What Should Be Included in a Comprehensive Truck Wreck Investigation
One of the first steps you should take after being injured in a truck accident is to hire an experienced truck accident attorney. You want to do this as soon as possible to give your lawyer the opportunity to conduct an investigation of your crash before vital evidence is lost or destroyed. A thorough inquiry into the cause of the wreck is critical to building a strong claim for compensation for your injuries.
What Should Be Included in the Investigation of Your Truck Crash?
Soon after you hire an attorney, he should send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising the company of your claim and directing them to preserve certain documents identified in the letter. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, a trucking company is prohibited from destroying potentially helpful information to your case once it receives this letter.
A comprehensive investigation of a truck crash should include the following:
- Driver records. An attorney will want to examine the trucker’s driver qualification file, which a trucking company is required to maintain, to determine whether the trucker was qualified to drive this class of vehicle under FMCSA regulations. In addition, this file contains other helpful information, such as medical certifications, employment history, results of drug and alcohol testing, and much more.
- Truck driver log. Large truck drivers are required to keep a detailed log documenting driving time, rest periods, meal breaks, and other information. This information can help an attorney determine if factors such as trucker fatigue or violations of the hours of service regulations caused your wreck.
- Trucking company records. These documents could establish the trucking company’s failure to conduct background checks, properly train drivers, or properly maintain the fleet, or reveal other potential areas of negligence that may contribute to your accident.
- Truck inspection. Determining the cause of your crash requires a thorough investigation of the truck’s mechanical condition and the damage caused in the wreck. Your attorney may want to hire an accident reconstruction expert or other crash expert to conduct the inspection.
- Electronic on-board recorder. Most trucks are equipped with a black box that records important information before, during, and after the accident, such as the truck’s speed and braking patterns. Your attorney wants to obtain this data before it's destroyed or taped over.
- Witnesses. Eyewitnesses to the wreck as well as the police officer on the scene should be interviewed soon after your wreck before witnesses move or their memories of what happened fade.
You cannot conduct the investigation necessary to proving your claim without the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney. Attorney Alan Morton has over 30 years of experience handling these cases, and has a track record of success in negotiating settlements for his clients. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation to learn about your legal options.