Investigating the Cause of a Commercial Truck Accident
Nearly 100,000 people were injured in accidents that involved large commercial trucks in 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The good news is that many truck accident victims who suffer serious injuries have the right to hold truck drivers and their employers accountable for the losses they incurred. However, in order to recover financially, truck accident victims must go through a complex process that may involve multiple insurance claims, filing a lawsuit, or both.
A very important part of the legal process following a truck accident is the investigation into what caused the crash. Most people – understandably so – have no idea where to begin when trying to determine the cause of a truck accident. Doing so can require a detailed knowledge of the trucking industry and technical analysis of the crash – something that most people do not personally have access to. For this reason, it is critical for anyone who was in a truck accident to contact a law firm that has the resources and experience needed to fully and accurately investigate the cause of the crash.
The Importance of Identifying the Cause of a Truck Accident
In order for a trucking company’s insurance company to pay out on a claim, an injured victim must prove that the company and/or employee driver was responsible for causing the crash in some way. Similarly, in order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit against a driver and trucking company, a victim must sufficiently prove that negligence on the part of the parties caused the accident and injuries.
The FMCSA reports that the primary cause of truck accidents is driver error. However, no insurance company or court will simply take your word for it that a truck driver caused a collision. Instead, you must have specific evidence to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the truck driver or company was at fault. In order to gather such evidence, a thorough investigation is often necessary.
Methods of Investigating a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, there are many different ways to go about investigating the cause of the crash. The following are only some methods that our truck accident law firm commonly uses to determine and prove liability in a truck accident.
Witness statements – We will carefully interview anyone who witnessed the crash and stopped afterward to get their side of the story. Often, witnesses may have seen a truck driver speeding, driving aggressively or erratically, or may have observed other factors that can help indicate that the driver was at fault in the crash.
Police reports – When officers are called to the scene, they will gather as much information as possible regarding a possible cause of the crash and will include it in their accident reports. In addition, if a police officer determines that a truck driver had violated the law in any way, they will issue a citation or even arrest a driver if they are suspected of driving under the influence or a similar offense. Such citations and criminal cases can be used to prove liability in a civil case.
Surveillance cameras – Sometimes, buildings nearby may have surveillance videos that caught the crash, though because many truck accidents happen on the highway, such footage can be rare. However, many trucking companies have begun the practice of installing cameras inside the trucks in their fleet to encourage safe practices by drivers. Such cameras may face forward toward the road or may even face the driver and catch their every action. If a camera was mounted inside a truck, obtaining the footage can be key in proving liability.
Black box data – Like airplanes, large commercial vehicles have “black boxes” that record data about the truck while it’s in motion. This data can show how fast the truck was traveling, whether the driver hit the brakes and other similar information that can give important insight into what happened just before a crash occurred.
Records – Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies are required to keep specific records regarding time spent driving, rest breaks, delivery schedules, inspections, and more. These records can show whether or not a driver had exceeded the hours of service limits set by the FMCSA or whether a pre-trip inspection was properly conducted. However, these records can also be falsified so it is important to compare the records with delivery receipts and other documents that may indicate inaccuracies. Some trucks, however, now have automated recording systems regarding drive time, so these records can be key in proving fatigued driving or similar violations.
Accident reconstruction analysis – In some cases, there is not enough readily available evidence to easily prove what caused a truck accident. In such situations, it may be necessary to bring in an expert in accident reconstruction to analyze the scene of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, and any other relevant factors that may indicate which party was at fault. Such experts can then present their findings to an insurance company or in court, which can help to prove liability.
Overall, the investigation into the cause of a truck accident is a critical part of any truck accident case. However, it is also a technical process that can require numerous resources – including time, energy, and money. At Dolman Law Group, we handle the entire investigative process for you so that you can focus on recovering physically from your injuries and without having to pay any money out of pocket. We have successfully handled many truck accident cases and have access to a wide variety of resources that we can bring to the table in your case.
Discuss Your Case with Our Skilled Clearwater Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Truck accident claims can often be significantly more complex than regular car accident cases. For this reason, you should always make sure that the law firm on your side has extensive experience handling this specific type of claim. If you have been injured, please contact a Clearwater truck accident lawyer at Dolman Law Group today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765