Trucking accidents can be complex and challenging to investigate. The nature of trucking—particularly long-distance hauling—means that vehicles are often on the road for long periods, giving them ample opportunity for mistakes to occur.
Additionally, trucks must adhere to a strict set of federal regulations that govern everything from how much weight they should carry on the road to how many hours drivers can spend behind the wheel without sleep during any one 24-hour period.
When a trucking accident occurs, investigations are done by trained professionals. These investigations are in-depth. They help determine who caused the accident, why it happened, and how to prevent future accidents like this one from occurring again.
Physical Evidence From the Scene
A truck accident investigation begins at the scene. Investigators will gather physical evidence from the scene that can be used later in court to aid any personal injury lawsuit that the victim(s) might file.
Physical evidence from the scene may include:
- Truck parts that were damaged in an accident and debris thrown off the truck
- Tire marks left by wheels during impact can indicate how fast a vehicle was traveling before the impact
- Skid marks that appear when a car stops suddenly and tires lose traction
The Event Data Recorder (EDR) Or Black Box
The most crucial evidence in a truck accident investigation is often the black box or event data recorder. The EDR records data from the last few seconds before a crash, so it can be beneficial to determine what happened during a collision.
It also provides information about the truck’s speed, braking, airbag deployment, and whether or not its driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of impact.
This information can prove helpful later on if a case goes to trial because it helps establish who was at fault for an accident.
You might think it would be easy for police officers to review these details when conducting their investigations. But in reality, this isn’t always possible due to limited resources available during those first few days after an accident.
Interviews and Statements From Witness, Police, and Participants
After collecting all the evidence, it’s time to conduct interviews. Interviews are a crucial part of any investigation because eyewitnesses may offer valuable information that an attorney can use later in the investigation. It’s also important to interview police officers and paramedics who were on the scene as first responders and anyone else involved in the accident.
For example, if multiple vehicles are involved in an accident involving a commercial truck driver who was transporting cargo at the time of impact, investigators interview both drivers involved—the commercial truck driver and their passenger—and other witnesses who were present at the crash.
Inspecting Company Records
In addition to interviewing witnesses and collecting proof from the accident scene, gathering as much information as possible about the company that owns and operates each vehicle involved in an accident is essential.
This includes interviewing companies’ employees and inspecting employee driving logs, repair records, and truck maintenance schedules.
Your lawyer will also want access to relevant documents such as trip sheets or log books that might help prove liability on behalf of one entity versus another party involved in this type of accident case.
They’ll use these types of documents along with other evidence collected during the discovery phase so that they can ultimately make an informed decision about whether or not it makes sense to take legal action against one party or none at all.
Your attorney may also be able to hire experts who can help with your case. For example, they might hire a mechanic specializing in tractor trailers to inspect the vehicle and records from the company before filing a claim against the other driver or their insurance company.
Truck Inspection to Reconstruct the Accident
The truck inspection is a critical part of the trucking accident investigation. It’s important not only so the lawyer can assess if there were mechanical issues or driver error but also to help reconstruct the accident. The truck can tell a lot about an accident, like if it had a sudden impact or rolled over.
The At-Fault Truck Driver
The investigation will focus on the driver’s logbooks and training records when determining if a truck driver is at fault for a truck accident.
This portion of the investigation aims to determine if the truck driver had enough experience and training to safely maneuver their vehicle in all weather conditions, including inclement weather.
If the evidence determines that the driver lacked sufficient training or experience, they could be liable for any damages resulting from their actions during the accident.
Are You A Trucking Accident Victim? Contact Elrod Pope Law Firm Today
Trucking accidents can be complex, but thorough investigations can yield information that helps victims determine who caused them and why. If a truck driver’s negligence hurt you or someone you love, contact an attorney immediately to help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve.
The trucking accident attorneys at Elrod Pope Law Firm are here to help you with your claim and ensure that you get all the compensation due to you — whether it is medical bills or lost wages.
If you’re a truck accident victim, call Elrod Pope Law Firm at (803) 599-3080 or fill out our online contact form for a free case review!
Truck Accident FAQs
What are some common signs of truck driver negligence?
Many things can cause truck accidents, but driver fatigue, distraction, and inexperience are among the most common.
Who is liable in a trucking accident?
In a trucking accident, the trucker and their employer are liable if they were negligent. For example, if a driver were speeding or fell asleep behind the wheel due to fatigue or drug use, the trucking company would be at fault.
In some cases, however, all parties can be held liable for an accident—including other drivers involved in it.