How to Investigate a Truck Accident Case
Trucking accidents are some of the most catastrophic accidents on the roads. When an 80,000-pound semi-truck collides with a 4,000-pound passenger car, the results are devastating. Insurers and trucking companies know that these accidents result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. That is why they work quickly to minimize their liabilities.
To counter this and protect your rights to compensation, you need a law firm on your side that can investigate the truck accident quickly. A thorough truck accident investigation is necessary to build a solid and more valuable claim. Valuable evidence must be collected and preserved to establish liability and improve the chances of a successful outcome. In short, these investigations can quite literally make or break your case.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our trucking accident lawyers represent victims of serious trucking accidents throughout Arkansas and Tennessee. We know how to investigate these accidents to uncover the evidence needed to win your case. While every investigation is unique, we know the specific areas of the collision to explore to give your claim the best chance of success.
Why You Need Your Truck Accident Investigated by a Lawyer
There is a lot to do after a serious truck accident. While you are still in the hospital recovering from your injuries, trucking companies, and their insurers are hard at work. They are looking for any angle they can find to reduce their liabilities. They may claim that you were ultimately responsible for the crash or that you had pre-existing injuries. As such, injured trucking accident victims are often surprised to get an aggressive response from the insurance companies even before they’ve had a chance to process the accident and its impact.
For this reason, it is essential to have an experienced law firm on your side from the start. While you focus on your injuries and your recovery, our lawyers will immediately go to work. We will prevent the trucking companies from deleting or erasing valuable black box data, and we will ask to preserve all evidence, including the crash damage itself.
It is important to act quickly after an accident. When months go by, the loss of evidence is unimaginable. This can lower the chance of winning your case and collecting the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies know this. That is why they often try to convince accident victims that they don’t need an attorney. This is untrue. It is in your best interest to have an experienced lawyer examine your case and perform an independent investigation on your behalf.
Since these accidents are often complex and catastrophic, an investigation is essential to find all liable parties. After all, determining fault in a truck accident isn’t easy. Many parties can share the blame for the crash in a trucking accident, including the trucking company, shipping company, and truck driver. Trucking companies will want to pin all the blame on other parties to avoid litigation. However, truck investigations often reveal serious negligence on the part of the trucking company.
An experienced truck accident lawyer knows that a thorough investigation is the best way to locate all liable parties and hold them accountable for their negligence
Steps of a Trucking Accident Investigation
It is important to know that no two trucking accident investigations are ever quite the same. However, our lawyers often take many of the following steps when conducting investigations for our injured clients.
Analyze the Collision Scene.
This is an important step that is best done immediately after the trucking accident. We can look for evidence at the collision scene, such as skid marks or lighting issues. This evidence can help us begin to build your trucking accident case.
Collection of Evidence.
When there is evidence to collect, it is important to have a law firm on your side that knows how to collect this evidence and preserve it carefully. Improper evidence collection could damage your injury case.
Request Law Enforcement Records.
After a serious trucking accident, the police will often arrive on the scene to clear traffic, help injured victims, and write up a police report. Our law firm will need to obtain a copy of that police report and other collision reports. This can include:
- Investigative report
- Accident reconstruction analysis
- CAD drawings
- Scene photographs
- Witness statements
- 911 calls
- Traffic surveillance videos
- Driver records
- Drug and alcohol records
Sending out Preservation of Evidence Letters.
When evidence is collected, you need to make sure that this evidence is preserved correctly. We typically contact the trucking company and insurers to make sure that they maintain this evidence. The Department of Transportation makes it a requirement to keep evidence for six months. However, at the end of this time, the companies can destroy them. This is why the preservation of evidence letters is important. These letters require the trucking company and insurers to save:
- Driver logs
- Black box data
- Cell phone data
- Trucking company records
Investigating the Truck Driver and the Trucking Company
It is important to investigate the truck driver and the trucking company that employed them. A trucking company is responsible for ensuring that its drivers are adequately trained and have a clean driving record. When they fail in this duty, they can face liability. Some of the documents we may need to review during our investigation include:
- Annual inspection reports
- Prior accident and claims history
- Safety policies
- Driver training records
- DOT safety history
- Annual reports or licensing
Examination of Truck and Electronic Data Recorder
It is important to examine the truck carefully after a crash. The truck itself, as well as the electronic data recorder, may highlight what caused the crash. It may also show what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
The black box, or electronic data recorder, can indicate when the driver applied the brakes and how fast they were going at the time of the accident. This can help us pinpoint who is to blame for the accident and your injuries.
Likewise, the damaged truck might reveal that a defective part or faulty maintenance caused the crash. When this occurs, we can hold negligent trucking manufacturers or trucking companies accountable for the injuries you suffered.
Consulting with Experts
When we investigate trucking accidents, we must often retain the services of experienced experts. These experts help up build a strong compensation case. Some of the experts we might use as expert witnesses in your case include:
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Commercial truck mechanics
- Drug and alcohol recognition experts
- Trucking company standard of care experts
- Vocational rehabilitation experts
If you suffered an injury in a trucking accident, you deserve help. You need a law firm on your side that can investigate the truck accident closely for all evidence that could help your case. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our trucking accident lawyers know how to investigate trucking accidents accurately. We leave no stone unturned in our quest for justice.