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What Is Involved in a Truck Accident Investigation?

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Dec 13, 2017 in Truck Accidents

semi truck traveling on roadThe scene of a truck accident can be chaotic and confusing. However, there may be important clues at the site of the accident that indicate why the accident occurred and which party is responsible for it.

If you are injured in a truck accident, it is important for you to understand how an attorney will investigate the collision and the parties that may be involved.

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers are committed to helping semi-truck accident victims obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. Below, we discuss how we may investigate a truck crash to uncover any evidence that may be used to build a case that supports your claim.

Evidence at the Accident Scene

Often, the scene of the truck accident contains crucial evidence that can help your attorney determine the cause of the accident and which party may be at fault. A skilled truck accident attorney will review evidence such as:

  • Skid marks
  • Road signs
  • Road conditions
  • Vehicle damage
  • Debris on the roadway

If possible, take pictures of this evidence to record important information. Additionally, the responding police officers will likely inspect the interior of the truck’s cab for factors that may have caused the accident. This includes the presence of alcoholic beverages or electronic devices that may have distracted the driver.

Eyewitness Statements

Many motor vehicle accidents occur on highly congested freeways and interstate roads, which means it may be likely that other people witnessed the accident.

You should collect the names and contact information of any person who witnessed your truck accident. This can provide a crucial, first-hand account of the events that occurred before the accident and the behavior of the drivers involved.

However, it is important that you and your attorney speak with witnesses while the accident is on their mind and their memory is fresh.

Black Box Data

Many trucks contain an electronic data recorder, also known as a black box, that contains information about the truck’s movements in the moments leading up to the accident. The black box may contain data such as:

  • The speed immediately before the accident
  • Whether the truck driver applied the brakes
  • Timing of any brake application

Logbooks

Truck drivers are required to follow the hours of service rule, which is a federal law that limits the number of hours they are allowed to drive in a 24-hour period.

Under this law, truck drivers are required to maintain logbooks that establish how many miles they have traveled and the timing of their loads.

If kept properly, a truck driver’s hours-log book can help establish if he or she violated state or federal regulations regarding driving hours.

Other Truck Records

Additionally, there are several other records that our truck accident attorneys will investigate to help build a case.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires trucking companies, truck drivers and the truck’s owner to keep detailed inspection reports of a commercial semi-truck. This includes the vehicle’s:

  • Inspection records
  • Repair history
  • Maintenance reports

Furthermore, our attorneys can also investigate records concerning the cargo being transferred by the truck involved in your accident. These records can indicate when the cargo was picked up and delivered, as well as specify the contents in the load.

Driver Background Records

Your attorney can also investigate the truck driver’s professional record for instances of previous violations that indicate a pattern of negligence. This can include:

  • Drug or alcohol violations
  • Traffic accidents where the driver was at fault
  • Criminal history

Likewise, trucking companies are required to conduct thorough background checks on any potential drivers they may hire. We can obtain these documents to determine if the driver involved in your accident was qualified to operate a commercial semi-truck or had a history of violating FMCSA regulations.

Furthermore, the FMCSA requires trucking companies to perform random, periodic drug and alcohol screenings on all of their drivers. A driver must also undergo a mandatory drug and alcohol test if he or she has been involved in an accident that resulted in property damage, injury or death.

A seasoned attorney will know how to obtain all of the records regarding the truck driver’s background, qualifications and employment history.

Accident Reconstruction

A knowledgeable truck accident attorney may also attempt to reconstruct your accident to understand the events that occurred. Typically, this is achieved by hiring an accident reconstructionist who uses the available evidence to create an accurate interpretation of the accident.

This process involves a careful analysis of the physical evidence, a review of eyewitness statements and the variables present at the time of the accident.

To reconstruct the accident, our investigators may measure the distance and angle of a skid mark, use information from electronic data recorders to determine the speed of the truck at the time of the accident, or analyze the time it took for the driver to apply the vehicle’s brakes.

Get Help with Your Truck Accident Claim

Truck accidents are often severe and can result in a victim suffering serious injuries, financial loss, or death.

However, with the help of a skilled truck accident attorney, you may be able to build a case that helps you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.

At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, a personal injury lawyer from Fort Worth, TX can review your claim to determine what caused the accident and which party may be liable for your pain and suffering. We provide free consultations and do not charge upfront legal fees for our services. We are committed to helping you pursue maximum compensation and we only get paid if you obtain a fair outcome for your claim.

Call (877) 920-9009 to schedule a free consultation today.