Most severe injury and wrongful death cases involving an 18-wheeler are investigated at the scene by the Highway Patrol or other police officers and insurance companies for the truck driver and trucking company.
Typically, hundreds of photographs are taken; the scene is surveyed digitally to show essential pieces of evidence such as skid marks and points of impact. In some instances, the governmental officials “reconstruct” or reenact the crash. Usually, officials will do the formal reenactment if there is a death or death is likely.
The insurance defense lawyer will usually hire an accident reconstructionist to defend the claim.
What is an Accident Reconstruction?
A formal accident reconstruction uses evidence to show how the crash occurred and who may be at fault. That evidence can be skid marks, speed calculations, braking, steering input, seatbelt use, etc.
A party will hire an expert to piece together the crash and testify about causation and fault.
Some defense experts are notorious for finding fault on everyone but those insured by the company paying their bills.
The insurance companies for the truck driver always try to shift responsibility to others, primarily the victim of the accident. They rely on the hired gun, their accident reconstructionist who places fault on others. On the ground, evidence, such as braking, yaw, or skid marks and marks showing the point of impact, can be crucial.
Why the Injury Victim Needs to Hire a Lawyer
The victim’s family must secure an experienced trucking accident attorney (one with a long track record of success with truck accidents). And not just any attorney who wants to handle the case or claims to be a truck accident lawyer.
The earlier the family retains an experienced lawyer for a truck crash case, the better for the truck accident lawsuit. The lawyer who works for the victim will often hire an expert to reenact the accident and testify to educate the jury.
Get an Experienced Lawyer
Suppose an attorney cannot quote sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations by heart. In that case, you have the wrong lawyer for the case.
Many trucks now have GPS devices or “trip master” computers onboard that record information such as speed, braking, and hours of operation. The victim’s family needs an attorney who is knowledgeable about such matters. And one prepared to act quickly to preserve critical evidence. Choose an attorney who has a truck wreck quick response team ready to get to the crash scene.
Knowledge of Federal Regulations Necessary
Many times, issues such as the condition of the tractor-trailer, including brakes, loaded weight, and noncompliance with the safety regulations like hours of operation are fundamental in establishing responsibility for the accident.
Investigating 18-wheeler accidents should be handled by attorneys well versed in the regulation of trucks and drivers and experienced in reconstructing a crash.
A lawyer investigating an 18-wheeler accident where braking is an issue should have a thorough knowledge of the air brake systems of both tractor and trailer, proper slack adjuster settings, and be well versed in the application of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations applicable to brakes
Tickets Issued to a Driver are Not Usually Determinative of Liability
Most folks assume that because a ticket was issued, the matter of liability is settled. That is not the case; rarely do tickets come into evidence in wrongful death or severe injury cases.
Instead, gathering irrefutable facts from the scene as soon as possible is the proper course of action for defeating the insurance company’s blame-shifting defenses.
Is a Reenactment Required?
Not always. In many cases, liability is crystal clear.
An example would be a car stopped at a light and rear-ended by a big rig. The plaintiff may not need a reconstruction of that crash.
But, if other factors were present, like bad brakes or driving past the allowed hours, a leading law firm may hire an expert to explain the cause of the accident. And the negligence of the truck driver or their company.
Contact a Nationally Recognized Lawyer for Truck Accidents
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