Frequently Asked Questions
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Semi-truck Accidents

  1. Is my case any different if I am injured or a family member is killed by a semi tractor-trailer as opposed to any other automobile driver?
  2. Who can sue in a truck accident injury or death case?
  3. Who can be sued in a truck accident case?
  4. Is investigation important in a truck accident case?
  5. Are expert witnesses necessary to prove fault in a truck accident case?
  6. What damages can I recover or the survivors of a loved one recover in a truck accident injury or death case?
  7. How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
  8. Why should I hire an attorney in a trucking case?
  9. How quickly should I contact an attorney?
  10. Will it cost me anything to hire an attorney in a trucking case?
  11. What should I look for in hiring an attorney in a trucking case?

Questions & Answers

Is my case any different if I am injured or a family member is killed by a semi tractor-trailer as opposed to any other automobile driver?
Answer:
Yes. Trucks are required to carry higher amounts of insurance coverage. The drivers must also meet higher safety standards than other vehicle drivers. Trucks travel in interstate commerce and therefore, are subject to many federal regulations that do not apply to other vehicles. Trucking companies also have responsibility to perform background checks prior to hiring drivers and must periodically evaluate existing employees. Drivers are subject to limits on the number of hours they can drive in a given day. Drivers are also subject to testing for drugs and alcohol, both randomly and in the event of an accident. Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Act can provide the basis for establishing fault on the part of the trucking company and it’s driver.

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Who can sue in a truck accident injury or death case?
Answer:
The injured victim, and in some cases their spouse. In a wrongful death action the trustee for the family on behalf of all family members can bring a claim or suit against the truck driver and trucking company.

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Who can be sued in a truck accident case?
Answer:
The driver, owner of the tractor, owner of the trailer, the company identified on the trailer even if other than the owner and driver. In some circumstances the loading facility that placed the contents in the trailer and possibly the owner of the contents of the trailer

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Is investigation important in a truck accident case?
Answer:
Investigation is extremely important in all cases, but even more so in truck cases. Drivers must keep a log and by law may only drive a certain number of hours per day. Therefore, it is important to establish whether the log was properly kept and whether the driver was within the allotted hours of driving time when an accident occurred. Violation of these standards may impose additional liability on the truck. They can be difficult to discover if not investigated immediately.

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Are expert witnesses necessary to prove fault in a truck accident case?
Answer:
Every trucking case should have experts to assist an investigation and to analyze the information for potential testimony on liability. It is also important to employ experts in order to establish that safety inspections and driving logs were properly kept.

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What damages can I recover or the survivors of a loved one recover in a truck accident injury or death case?
Answer:
In a death case the family would be allowed to recovery damages by way of their loss of care, comfort, guidance, and support provided to the family members by the deceased. In addition, they would be allowed to recover any medical bills and established loss of earnings. 
In a personal injury case the injured victim can recover for pain, disability, emotional distress, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, and any uncompensated medical bills.

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How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Answer:
The statute of limitations in Minnesota for a personal injury claim arising out of the negligence of another driver is 6 years. The statute of limitations in Minnesota on a wrongful death claim is 2 years.

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Why should I hire an attorney in a trucking case?
Answer:
Truck accidents can be the most complicated and aggressively defended cases because of the parties involved. Therefore, having legal representation is extremely important to ensure the proper parties are involved and sufficient negligence is established. It is also important that you hire an attorney as soon as possible so that evidence is not lost or destroyed.

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How quickly should I contact an attorney?
Answer:
An attorney should be contacted as soon as possible. Most law firms will give a free consultation. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by contacting an attorney early on. The downside to not contacting an attorney is that evidence as to negligence may be lost of destroyed. The longer you wait to retain an attorney, the harder it is for an attorney and their investigators to piece together the facts.

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Will it cost me anything to hire an attorney in a trucking case?
Answer:
The law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, P.A. works on a one-third contingency fee basis. That means that you only pay attorneys’ fees if you are successful in making a recovery. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney as soon as possible.

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What should I look for in hiring an attorney in a trucking case?
Answer:
Experience, Experience, Experience. You can tell how much experience an attorney has by their credentials. First of all, hire only a Nationally Board Certified Trial Specialist. Ask if they are board certified and how many cases they try to a jury per year. In Minnesota, the magazine Law and Politics list the best lawyers in personal injury by giving them the designation of “Super Lawyer.” Ask if the lawyer has that designation and for how many years. Most libraries and law offices have a copy of Martindale-Hubbell. This is a directory of attorneys. It will tell you how high they are ranked as far as experience and ethics. Look for an A-V rating which his highest available.
The lawyers at the law firm of Schwebel Goetz & Sieben have accumulated 458 years of experience. The vast majority of those lawyers are Nationally Board Certified Trial Specialists. All of the lawyers at Schwebel Goetz & Sieben are listed in Minnesota Law & Politics as Super Lawyers 2003. All of the lawyers at Schwebel Goetz & Sieben are listed in Martindale-Hubbell with an A-V rating. This is the highest rating available to lawyers

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