Truck accidents tend to be extremely dangerous. The average commercial truck can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds (more with a weight permit). When drivers lose control of these vehicles, therefore, more often than not the people in nearby passenger cars are the ones who pay for it. If you were involved in a truck accident, there are several ways you, your attorney, and your insurance company can investigate how the collision occurred.
First and foremost, it is most helpful to study the scene of the crash. Any evidence of the accident should be collected by the investigator. Those looking for significant details might collect the following types of evidence at the site:
- Physical debris left at the scene
- Photograph/ video evidence
- Skid or gouge marks on the highway
- Lighting/ visibility issues
- Traffic patterns
- Traffic control used at the scene
Any evidence collected could be used to defend the truck driver or to prove the truck driver’s negligence in the case.
In addition, your attorney and the insurance company will contact witnesses to the scene. Those who were nearby when it happened and who may have seen it firsthand might be asked to give audio or visual statements. Likewise, both the truck driver and you will likely be interviewed for more information. Nearby businesses or homes might also be contacted in case they happened to look out the window when the collision occurred.
Typically, a large commercial truck crash will draw the attention of law enforcement. Other incidents may need to call in police officers. If law enforcement is there, they will take down information on the entire scene, from what they see at the site to what they heard witnesses say in interviews. An insurance company might collect probable causes from investigating officers or detectives, a copy of the complete investigative report, witness statements, 911 call recordings, traffic surveillance videos, traffic citations, and each driver’s criminal and driving records. Law enforcement might also have scene photographs, Computer Assisted Diagrams (CAD), and motor carrier inspection reports the person investigating the crash can use.
If you hire a personal injury attorney, one of the 1st things he or she will do is contact the truck driver and the trucking company involved. A lawyer may also communicate with the trucking company’s insurance company to ensure any evidence relevant to the case is preserved. The Department of Transportation mandates certain evidence only be protected for 6 months, so we may send out a notice that a longer preservation time is necessary if the case lasts for several months to years. The “preservation letters” will ask the responsible party and/ or their attorneys and insurers to take steps to preserve certain pieces of evidence, including the following:
- Driver logs
- Dispatch records & audio recordings
- On board computer data
- Vehicle crash data
- Cell or smart phone data
- Trucking company business records
In addition, the trucking company itself and the driver, will both be investigated. If no information is freely available, the court may provide a subpoena so investigators can get access to information regarding both parties. This information can include driver training, drug and alcohol testing policies, safety procedures, prior lawsuits, DOT safety history, annual inspection reports, previous claims/ accident history, and media reports.
Last, when investigating truck accidents, it’s important to consult appropriate experts who can help you with your case. Often, qualified specialists in a particular field will testify on your behalf, or on behalf of the trucking company. For example, calling on an expert in accident reconstruction or major accidents can help investigators recreate what the collision may have looked like.
If you were involved in a serious truck accident, don’t hesitate to give our skilled Worchester truck accident attorneys a call. Your collision could have led to catastrophic injuries, which can often result in extensive medical bills and lost wages. The Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr. can help you seek compensation from the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company. Let us offer you experienced legal advice about your best course of action.
Talk to us in a consultation today. Call us at (508) 926-8833 or fill out our online form to schedule a conversation with us.
Trucking accidents can be disastrous. Learn about how they are usually investigated following a collision.
Learn about how truck accidents are usually investigated on our blog.
If a truck accident led to serious injuries, it would need to be scrutinized. Find out more about how these collisions are typically investigated on our blog.