Most serious injury and wrongful death cases involving an 18-wheeler are investigated at the scene by the Highway Patrol or other police officer and insurance company for the truck driver and trucking company.
Typically, hundreds of photographs are taken; the scene is surveyed digitally to show important pieces of evidence such as skid marks and vehicle parts.
The victim’s family very should secure a real truck accident attorney (one with a long track record of success with truck accidents) and not just an attorney who wants to handle the case or claims to be a truck accident lawyer.
The earlier the family retains a truck accident lawyer the better for the truck accident lawsuit.
Reconstruction is Reenactment
Some truck accidents are witnessed by many people and what happened is not in dispute. Other times, there will be video either on board the big rig or local video from businesses nearby. But the vast majority of serious injury or wrongful death truck wrecks involve a reconstruction of the accident by expert witnesses.
The saying “there are always two sides to the coin” applies to lawsuits involving truck wrecks. Folks usually assume that when the truck driver was ticketed liability is settled. Unfortunately, that is not how it works in Texas. Unless the investigating officers were qualified to reconstruct the accident and actually did so, their opinions are not admissible.
An accident reconstruction expert will use information gathered at the scene with computer aided reenactments and witness accounts and peace the accident scenario together for presentation to the judge with the jury.
Typically, the insurance defense lawyer will have an accident reconstruction whose opinions are always wasn’t the truck driver’s fault, even though the truck driver was ticketed for his conduct.
Hiring an attorney early after the crash gives the victim a better chance of fighting the insurance company’s attempt to shift the blame.
Get a Qualified Lawyer
If an attorney for a big rig collision cannot quote sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations by heart- you have the wrong person. Don’t just get a car accident lawyer!
Many trucks now have GPS devices or “trip master” computers onboard that important record information such as speed, braking, and hours of operation, and the victim’s family needs an attorney knowledgeable about such matters and prepared to act quickly to preserve important evidence and also one with a quick response team ready to get to the scene of the wreck.
Often, issues such as the condition of the tractor-trailer, including brakes, loaded weight and non-compliance with the safety regulations like hours of operation, are very important in establishing the proper responsibility for the accident. Investigation of 18-wheeler accidents should be handled by attorneys well versed in regulating trucks and drivers and experienced in the reconstruction of 18-wheeler accident cases.
A lawyer investigating an 18-wheeler accident where braking is an issue should know of the air brake systems of both tractor and trailer, proper slack adjuster settings, and be well versed in applying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations applicable to brakes.
On-the-ground evidence such a braking, yaw or skid marks and marks showing the point of impact can be very important as the insurance companies for the truck driver always try to shift responsibility to others, and primarily the victim for the accident.
Most folks assume that because a ticket was issued that the matter of liability is settled-that is not the case; seldom do tickets come in to evidence in a wrongful death case with an 18-wheeler. Usually, the jury does not hear the officer’s opinions on the cause of the crash.
Gathering irrefutable facts from the scene soon is the proper course of action for defeating the insurance company’s blame-shifting defenses.
Most of the time, the trucking company has the advantage time wise. While the victim is in the hospital, the team for the motor carrier is at the scene and working to create defenses to a claim.
Getting the best 18-wheeler accident law firm on your side must be a priority.
Call us for a no-obligation consultation- (281) 893-0760.