Truck accident victims experience severe injuries, extensive medical bills, pain and suffering, and a lengthy recovery period. If you were involved in a truck accident, a lawyer can help you take legal action. But first, your attorney will look for sufficient evidence to prove the liable party.
You have the right to seek legal counsel and representation after a truck accident. Attorneys work closely with experts who reconstruct each event leading up to the crash. Each expert is responsible for investigating and analyzing several internal and external contributing factors.
About Truck Accident Investigations
Truck accident plaintiffs must prove the defendant was negligent, and their injuries were a direct result in a personal injury claim. Because multiple parties could be at fault, trucking accident claims might be more complex. These claims typically begin with attorneys conducting investigations into the circumstances leading to your injury.
Investigators must get to work immediately following the crash to preserve crucial evidence. Just like any other motor vehicle accident, investigators look for its cause, who might be at fault, if drugs or alcohol were factors, and more. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Title 49 §390.15, trucking companies must cooperate with these investigations.
Steps of a Trucking Accident Investigation
Typically, the investigation process for a trucking accident involves the following:
- Collection of evidence: This process could mean taking videos and photographs of the crash site, damage, and debris of nearby structures or vehicles.
- Examining the truck driver and the company’s records: Analyzing the driver’s logbooks, driving record, and personnel file to look for potential safety violations.
- Identifying and interviewing witnesses: This process involves identifying and interviewing other drivers involved in the accident, first responders, and other witnesses.
- Locating and analyzing the truck’s data recorder: Some refer to this as the truck’s black box and, in some commercial trucks, it records event data.
- Consulting with experts: Crash reconstruction experts, medical providers, life care providers, and forensic toxicologists are available to help strengthen claims.
- Truck examination: Examining the truck determines if there is an equipment defect or failure and to assess the vehicle’s mechanic condition.
These investigations can help determine liability in a truck accident.
Understanding a Truck Driver Investigation
Immediately following a trucking accident, law enforcement officials take statements from witnesses and investigate the truck. One critical step that also must occur is investigating the driver. In doing so, that investigation could produce evidence that otherwise would not have been known.
Investigating the truck driver also includes identifying what potentially led to the accident:
- Design flaws
- Failed truck parts
- Negligent hiring process
- Negligent supervision
- Negligent truck drivers
- Poor truck maintenance
- Unreasonable or unsafe delivery requirements
Truck drivers too commonly operate their vehicles while tired. As a result, accidents happen. The FMCSA put hours of service restrictions in place to prevent drivers from operating their trucks when they feel drowsiness, tiredness, or fatigue.
Wrong Ways to Investigate a Truck Accident
There are some incorrect ways to investigate a truck accident, and that’s why it is important to hire an experienced law firm to help you. Many truck accident attorneys fail to recognize the importance of quickly gathering and preserving evidence needed to prove liability in an accident claim.
Some attorneys may not even investigate and will simply base their case on the police report. The problem with relying solely on a police report as evidence is that they can be inadequate for civil litigation purposes. Police reports are not designed for the purpose of establishing liability in civil court. They can be incomplete and inaccurate compared to other forms of evidence.
Challenging The Driver and Trucking Company
Many trucking companies and their insurance providers conduct their own investigation immediately after an accident. With your own investigation, you and your attorney can fight back against their conclusions and dive deeper into the driver and trucking company’s history of accidents, inspection, maintenance, and hiring practices.
If you find regulatory violations, you can strengthen your claim. Information you gather may show the trucker or trucking company wasn’t just careless, but reckless and demonstrated a disregard for other drivers’ safety. It’s beneficial to know as much as possible.
Recoverable Damages From a Truck Accident
Victims and their families suffer immediate and long-term consequences following an accident. Because we understand this severity and the need for covering expenses, a truck accident attorney can work diligently on your behalf to seek damages, including:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of normal life
- Lost wages or disability
- Medical bills and other expenses
- Pain and suffering
Working With A Truck Accident Lawyer
Every truck accident is different. And because of that, some legal expertise might be necessary. In addition to conducting a thorough investigation, there are many other factors attorneys must focus on regarding a successful case that recovers the most damages. Those factors include:
- Their knowledge of federal trucking violations
- Understanding how to collect and preserve evidence
- Looking for evidence trucking companies typically “lose”
- Knowing what recoverable damages are available
While you might weigh your options, talking to a truck accident lawyer is the first of many steps you should take. Working with an experienced truck accident legal team means they are using every possible resource to build your case. That involves making sure every truck accident investigation conducted is done on-time and correctly.