Truck wrecks are significantly different from crashes involving passenger vehicles. The sheer size and weight of the truck tends to result in victims suffering more devastating injuries or deaths. The trucker must comply with federal regulations regarding how many hours he can drive without a break and many other aspects of his job. In addition, the trucking company has to follow many federal rules and could face blame under vicarious liability laws or based on its own negligence for your injuries. Because of these additional complexities, your truck wreck attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation of your collision and other factors that could have contributed to it in building your case against the truck driver and trucking company.
What Does a Thorough Investigation of a Truck Accident Entail?
An investigation by your attorney—if it is done right—will involve more than obtaining a copy of the police report. Depending on the facts of your case, he could take the following steps in investigating your claim:
- Visit the crash scene. If you hire an attorney soon after your wreck, he may visit the scene or hire an expert to do so. This can help him get a better sense of how your crash occurred and what the conditions at the scene were as well as may uncover evidence the police officer missed, such as debris or skid marks.
- Send spoliation letter. Your attorney should quickly send a spoliation letter to the trucking company advising it of your claim and of documents that should not be destroyed. Once the trucking company receives this letter, it is prohibited from destroying documents important to your claim under federal regulations.
- Hire crash reconstruction expert. Depending on the disputes regarding the cause of your crash, your attorney may want to hire a crash reconstruction expert to reenact the sequence of events to prove the trucker’s negligence.
- Preserve electronic data. Your attorney will need to preserve electronic data, such as that contained in the truck’s black box and GPS, and have an expert present or otherwise ensure that the information is properly downloaded. This could provide information regarding the trucker’s location and the truck's actions, such as its speed, attempts to brake, and much more.
- Driver information. An attorney will want to obtain a copy of the trucker’s personnel file to be certain that he was qualified to drive a truck when he was hired and throughout his employment. In addition, driver logs can include important information, such as when the trucker took breaks and how often he performed required inspections of the truck.
- Employer records. Your attorney may want to obtain many trucking company records, such as maintenance records for the truck that caused your collision, employee handbooks and policies, any internal investigation into the trucker’s driving record, and drug and alcohol testing results.
- Truck. If you contact an attorney soon after the wreck, he may want to hire an expert to inspect the truck before it is repaired or destroyed. This information could help establish the cause of the wreck.
If you or a family member was hurt in a truck accident, contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced truck wreck legal team. We will be happy to discuss your situation and how we would handle the investigation of your crash and negotiation of your settlement.