After a very serious accident involving a big rig, especially one that involves very bad injuries or a fatality, the crash will be investigated by authorities and sometimes reconstructed.
For serious accidents the police usually will investigate to determine their opinion as to the cause of the crash and with big rigs to inquire whether there are other violations such as speeding, mechanical problems with the truck or hours of service violations by the truck driver. However, whether or not the investigation is thorough depends upon the severity of the crash and injury sustained.
Location of the crash also plays a part in who may or may not investigate and/or reconstruct the accident. Dependent upon the method and methodology of the investigating authorities did crash report in its entirety may or may not be admissible at trial.
INSURANCE COMPANIES SEND THEIR EXPERTS
Insurance companies regularly send out independent investigators to the scene of an accident to determine potential defenses in the event of a lawsuit. These investigators are looking for any means of defending a case and suggesting that someone else other than the truck driver may be at fault for the crash.
Often, insurance companies and trucking companies have in-house investigators who can make it to the scene of a crash before the vehicles have even been moved. The importance of documenting the scene including resting positions, skid-marks gouge marks and debris cannot be overstated.
Recent technological advances enable digital renderings to be easily done with a minimum amount of work.
Unless a victim or the family’s representative has been able to obtain experienced and reputable representation after the crash, the family may be disadvantaged by a delay in investigation after the accident. Many trucking companies are now pushing to attempt to repair or “total” the big rig very quickly after the accident. That may impact whether the family can have access to the vehicle and is one reason hiring counsel quickly is so important.
In almost every big truck accident case, the motor carrier will hire an expert who reconstructs the crash and suggest that someone other than the truck driver has responsibility for the accident. That will be a given.
Although expert witnesses are supposed to be impartial and give a fair determination of the cause of the crash, the insurance company would not hire someone who is not going to advocate for their position. Families are often shocked when they learn the trucking company is denying liability for a clear liability crash.
Computer data from the big rig is very important to establish such things as speed, braking and gear at the time or near the accident. Most rigs now contain black boxes or computer data that can be downloaded to help establish facts that may otherwise be disputed by the expert for the trucking company. It is critically important that the plaintiff have access to that material before it gets away.
INSPECTION OF THE SEMI TRUCK
Another component of importance in investigation of a serious injury truck accident is the vehicle inspection. Not only will photographs be taken and vehicle damage documented but also the individual components of the vehicle such as brakes, tires and other maintenance issue will be investigated along with construction of the driver’s paperwork including the driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports indicating problems with the truck.
IMPORTANCE OF SELECTING COUNSEL EXPERIENCED IN TRUCK WRECKS
Families who’ve lost a loved one would be well advised to research the attorneys we are considering retaining after an accident. Cases involving motor carriers and professional truck drivers involve many different issues than any bread-and-butter car accident. The importance of hiring an experienced and successful truck accident attorney cannot be overstated.
CALL FOR FREE CONSULTATION
If you’ve been in a very serious truck accident and would like to speak with a truck accident attorney regarding your rights and options call us toll-free for a no obligation consultation.