While some people might believe that proving a driver’s liability in a trucking accident will be fairly straightforward, truck accident claims are among the most complex types of personal injury claims. Our Myrtle Beach truck accident lawyers can help. Trucking carriers and insurance companies vigorously defend against claims because of the extensive nature of the injuries and the substantial monetary sums that can be involved. To prove liability in a truck accident claim, plaintiffs often need to hire experts. These experts are needed to address the standard of care in a trucking case. Here are some of the experts that might be needed in a truck accident case and why they may be important.
- Commercial Trucking Experts
- Toxicology Experts
- Automotive Engineer and Crash Expert
- Tire Design and Failure Analysis Expert
- Commercial Transportation Expert
- Human Factors Expert
- Highway Engineering Expert
- Automotive Engineer and Heavy Truck Expert
- Metallurgist and Materials Science Expert
Commercial Trucking Experts
Commercial trucking experts have years of experience in the trucking industry and superior insight into the regulations and practices that apply to it. A commercial trucking expert can provide an expert opinion about commercial driving hiring practices, driver actions, and the safety policies used by the trucking carrier. They can also evaluate special topics that might arise, including parking on the shoulder, load securement, loading docks, vehicle clearance, hours of service violations, and fall protection for workers at drop off and pick up locations. Commercial trucking experts can help juries to understand the expected standards of care and how a driver or carrier’s actions failed to meet them.
Like other motorists, some truck drivers use alcohol or drugs. Drivers may use amphetamines to help them to stay awake for long hours. In an accident in which a truck driver is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances, a lawyer may work with a toxicology expert. These experts normally have at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or pharmacology, and some may have advanced degrees in their fields. Toxicology experts can help to explain to the jury in concrete terms the effects of an impairing substance or substances. They can explain how a combination of substances can interact to impair driving. If a trucking carrier disputes the findings of a drug recognition expert or a chemical test, a toxicology expert can help to prove the liability of the driver and the company that negligently hired, retained, or supervised him or her.
Automotive Engineer and Crash Expert
An automotive engineer and crash expert analyzes the reasons why a collision caused specific types of damage. They can analyze the factors that contributed to the accident and determine which parties were liable for the accident’s cause. A crash expert might provide reports about vehicle safety, the speed of the collision, acceleration, angles of steering, and the right of way.
Tire Design and Failure Analysis Expert
In some trucking accidents, tire failures can contribute to the accidents’ causes. When this occurs, tire design and failure analysis experts can help prove liability. These experts may have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. They can investigate various types of tires and tire designs and help to determine the reason why the tire failed, including improper repairs, poor maintenance, or manufacturing or design defects. Tire design and failure analysis experts can help to determine if other parties might share liability beyond the trucking company and the driver, including the manufacturer or designer of defective tires.
Commercial Transportation Expert
Commercial transportation experts may provide analyses of issues involving hours of service violations, driver errors, and other related factors. They are often experts on DOT regulations and can provide reports about the required bus and truck driver knowledge and skills as well as the standards of care required of motor carriers. Commercial transportation experts may provide expert testimony about accident reconstruction and analysis and expert opinions about the standards provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. They may be able to analyze the compliance of the trucking carrier and driver with the DOT regulations, truck maintenance, risk management, and other relevant issues in a truck accident.
Human Factors Expert
Most trucking accidents are at least partially caused by human errors instead of equipment failures, breakdowns, poor road conditions, or bad weather. Some of the types of human errors that can cause truck accidents include the following:
- Distracted driving such as talking on a CB radio, messing with electronics in the truck, talking on a cell phone, checking GPS, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Violating traffic laws such as speeding, changing lanes without signaling, inadequate surveillance, or running red lights
Semi-truck accidents can involve human errors on both the part of the truck driver and the other drivers who are involved. A human factors expert can analyze the uniquely human factors that can contribute to the accident and explain things like visual, cognitive, and motor attention, visual perception, perceived reaction times, and other factors that can help to explain why the accident occurred.
Highway Engineering Expert
Highway engineering experts may be important in crashes in which the design of a highway might have been a contributing factor. Highway engineering experts examine the scene of the accidents, analyze collision photos, use field measurements, and reconstruct accidents to determine whether the road conditions or highway factors may have contributed to the cause of a truck accident. These experts use industry standards and their expert knowledge of physics to analyze curve speeds, road grading, visual distances, highway geometry, and the flow of traffic. They assess the conditions of roadway surfaces, design, drainage, operations, maintenance, speed limits, and traffic control devices.
Automotive Engineer and Heavy Truck Expert
Automotive engineers and heavy truck experts are normally degreed professionals who understand the dynamics of handling and operating heavy vehicles. These experts can analyze the physics of a crash to accurately reconstruct what happened in accidents involving heavy trucks. Automotive engineers and heavy truck experts understand how semi-trucks are designed and built, their handling, and how large trucks behave during, before, and after a collision.
Reconstructing what happened in a large truck collision can be much more complicated than reconstructing what occurred in a regular car accident. These experts might need to consider additional factors that do not apply to regular car crashes. They can determine whether a manufacturing or design defect may have contributed to the accident’s cause and might be able to provide expert opinions about the origin of vehicle fires, vehicle maintenance, fleet management, up-fitting, and more.
Metallurgist and Materials Science Expert
Metallurgists and material scientists specialize in metals. In cases in which a trailer or tanker failed in some way, a materials science expert might be retained to conduct failure analyses on the tanker or trailer to provide an expert opinion about whether the trailer or tanker was loaded beyond the capacity of the metal to contain the load.
In addition to these types of experts who can help juries and insurance companies to understand liability and how an accident occurred, other experts might also be important. Some other types of experts that might be important for proving liability and the extent of the injuries and losses include the following:
- Neurological and orthopedic experts
- Life care planning experts
- Vocational experts
- Rehabilitation experts
Your attorney can talk to you about the experts that might be needed to help to prove your case so that you can recover the damages to which you should be entitled.
Get help from The Lovely Law Firm
If you have been injured in a truck accident in South Carolina, getting experienced legal help is critical for being able to prove liability. The attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm frequently work with experts to build the strongest possible cases for injured victims. Contact us today to schedule a truck accident consultation by calling us at 843.839.4111.