"Whether it's a whiplash, serious injury or wrongful death case, we pride ourselves on representing you with the personal service and aggressive representation that you expect and deserve!" -Attorney Ron Sholes
How Do Truck Accident Investigations Work?
What to Expect During a Truck Accident Investigation
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and deaths, making them among the most serious—and complex—of all motor vehicle accidents. Although the sheer size of large commercial trucks is one factor in the general severity of these accidents, it is not the only one. Various forms of negligence, from truck driver error to insufficient truck maintenance to improper hiring practices by the trucking company, also play a role in these devastating crashes.
Because truck accidents are so much more complex than most standard car accidents, they nearly always require extensive investigations when it comes to determining the cause of the crash and, most importantly, who is liable for the victim’s damages. These investigations involve analyzing crash data and other evidence to reconstruct what happened and whether any underlying factors contributed to the accident.
Continue reading to learn more, or contact The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. today at (855) 933-3881 for a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys.
Who Conducts the Truck Accident Investigation?
After an accident, the Florida Highway Patrol or local law enforcement may conduct an investigation into what occurred. Additionally, the trucking company will almost certainly send out its own investigators to review the accident and collect evidence. If you were involved in a large truck accident, it is critical that you seek legal help, as your attorney can also gather evidence and complete an independent investigation into the crash.
Although truck accidents are covered under no-fault insurance, most victims suffer severe, even debilitating injuries in these types of collisions. As a result, their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will likely be insufficient to cover the full cost of their damages. To step outside the no-fault system and bring a claim against the trucking company or another liable party, you must not only prove that you have suffered a “serious injury,” as defined by the state, but you must also establish fault. This often requires an independent investigation, carried out by someone with your best interests in mind.
The trucking company and its insurance provider will not be looking out for your best interests. Instead, they will try to minimize their liability and look for evidence that supports their position. We strongly recommend that you reach out to the team at The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. right away to learn how our truck accident attorneys can help with your case.
The Truck Accident Investigation Process
Although each case is different, most truck accident investigations follow a similar pattern.
The steps involved typically include:
- Speaking to the Various Parties Involved: The trucking company or its insurance provider will talk to the truck driver; at The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A., we’ll talk to you. We want to hear your side of the story and obtain your firsthand account of what happened. If the trucking company or its insurance provider reaches out to you for a statement, avoid saying anything and donot sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer. Anything you say to the insurance adjuster could be used against you later.
- Going to and Investigating the Scene of the Accident: In many cases, the trucking company will send an insurance adjuster out to the scene of the accident. If you act quickly, your lawyer can do the same for you. At the scene, investigators will look for physical evidence, such as tire marks, debris, and damage to surrounding structures, such as guardrails or posts. They will also look for potential underlying factors that may have contributed to the crash, such as potholes, obstructed road signs, and poor lighting.
- Inspecting the Truck and Other Vehicles Involved: Both the trucking company’s insurance adjusters and your legal team usually have the right to inspect the vehicles involved in the crash, including your car and the truck itself. However, it is important that you contact a lawyer quickly, as the truck may be repaired or destroyed (if totaled) relatively soon after the accident. You should also refrain from having your vehicle repaired or junked until your attorney has had a chance to examine it for evidence. Some of the things investigators will look for when inspecting the involved vehicles include the various engine components, tires, seatbelts, airbags, roofs, steering components, and braking systems.
- Speaking to Witnesses and Obtaining Expert Testimony: Eyewitness accounts, if available, can be crucial to a truck accident case. Our attorneys can speak to anyone who witnessed the accident to obtain their account of what happened. We also work with industry experts, such as accident reconstructionists and medical professionals, to gather expert testimony on everything from the cause of the crash and underlying factors to the severity of our client’s injuries and the extent of their resulting damages.
- Reconstructing the Truck Accident: Using advanced technology, all available evidence, and the assistance of professional accident reconstruction experts, our firm reconstructs the accident itself to demonstrate what happened, what underlying factors contributed to it, and who is legally responsible for our client’s damages. In many cases, accident reconstruction can be used to show what really happened—even if that contradicts the defense’s claims.
What Evidence Is Gathered in a Truck Accident Investigation?
During the investigation, our team will gather various forms of evidence to support your claim.
This evidence often includes:
- The official police accident report
- 911 calls (if applicable)
- Eyewitness statements (if available)
- Statements from those involved, including the victim and the truck driver
- Information gathered by the truck’s “black box,” or electronic data recorder
- Reports detailing the most recent truck inspection and repairs/maintenance
- Records of the cargo the truck was carrying, including its weight and contents
- The truck driver’s employment history, training certificates, and driving records
- The truck driver’s hours-of-service logs
- Results from recent drug or alcohol tests performed on the truck driver
- Information about the trucking company’s hiring, training, and supervision practices
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Any photographs or videos taken at the scene of the accident
- Photographs and other documentation of your injuries
- Paystubs and other proof of lost income/wages
- Copies of receipts for money you have spent related to the accident (i.e., costs associated with traveling to and from medical appointments, hiring assistance for household tasks, etc.)
Using this evidence, we are often able to reconstruct the accident and prove what truly happened. At The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A., we utilize cutting-edge legal technology to rebuild the scene of the accident and present the evidence to the judge and/or jury in a powerful, persuasive way. Our methodical approach to investigating truck accidents has allowed us to build strong cases for our clients—and recover the compensation they deserved.
To learn more, including how we can assist you with your truck accident investigation, call (855) 933-3881 or contact The Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. online today.