneys simply do not have experience deploying Rapid Response Teams because they usually deal with significantly smaller insurance policies. And that’s a BIG problem. Remember when I said the main problem with car wreck attorneys is they treat truck accidents like car accidents? Ok… here’s reason #2.
Personal injury car accident attorneys are generally familiar with the rules of the road for their state but interstate trucking companies are also governed by federal law, rules and regulations in addition to industry customs and practice, company procedures and policy, none of which apply to car accidents involving private passenger vehicles.
Potential defendants in a typical personal injury accident involving a private passenger vehicle are generally limited to the driver, owner and property owner (e.g. business and/or governmental entity).
However, since trucking is a business, there are a lot of people/companies that may have liability beyond the driver.
- Motor Carrier
- Consignees and consigners
- Freight forwarders
- Insurance companies
- Maintenance companies
- Repair companies
- Safety compliance companies
The relationships, responsibilities and liabilities between the above parties can become complex and difficult to understand because they are based on contractual, state and federal laws.
Consider This Simple Question: Who Does the Driver Work For?
Sounds like a silly question… right? But to trucking companies it is a central issue to their defense and they will roll up their sleeves and fight this issue till the very end. Determining who the driver works for is critical in every accident involving interstate trucking and is often the subject of major litigation because the carrier wants to distance themselves from the driver (who caused the accident) so the motor carrier will claim the driver is an independent contractor and therefore the carrier has no liability for the collision.
A driver may be an employee of the carrier or an independent owner/operator who leases his truck to the motor carrier. But leases create further issues because a lease may consist of a simple “trip lease” for a specific trip or a lease for a specific duration. Furthermore, a driver may lease his truck through a broker.
There may be additional leases or subleases involving:
- The tractor
- The trailer
- Both tractor and trailer
Furthermore, the liabilities of parties may change if the trucker is:
- Driving a loaded trailer
- Driving with an empty trailer
- Driving without a trailer
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a tractor and trailer are both considered commercial vehicles. Ownership of a commercial vehicle may subject the owner to liability in some states, whereas other states do not require ownership. A motor carrier may be liable for a drivers negligence based upon the theory of “logo liability” if the tractor bears the motor carriers logo.
Most states require private vehicles to have minimum insurance from $10,000-$50,000. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act requires interstate motor carriers to maintain a minimum of $750,000 liability insurance. But many trucking companies maintain $5,000,000, or more of liability insurance with additional excess/umbrella insurance.
Additionally there are insurance issues that arise that do not apply to private vehicles, like the following:
- Tractor Insurance
- Trailer Insurance
- Bobtail Insurance
- MCS-90 Insurance Endorsement
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
One last thing I want to share with you is the rapid nature in which truck accidents are investigated.
Businesses are in business to make money. Part of making money is making sure victims like you don’t get your fair share. One of the ways insurance companies protect their assets is by having a quick and swift system in place to investigate a truck accident. This is generally referred to a Rapid Response Team consisting of a defense attorney, accident reconstructionist and investigator. These teams are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. If an insurance company does not have a Rapid Response Team near the collision site they will contract with a company (see below) that will act on their behalf.
JS&H is an example of a trucking industry defense firm that provides a Rapid Response Team to insurance and trucking companies. Their team consists of a defense lawyer, accident reconstructionist, transportation adjusters, ASE master heavy truck technician and ECM download expert.
Exponent is an example of a group of professional engineers that provide accident reconstruction and Rapid Response Team deployment. They can deploy response teams anywhere in the country.
I am not trying to scare you. I’m trying to impress upon you THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. The Truck Lawyers and our affiliates work with our own Rapid Response Teams.
Imagine the defendant presents the following to a jury:
- Photographs taken at the scene where the vehicles are still in place that show skid marks, gouge marks, debris, point of impact and point of rest.
- 3-D measurements from the scene while vehicles still in place, showing speed, stopping distances and movement of the vehicles.
- Electronic Control Module data taken within moments of collision.
- Witness statements recorded at scene.
Now imagine the victim presents the following to the same jury:
- Photographs of the scene months after the collision showing o skid marks, debris of vehicles involved.
- Photographs of the truck are unavailable because the truck has been repaired and sold or sold and parted-out.
- 3-D measurements of the scene with no definite calculations because all the evidence has been removed.
- Electronic Control Module data has been over-ridden.
- Witnesses are foggy and can’t remember specifics of collision.
The Earlier The Better
Your accident may have occurred a few days ago… it may have been a few weeks ago. But the important point to understand is YOU MUST ACT NOW. It is in your best interest to bring in an interstate truck accident attorney immediately. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.
Call us toll free at (844) 800-8900.
Pay Nothing Until There is a Recovery
Costs Nothing to Get Started – There is Never an Upfront Charge
The Truck Lawyers are an affiliation of the country’s top truck accident attorneys providing national and local representation and FREE Accident Attorney Referral Services to victims and their families who have been involved in commercial truck accidents. You pay nothing until there is a recovery. We are a client centered law firm focused on satisfying your needs and goals. We believe in you. We care about you and are 100% committed to helping you and your family. Call The Truck Lawyers now at (844) 800-8900 and put us to work for you! No office visit is required.
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THE TRUCK LAWYERS