Taking On the Trucking Company After a Semi-Truck Accident

This video features Joseph V. Camerlengo Jr., B.C.S., a Personal Injury attorney based in Florida.

Jacksonville, Florida Attorney Handles Claims Nationwide

Video Transcript:

Joseph Camerlengo: 

And there's a saying in the industry, last in line is first to die, that's how much it's a problem.

Judy Maggio: 

What happens after a big truck has been in a crash that caused injuries? We'll find out today on this episode of Ask the Lawyer. Hello again everybody, I'm Judy Maggio with askthelawyers.com, and my guest today is truck accident attorney Joseph Camerlengo, who is based in Jacksonville, Florida. Before we begin that, we're a reminder, if you wanna ask Joe some questions about your particular situation, go to askthelawyers.com, click on the Ask a Lawyer button and ask away, or you can call the number right there on your screen. Thanks so much for being with us again, Joe.

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Thanks Judy. Great to be here.

Judy Maggio: 

My first question is, how large of a problem are these big truck accidents?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Truck crash cases are a huge problem in this country. If you just look at the statistics kept by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, every 14 minutes on average in this country, a significant trucking crash happens. Every day, there is at least 14 people killed in commercial motor vehicle and tractor trailer crashes. And many of these crashes are catastrophic, it's a problem all over the country, and many states have a lot of intersecting interstates that are good pathways either north, south or across the country. And so you just gotta be very careful. There's a saying in the industry, last in line is first to die, that's how much it's a problem. If you are stopped on the interstate, you never wanna be the last car with a semi behind you.

Judy Maggio: 

After a crash occurs, how quickly does the trucking company have a response team on the scene?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Well, after a crash, the trucking company is typically on scene within an hour or so with their crash investigation team, typically their experts and a defense lawyer, and they're trying to gather evidence to keep it away from anybody else and sway the officers and investigating personnel, the commercial or vehicle officers, the highway patrol, whatever it is, that the truck driver was not at fault. So they're typically there right away.

Judy Maggio: 

And what are some of the ways that the trucking company prepares its case right from the start?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Well, typically, the trucking company, as I said, they're on scene, they have fast response teams that are there, and so they're gathering evidence that other people that come along later may not ever find if they don't know where to look. For instance, the dash cams, they're pulling out telematics from the vehicle, from the cab of the vehicle, they're pulling out the driver's portable Wi-Fis, things that could show the driver was on the phone or on a tablet, using information. There's a lot of different things that they do. They search for surveillance cameras around there, we've actually seen cases where a trucking company after a crash went to a local convenience store that had a picture of the intersectional collision and just gave the guy $5000 and walked away with the surveillance machine. And they're out there trying to get to scrub the evidence, I should say, they're typically not gonna share that information unless they think it exonerates their truck or truck company, but they're there right away and they're trying to exonerate the evidence.

Judy Maggio: 

So apparently some evidence can go missing from a situation like this, how can somebody makes sure they preserve the evidence?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Well, the first thing, if you're ever in a tractor trailer crash or significant commercial motor vehicle crash, you definitely wanna document the scene. Take pictures and video before anybody leave. You don't need their permission. It's a public street, you can take pictures and video of where the vehicles are and keep an eye on the tractor trailer driver, if you're able to do so, or if you witness one of these and somebody is seriously injured. You can do this for them, make sure you document because oftentimes, you'll see them loading things into a bag or doing things in the cab of the truck, where you can see they're pulling evidence away, but typically, you wanna hire a lawyer as soon as possible, an experienced trucking firm like ours, or another board-certified trucking attorney, we get preservation letters out right away, can obtain temporary restraining orders if they refuse to cooperate, can get the cell phone and tablet, all those things downloaded and mirrored so that we actually have a copy of exactly what was going on, on the truck driver's phone at the time. It's very important that you send these preservations letter out and try and get the information preserved as soon as possible.

Judy Maggio: 

So do all of these trucks have dash cam video and what happens to that video?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Well, unfortunately, dash cam is not something that's required by law. Many of the trucking companies are starting to institute it. Certainly the ones that care about safety have an outward-facing dash cam and an inward-facing dash cam that faces the driver at the same time, so they can see and monitor what's going on in the cab of the truck, and typically the dash cam evidence, if the trucking company thinks it exonerate them again, that it's good for them, they'll share it right away. If the information is bad for them, that either claim it didn't record, it wasn't functioning, or you gotta go through hoops, you gotta file a lawsuit, get a subpoena, not only try and get it from the trucking company, but the third party provider that's recording it. So it can be exceptionally helpful to see exactly what happened in the crash, for sure.

Judy Maggio: 

So if someone is injured in one of these trucking accidents, how can they stand up to these trucking companies or the big insurance providers?

Joseph Camerlengo: 

Well, the most important thing, as I said, document the scene, get the names and cell phone numbers of the various people that are there, 'cause the police are not gonna get all of the witnesses. And if it's you, or God forbid someone you love, who's incapacitated, you need to get a board-certified trucking litigation specialist as soon as you can after the crash. I know that if someone's in a crash, they're gonna be worried about getting better and they're in the hospital, or their loved one's in the hospital, or God forbid, their loved one was killed, and they were making funeral arrangements and dealing with family. While all that's going on, you need to get a board-certified attorney, or trucking attorney on scene, get us retained and let us begin helping the family by preserving that evidence so we can have all of the armor that we need to represent you when we go to battle against the trucking company.

Judy Maggio:

Such vital information today. Thank you again, Joe, for answering all of our questions.

Joseph Camerlengo: 

You're welcome, thanks for having me Judy.

Judy Maggio: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been attorney Joseph Camerlengo. Now, don't forget, if you wanna ask Joe a question, go to askthelawyers.com and click on the button at the top of the page that says Ask a Lawyer or call the number on your screen. Thanks again for watching. I'm Judy Maggio with Ask the Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

The Truck Accident Law Firm

1200 Riverplace Blvd. 

Jacksonville, FL 32207


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