When a passenger vehicle is involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, it is rarely a minor fender bender. Due to the massive size and weight of the average commercial vehicle, truck accidents often cause significant property damage, severe injuries, and fatalities. In most cases, it is the occupants of the passenger vehicle that suffer the most devastating injuries.
If you suffered a catastrophic injury in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation. However, in order to reach a successful settlement outcome, you must be able to prove that the truck driver was at fault. This will require a thorough investigation into the details of the accident. It is highly recommended that you contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who can review police reports, photographs from the accident scene, and witness statements, as well as other valuable evidence.
In addition to causing more extensive property damage and severe, often fatal injuries, truck accidents are complicated. There are more factors to consider in a truck accident, including whether the truck driver was at fault or if the truck company, the maintenance company, or the loading company share liability. Ultimately, there are a range of factors that can cause a truck accident, which means that there is a great deal of evidence that must be collected and analyzed.
The following are examples of the types of evidence that can help prove that the truck driver or another party associated with the trucking industry was responsible for causing the accident.
When a serious truck accident occurs, police will arrive at the scene and generate an official accident report. You should request a copy of this document so that you can provide copies to your insurance company and your lawyer.
The state police often send a certified truck inspector to thoroughly examine the vehicle before the truck is removed from the accident scene. They will check the truck for any defects, worn tire treads, imbalanced or overloaded cargo, and any other malfunctions that could have caused the accident. Be sure to get a copy of this report as well.
Photographs of the Accident Scene
If you are able to safely move, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any other personal property, the position of your vehicle and the truck after the accident, debris or skid marks on the road, and any other evidence that can help prove fault. In addition, take pictures of your injuries, including cuts, lacerations, burns, and any other injuries you suffered due to the accident.
If there were witnesses who saw the accident happen, get the names and contact information of each witness. Ask if they would be willing to provide an official statement, either in writing or in a video testimonial.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Anytime a truck accident causes severe injuries or fatalities, the truck driver will be given a drug and alcohol test to determine whether they were impaired at the time of the accident. Alcohol, illegal substances, and even prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause fatigue, and reduced concentration and reaction time.
Truck drivers are required to follow federal hours of service regulations which limit the amount of hours they are allowed to drive and when they are required to take breaks. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) automatically record this information and send it to the carrier. If the truck driver violated the hours of service and caused the accident because they were drowsy driving, the truck driver will likely be held liable.
Evidence Requested by Your Lawyer in a Spoliation Letter
A spoliation letter is a document sent by the injured party asking that all evidence related to the accident be preserved. This may include inspection reports, weigh station reports, the truck drivers driving record, and dispatch instructions.
What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are caused by a number of factors, ranging from driver negligence to mechanical failure. When investigating a truck accident, the cause of the accident can help determine fault.
The following are examples of some of the most common causes of truck accidents that are associated with negligence.
Talking on the phone, reading or sending a text message, eating, and programming the navigation system are all examples of distracted driving behaviors. Unfortunately, if there are other vehicles in the vicinity when a truck driver becomes distracted, it can have devastating consequences due to the massive size and weight of the average commercial truck. Despite the fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) puts strict rules in place that prohibit truck drivers from using their cellphones while driving, they continue to engage in this dangerous behavior.
It goes without saying that it is extremely dangerous to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is considerably more dangerous when the drunk driver is behind the wheel of a large commercial truck. The legal blood alcohol limit for commercial truck drivers is 0.04 percent, which is significantly lower than the legal limit for all other drivers, which is 0.08 percent.
Drowsy driving is a common problem in the trucking industry. Even though truck drivers are required to follow the federal hours of service regulations, the tight delivery deadlines put a great deal of pressure on drivers to continue driving, even if they have exceeded the maximum number of hours behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, extreme drowsiness can cause the same impairments as drunk driving, including slower reaction time and reduced coordination. Many truck drivers also suffer from undiagnosed sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, which put them at an increased risk for causing a serious truck accident.
Speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, and changing lanes without signaling are all examples of aggressive driving. When a driver in a passenger vehicle is speeding or driving aggressively, it can cause a serious car accident. However, when a truck driver is engaging in any type of aggressive driving, the consequences can be catastrophic, particularly if the truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident.
Truck accidents are also caused by tire blowouts, brake failure, and other mechanical issues. For example, if the tire tread is worn, this can increase the risk of a tire blowout, which can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and cause a serious truck accident. If the brakes are not working properly, the truck driver may not be able to slow down or stop, particularly if they are driving down a steep hill.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that their vehicle is thoroughly inspected and that any necessary repairs are made before they get back on the road. A failure to do so can result in a devastating truck accident.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help My Case?
Truck companies often have a team of investigators and high-paid lawyers at their disposal. They will resort to a range of legal tactics to protect the trucking company and the driver from liability. Therefore, it is crucial that you have a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side. A lawyer will review the police report, examine all photographs and videos from the accident scene, read witness statements or conduct interviews, and collect medical records related to your injury.
If necessary, a dedicated lawyer will also hire an accident reconstructionist who will assess the scene of the accident and thoroughly examine all of the evidence to determine who caused the accident. These highly skilled detectives will measure skid marks, analyze grease stains, create sophisticated computer models, and use scientific data to create a more complete picture of the accident. The evidence collected by an accident reconstructionist can be extremely valuable to your claim.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Seek Justice for Clients Injured in Devastating Truck Accidents
Evidence is key to building a claim after a truck accident, and a lawyer can help you with collecting evidence. If you were seriously injured in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at ACTS Law. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online. With offices located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout Southern California.