Trucks are more strictly regulated and held to higher safety standards by federal and state laws than passenger cars are. Furthermore, while one at-fault driver is usually liable for damages in a car crash, there might be multiple defendants who share responsibility for a truck accident, including:
- The trucker
- The trucking company
- The owner of the truck
- A rental or leasing agency
- A mechanic or repair service
- A manufacturer
- Cargo loading personnel
A witness with expert knowledge of the trucking industry and the laws regulating truckers and trucking companies might help your attorney prove a defendant’s liability. An expert witness can also help to identify more than one liable party and determine each party’s percentage of responsibility for your damages.
Types of Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses gather, analyze, and testify about crucial evidence that proves who was at fault in an accident. Experts who might be called in by your lawyer to help you get a fair truck crash settlement include the following.
A reconstruction expert gathers and analyzes evidence from the vehicles and the scene of a wreck to determine exactly what happened. The reconstruction of a truck crash can be complicated due to the size and weight of an 18-wheeler (up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded) and the catastrophic accidents that can occur: rollovers, override-underrides, and jackknife wrecks. The help of a truck crash expert in investigating such a wreck can be vital to the outcome of the case.
A doctor, physical therapist, or another healthcare provider can testify as to the injuries you’ve suffered in the truck accident, the treatment necessary, your anticipated recovery time, and your long-term prognosis, all of which are factors that will determine your total medical expenses.
Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
A vocational rehab expert can provide testimony regarding your ability to return to your previous job after a truck crash and the cost of occupational re-training if you cannot.
Mental Health Expert
Truck accident victims sometimes suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other such disorders that entitle them to compensation. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist can shed light on how your truck accident has affected you psychologically or emotionally.
Commercial Truck Mechanic
If the truck’s brakes, steering apparatus, or other mechanical systems played a part in your accident, a certified commercial vehicle mechanic could testify as to exactly what happened. A mechanical expert can also discuss a truck’s long stopping distance, wide turn radius, high center of gravity, and other issues a truck driver must bear in mind to operate safely.
Traffic Engineer or Road Design Specialist
An expert with knowledge of highway engineering and design can analyze the specifics of a collision and determine whether the road design and or a lack of proper signage played a role in your accident. In some cases, a government agency responsible for building and maintaining the roads could bear partial responsibility for your damages.
Impairment due to the use of drugs or alcohol by the truck driver is a factor in a significant number of truck crashes. A toxicologist can help to determine if substance use played a part in your accident and testify as to its role in the wreck.
Other Potential Experts That Could Be Consulted
Other experts who can be useful in some cases include economists, metallurgists, pathologists, and transportation safety specialists.
Paying for Expert Witnesses
Of course, the help of an expert witness costs money. Some truck accident attorneys might absorb these fees for you and reimburse themselves from your award when your case settles. If your claim is not successful, you won’t be charged any attorney fees, but you could still be responsible for the cost of expert witnesses, so it’s important to work out all these details at the outset if your lawyer feels expert testimony could be helpful to your case.
Have You Been Injured in a South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one was injured in a commercial truck accident in South Carolina, you should speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Florence, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.