After an accident with a truck, the truck company and its insurance companies may do everything they can to avoid liability. A thorough truck accident investigation by an experienced Charleston truck accident attorney is critical. Call our team at Bringardner Injury Law Firm to represent you after a truck accident.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Truck Accident Investigation
You or your loved one may be recovering from severe injuries after a truck accident. While you’re in the hospital or dealing with missed work time, the trucking company and insurance companies are working quickly to prepare to defend against your claim.
The trucking and insurance companies get busy immediately
When the claims process begins, the insurance company assigns an adjuster to examine the case. Remember that the adjuster works for the trucking insurance company, not you. They may seem friendly, but they will seek ways to protect their bottom line. Objectivity is not their priority. They will try to find ways to limit their liability, minimize your claim, and blame you.
For example, they may attempt to:
- Claim that you had pre-existing injuries
- Claim that your injuries are “not that bad”
- Immediately offer you a lowball settlement
- Place undeserved blame on you
Most victims of truck accidents do not have the experience or time to deal with the big corporations immediately after an accident. However, the days and weeks immediately after a truck crash are critical. If we take your case, our experienced attorneys will conduct a thorough and independent truck accident investigation on your behalf. Meanwhile, you can focus on recovering your health and being surrounded by the care of your loved ones.
The police report might not help your case
The police report is a document prepared by one of the responding law enforcement officers. It generally contains crash details, who was involved, witness information, and an accident diagram. It may also include the officer’s conclusions about what happened.
Officers make conclusions based on what they observed themselves and on witness testimony at the scene. They usually assign fault to one or both drivers. However, their determinations might be a result of inaccurate, one-sided, or incomplete information.
Law enforcement’s conclusions about fault are generally inadmissible in South Carolina civil courts. Police may testify about what they observed, but it’s up to the jury to determine fault. That is why it is critical for an experienced truck accident attorney to act quickly and conduct an independent investigation on behalf of the victim.
The trucking company’s insurer also uses the police report
The trucking company’s insurance carrier will obtain a copy of the police report as a part of their internal investigation. The insurer may come to a different conclusion than the officer about who is at fault. Therefore, they may deny your claim even if the officer concluded you weren’t at fault.
Our attorneys can go far beyond the police report and dig deeper when investigating truck accident cases. We create our own independent, objective evaluation of the crash, hiring the right investigators and experts to review all of the evidence. Our team often reconstructs the entire accident by looking back at all events and missteps that led up to the collision. By using our experience and the vast legal resources at our disposal, we often discover additional, pivotal evidence that supports our clients’ cases.
3 Areas of an Accident Investigation
No two cases are alike, but the steps of a truck accident investigation often go along the same lines.
1. The truck’s condition
Inspecting the truck’s condition in person gives our attorneys valuable information about the crash. Our team reviews the physical impact damage to the tractor, trailer, and other parts. We also look for defective parts or failed equipment that may have contributed to the crash.
Most trucks have electronic data recorders, or “black boxes,” that provide valuable information in the truck accident investigation. If available, our team will conduct a forensic examination of the EDR and will download the available data including:
- Truck speed and wheel turning
- GPS locations
- Sudden braking and airbag deployment
- Tire pressure and battery information
- Engine speed and temperature
2. The driver’s actions
Our team investigates the accident scene — immediately, if possible — as an essential part of evidence gathering. We look at factors such as skid marks to see whether the truck driver hit the brakes, or had the opportunity to and did not. The conditions at the crash scene can help explain the driver’s responses during the accident.
If cameras were present at the crash scene or inside the truck driver’s cabin, we work to obtain footage to review the crash and observe the driver’s actions.
We may also interview witnesses, including the driver, passengers and others present during the crash. Getting their firsthand accounts is vital to the truck accident investigation. Witnesses can tell us what the driver was doing or saying during and after the crash.
We may also look back at the driver’s medical records and log books. For example, we look to see whether the truck driver was on the road for too many hours or taking medications that interfered with the truck driver’s alertness behind the wheel.
3. The trucking company’s pattern of behavior
The trucking company’s records can tell us how they conduct business regularly and after an accident. We can review driver training records, vehicle maintenance records, licensing, annual reports and safety policies to analyze the company’s regular processes.
Inspecting the company’s U.S. Department of Transportation safety and accident history helps inform our investigation. It may demonstrate the trucking company’s patterns of behavior related to its involvement in truck crashes. It also may uncover their day-to-day policies and procedures and prior violations of the trucking regulations. Sometimes it even reveals a pattern of irresponsible business practices in the hiring, training, or supervision of its truck drivers.
Truck Accident Investigation FAQs
What other parties can be investigated in a truck accident?
Bringardner Injury Law Firm conducts exhaustive truck accident investigations, even going so far as to examine the truck broker and cargo loader’s actions. For example, our investigation could uncover that the party who loaded the truck caused the trailer to be over a safe weight limit, compromising its ability to stop or maneuver, or contributing to a rollover. Cargo loaders would also be under scrutiny if a load is lost and falls onto the road, causing drivers to swerve.
What should I do at the scene of a truck accident?
Gather information if you are physically able to. Talk to witnesses and take photos of your vehicle. Call an experienced truck accident attorney. Seek medical treatment even if you initially feel okay. Your adrenaline may mask the severity of your injuries, and a medical exam may be helpful.
What We Do With the Investigation Evidence
When we represent you for a truck accident, our initial work involves gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, consulting investigators and experts, and obtaining the critical documents to uncover accident information to support your case.
The trucking and insurance companies have legal teams to fight for them. We want to ensure you or your loved one also have the same. The details we uncover about the accident, driver or trucking company often give us an advantage when attempting to negotiate settlement.
Request a Truck Accident Investigation at a Free Consultation
Call Bringardner Injury Law Firm and we will evaluate your case for free. If we take you as a client, we will get to work right away gathering evidence and records from the trucking company.
Our truck accident attorneys will use every available resource in the fight for the justice you deserve.