Tupelo Truck Accident Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Victims Hurt in a Truck Accident in Tupelo, MS
It is estimated that over 500,000 crashes involving trucks happen each year in the United States. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of them result in fatalities. Victims of truck accidents often encounter a number of obstacles along the way when it comes to recovering compensation for their injuries. Here are a few essential aspects you need to know regarding truck accidents in Mississippi.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Truck Accident?
Like in any accident, your priority should be to check for injuries and get emergency medical help right away. You will also want to report the accident to law enforcement, and do not leave the scene of the accident before a police officer arrives (unless, of course, your injuries are serious and require immediate attention).
If it is safe to do so, collecting evidence from the crash site is a good idea as it may help you when it is time to build your claim. Take pictures and video of the scene of the accident, making sure to document the damage to all vehicles involved, the position of the vehicles, and any other relevant visual evidence such as skid marks on the road. If possible, write down the names and contact information of any witnesses, as well as information about the truck, such as the driver’s name and whether it is a privately-owned truck or a truck that belongs to a trucking company, as well as any insurance information. Be careful with what you say to the other driver or anyone at the scene of the accident, as even a simple apology could be understood as an admission of guilt. Finally, contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
How Do I Know Who Is at Fault for My Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are complex because victims may often find themselves dealing with multiple at-fault parties and needing to file multiple claims. For example, distracted or fatigued drivers account for a large percentage of common truck accident causes. If the driver was not respecting company policies and traffic laws by driving distracted while using a mobile device, the investigation may point to the driver as responsible for the accident.
However, sometimes truck drivers may be pressured to drive for long hours without taking mandatory breaks because the trucking company is more focused on profits than safety, which often means drivers are behind the wheel for much longer than they should be and become fatigued or may fall asleep while driving. In this case, the trucking company may also share responsibility for the accident. Other accidents may have been caused in part by improperly secured cargo that shifted and caused the truck to crash. If the cargo was loaded by a third party such as a shipping or logistics company, that third party could also be partially at fault for the crash. The same applies to accidents caused by mechanical failures, which could be attributed to a manufacturing defect and result in a product liability claim or due to a third party who was negligent in properly repairing or maintaining the truck (such as a mechanic shop).
This is one of the reasons why it is so important to speak to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will likely want to conduct his or her own thorough investigation to be able to point out who was responsible for your accident, and whether your case will require multiple claims in order to hold all responsible parties liable for your damages.
Is Mississippi a Pure Comparative Negligence State for Truck Accidents?
Some accidents involving trucks may be partially caused by the victim’s actions, which may affect how much compensation that individual may receive. In other states, victims who were partially at fault for the accident may be barred from receiving compensation if they were 50% or 51% responsible for what happened, and in some states, even being 1% at fault may mean you are unable to receive any compensation.
Mississippi follows the pure comparative negligence rule to determine liability for an accident. This means victims are allowed to seek damages compensation regardless of their percentage of liability for the accident, but that percentage is usually subtracted from the total settlement amount they may be eligible to receive. For example, if you are found to have contributed to your accident by 20%, you will still receive compensation, but it will be reduced by 20%.
Do Trucks Have “Black Box” Devices That May Be Used as Evidence?
What many truck accident victims may not be aware of is that most commercial trucks are equipped with a “black box” much like the ones you may find on aircraft. These devices are usually called ECMs (Electronic Control Modules) or EDRs (Event Data Recorders). They can be essential pieces of evidence for your truck accident case because they keep track of how the truck was traveling in the moments before the accident.
These devices continually record information such as the truck’s speed, acceleration or deceleration, usage of brakes and cruise control, length of time the truck was being operated (including continuous operation without breaks), and other important information about how the truck was being operated. The black box can show, for example, that the truck was being driven for several hours and thus the driver did not take mandatory breaks. The driver was fatigued yet he was speeding and did not attempt to apply the brakes. All of these factors are important in helping establish the main causes of your truck accident. If you are working with a truck accident attorney, your attorney may take steps to obtain the black box data and use it as evidence for your case.