Truck Accident Lawyer
Information for Crash Victims
Every insurance carrier that insure trucking companies involved in a serious crash knows the number one rule of accident investigation:
A thorough investigation must be done as soon as possible and before vital information disappears.
Yet, for the crash victim and his or her family, an investigation on their behalf rarely comes to mind. Understandably, medical care, lost income, and, all too often, even the loss of a loved one are the sole concerns of someone whose life as been turned upside down by an inattentive trucker. While the police or highway patrol do investigate, it is generally not done in as sophisticated a fashion as a trained investigator and accident re-constructionist. Time after time, we have been able to hold trucking companies civilly accountable even though the trucker was found not to be responsible in the police report or found criminally not guilty.
Attempting to level the playing field for the victim against powerful trucking companies and their insurance carriers is the goal. Specifically, the following is a partial sample of what the trucking company will gather/investigate. Do you have someone whose sole allegiance is to you doing likewise?
– Obtain crash reports.
– Interview all witnesses and obtain statements while recollections are fresh.
– Interview all post-occurrence witnesses (police, rescue personnel, tow truck operators, etc.).
– Obtain US DOT/NHTSA and manufacturer recalls and service bulletins for vehicles involved.
– Obtain hospital or coroner records and reports.
– Secure truck maintenance records.
– Measure/survey the scene.
– Photograph scene and vehicles.
– Calculate the radius of any curves or intersection corners involved.
– Identify and photograph tire imprints and tire friction marks.
– Identify, measure and photograph scene markings, including skid marks (indicates speed), scuff tire marks (impact points); fluid puddles (vehicle rest position); fluid trails (vehicle paths); fluid splatter (impact points), gouges (impact points).
– Measure grade, bank and crown.
– Inspect all vehicles.
– Obtain driver log books.
Since truck driver fatigue frequently plays a role in truck crashes:
– Was the driver operating on “sleep debt”?
– Did the driver have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
– Were there hours-of-service regulation violations?
This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it is hoped that it will underscore the need to look far beneath the surface to get a true picture of why a crash occurred.