Investigating a Truck Accident
Investigating a truck accident and its causes can be much more complex — and require more timely action — than an accident involving just passenger vehicles. Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow federal and state regulations and the person or organization legally responsible for your injuries might not be the person who was actually driving. You’re also fighting the clock because a trucking company may legally be able to destroy documents that are important to your case after a relatively short period of time. That’s why it’s crucial to contact an Alabama truck accident lawyer immediately if you’ve been the victim of an accident involving a commercial truck.
When you’ve been injured in an accident with a semi truck, you can’t rely on the trucking company or its insurer to support your claim. They will look out for their own interests, and you need to look out for yours. Even though investigations by law enforcement or the Department of Transportation will be objective, you still need to conduct your own research and gather evidence. If you believe the commercial vehicle is at fault for your accident, you will have to build a case to prove someone’s negligent or malicious behavior led to your injuries and that they should be held financially responsible.
If you’ve been in an accident, contact the truck accident investigation attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C. right away. When the insurer begins its investigation, you need your own advocate. Your attorney will dive into your situation to figure out what went wrong, why, and who is at fault. Your lawyer also can work to preserve evidence in your case before it’s destroyed.
Contact an Attorney to Prevent Destruction of Evidence
Insurers, local law enforcement, and the DOT typically investigate accidents involving commercial trucks. Once they’re finished, the trucking company is often able to repair or replace the truck. This means much of the physical evidence regarding your accident will be destroyed. To prevent this from happening and allow you to conduct your own investigation, your attorney will send a letter asking that any potential evidence related to your suit be preserved.
Because you’re fighting for recovery from a business, it’s likely that they will work to prove their innocence. They may even try to hide evidence of negligence on the part of themselves or their driver. Your attorney will work to ensure the company doesn’t purposefully get rid of evidence that your experts could have examined to support your case.
Special Trucking Accident Issues
An attorney who has experience with truck accidents will understand the unique facets of these cases. In a truck accident, there may be factors at work other than, or in addition to, the driver’s negligence or disregard for traffic laws and safety. Some of the factors that a lawyer may investigate following your truck accident include:
- Driver Qualifications — You need to learn whether the trucker had the proper commercial driver’s license and any necessary certifications to drive the vehicle that struck you.
- Driving Record — In addition to whether the driver had the necessary license, you will want to look into his or her background. How long have they been a trucker? Have there been any complaints regarding their driving? Have they had any tickets?
- Hours of Service — Truckers have to follow very specific rules regarding how long they can drive within a certain period of time and how often they need to rest. Your attorney’s investigation will include looking at the driver’s hours of service records to determine if they were compliant with the law or potentially driving while drowsy.
- Vehicle Data — Many newer commercial trucks have onboard computers that track driving times and other information. Your attorney will want a copy of any real-time data from the vehicle.
- Vehicle Maintenance Records — It’s possible that your accident was caused by a problem with the vehicle. You need to determine whether the company and driver properly maintained the truck or whether improper care caused a part of the truck to fail.
- Weather and Road Conditions — The environment at the time of the accident may have played a part. Your attorney will investigate the weather and road conditions at the time of your crash. He or she might also look into whether the trucker was experienced in driving in these conditions.
- Responsibility — While the trucker was the individual behind the wheel, he or she is an employee of an organization. Employers are generally responsible for their workers’ actions while on the job, which means the person you need to hold legally responsible is the organization. If a trucking company was negligent in hiring or training the driver, or in maintaining the truck, the company may be liable for your injuries.
Call an Alabama Truck Accident Investigation Attorneys with Belt & Bruner, P.C.
You shouldn’t leave the investigation entirely to the insurers or law enforcement. You need a truck accident investigation attorney who will quickly dive into your case, ensuring you’re able to gather the evidence you need to build and support your argument. An experienced trucking accident lawyer understands the need to act immediately to avoid the destruction of evidence so that you can have your own experts examine the truck or any relevant documents. You will need to gather company and on-board vehicle records. You may even need to depose people like the driver or witnesses to the crash.
Our Alabama accident investigation attorneys at Belt & Bruner, P.C. understand the complexities of trucking cases and are willing to aggressively advocate on your behalf. We’ve tried these cases before, even obtaining a $12.5 million jury verdict in a commercial truck crash case. While the same result cannot be expected in every case, we will aggressively peruse each case to maximize your recovery.
If you or a loved one were injured in a devastating accident, call the truck accident lawyers from Belt & Bruner, P.C. at 205-933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.