The first evidence to be lost or destroyed is vehicle data recordings, cell phone data, vehicle defects, skid mark lengths and crush data. The next level of information that may be lost is data and records that the federal government requires trucking companies to maintain for statutorily set time periods. These records and data, if favorable to your case are often destroyed by the time a lawyer files suit. When selecting a truck accident lawyer, you should consider the following questions to ask a truck accident lawyer:
Q: Have you ever sent a preservation letter to a trucking company to preserve evidence after a commercial motor vehicle accident? If so, may I see a sample of the letter?
A: Patterson Law has a preservation letter that is several pages long. single spaced and has been vetted by experienced truck accident lawyers across the nation.
Q: Is a commercial truck accident litigated in a similar fashion to a car accident case?
A: Commercial motor vehicles are subjected to hundreds of pages of regulations. Most of those regulations do not apply to passenger cars. The most popular industry wide truck driving manual is nearly 500 pages. Compare that to your driving manual for a regular driver’s license. There are thousands of regulations, industry practices and rules that trucking companies are supposed to follow. A violation of any one of those safety rules could be a cause of your accident. Ask your lawyer if he has a commercial truck driver’s training manual, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act Compliance manual or a Department of Transportation compliance manual.
Q: How do I know if a lawyer is knowledgeable in the field of truck accident litigation?
A: At Patterson Law we have an attorney that has successful been certified as a Truck Accident Attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. This certification is accredited by the American Bar Association. The process to become certified is rigorous but a few of the requirements are:
- Passing a board examination demonstrating knowledge of trucking litigation, commercial motor vehicle driver practices, motor carrier safety procedures and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act Regulations.
- Submission of a legal memorandum prepared by the lawyer in a commercial motor vehicle accident case that went to court.
- Extensive documented commercial motor vehicle litigation experience.
- Reviews from lawyers that tried commercial motor vehicle accident cases against the applicant.
- Reviews from judges that presided over commercial motor vehicle accident trials that the applicant conducted.
- Extensive documented truck accident continuing legal education completed by the applicant.
- Proof that the applicant meets the highest ethical standards.
There are other organizations, but none are as rigorous in their standards as the National Board of Trial Advocacy. This is probably why the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys partnered with the National Board of Trial Advocacy to create this certification. George Patterson is an advocate member of this organization. The advocate membership is the highest level of membership and requires the passing of a truck accident law exam.
Q: Do you take cases to court?
A: This may seem like a silly question but there are lawyers that will sign-up cases, attempt to settle those cases but if litigation is required, they send it to a different lawyer. Perhaps the lawyer that is selected to try your case may not be of your choosing or liking. Patterson Law’s practice is to handle truck accident cases from the start all the way through litigation. If there is some reason that Patterson Law identifies an indication that partnering with another lawyer is in the client’s best interest Patterson Law will pay that lawyer’s fee and continue to work on your case.