Our attorneys have experience taking truck crash cases to jury verdicts and appearing before the New Jersey Appellate Division on truck crash-related issues.
Many personal injury attorneys undertake a truck crash case as if it were nothing more than a big car crash. Oftentimes, this approach misses the true issues in the case that can maximize claim value. Trucking companies and their drivers are subject to a complicated framework of Federal and state regulations. The operation of a tractor trailer is unique and requires specialized training to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. Use the guide below to help in selecting an experienced truck crash lawyer.
- Is the lawyer Board Certified in Truck Crash Law?
- Can the lawyer show you the truck company’s safety history during the first meeting?
- Does the lawyer have a spoliation notice that is specific to truck accident cases?
- Does the lawyer have a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request letter?
At RAM Law, we check all of these boxes.
Board Certification In Truck Crash Law
The easiest way to ensure you are hiring an experienced truck crash lawyer is to look for board certification in truck crash law. RAM Law attorneys, Edward J. Rebenack, Esq., and Tyler J. Hall, Esq., have the knowledge and experience necessary to litigate the issues unique to truck crash cases. Ed and Tyler were the first two attorneys in New Jersey, and within the first 50 attorneys across the country, to obtain Board Certification in Truck Accident Law. In 2018, the American Bar Association (ABA) approved a board certification for attorneys that handle truck crash cases. This is the first and only ABA accredited board certification in Truck Accident Law in the country. The board certification is administered through the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA). According to the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, “In order to become certified in Truck Accident Law, lawyers will have to demonstrate a substantial percentage of their practice to trucking litigation, show hands-on experience in multiple truck accident cases and pass a comprehensive written exam.” The application for Board Certification eligibility gives a good picture of the necessary experience. The Certification ensures that the lawyer has the technical knowledge coupled with the necessary litigation experience. **Ed and Tyler are Board Certified**
Red Flag: The lawyer has no experience handling truck crash litigation at the time of the initial consultation.
Immediate Access To The Truck Company’s Safety History
In general, trucking companies are required to obtain US Department of Transportation (US DOT) identifying numbers which are used to collect and monitor safety information. An experienced truck crash lawyer will know how to gain immediate access to much of the trucking company’s safety history. This includes the size and operation of the company, driving and equipment violations, and crashes, occurring over the prior 24 months. If the identity of the truck company is known, usually from the police report, you should expect the lawyer to have this information available to discuss at the time of the initial consultation.
Red Flag: The lawyer cannot produce the safety history of the trucking company at the time of the initial consultation.
Truck Specific Evidence Preservation Letter
Oftentimes the preservation of evidence specific to truck operations is critical to maximizing claim value. The ability to reconstruct the happening of the crash requires investigation at the scene. However, a truck crash has additional evidence preservation issues. The immediate inspection of the truck by an expert qualified to download the engine control module (ECM) may be necessary before the truck is repaired or put back on the road. There are also documents in the possession of the trucking company that must be preserved for litigation. An experienced truck crash lawyer will have a legal notice that identifies this trucking operation specific evidence and requires preservation.
Red Flag: The lawyer cannot produce this specific legal notice at the time of the initial consultation.
Documents In Possession Of The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established within the Department of Transportation in 2000. The FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. Trucking companies that fall within the jurisdiction of the FMCSA are required to file certain forms providing various information about their operations. The FMCSA also conducts safety audits and retains the inspection and violations reports. These various documents are publicly available through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, the FOIA request must be specific to the FMCSA and set forth a list of forms specific to the trucking industry. Given the length of time needed for the FMCSA to comply with the request, the FOIA letter should be immediately issued at the beginning of the claim.
Red Flag: The lawyer cannot produce FOIA request letter at the time of the initial consultation.
If you are a victim of a truck crash, contact RAM Law and let our expert lawyers help you! Get a free consultation with no obligation! Call 732.247.3600 or complete a Free Case Evaluation Form.