The early investigation of an accident involving a tractor-trailer and an automobile is crucial to pursuing a successful claim for compensation. A number of important benefits are derived by initiating an early investigation of a tractor-trailer and automobile collision. All are vital for a lawyer handling your personal injury case.
One of the key pieces of evidence that can be accessed via an early accident investigation is access to what is known as the “record of duty.” A truck driver and a trucking company are only required to maintain a record of duty for up to six months, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The record of duty contains information that can be crucial to making a negligence claim against a tractor-trailer driver. For example, the record of duty includes a log of a driver’s route. It includes a list of all stops made during the course of a trip. With this information, a person making a claim arising from a commercial truck and automobile accident can determine if the big rig operator was speeding or cheating on the logbooks.
The log will also set forth how long a driver has been operating a tractor-trailer. A commercial truck driver is permitted to operate a tractor-trailer for a maximum of 11 hours, with 10 consecutive hours off duty between trips. The record of duty will demonstrate whether a big rig driver is in compliance with this regulation.
A prompt investigation of an accident can reveal evidence to support a tractor-trailer driver that was speeding or fatigued while operating a big rig. Speeding and fatigue represent two of the most common underlying causes of tractor-trailer accidents in Texas and across the United States. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer near Houston should be consulted promptly.
Many tractor-trailers are outfitted with what technically is known as electronic control modules, better known as a black box. It is crucial to obtain the data from the black box immediately after an accident.
Failure to do so can result in the black box being unavailable. In addition, if the truck is put back into service, the data on the black box can be overwritten. Losing the data on a black box can result in a person involved in a tractor-trailer accident lacking vital evidence in a claim.
An early investigation of a tractor-trailer accident by a quick response team ensures that the collision scene is documented properly. This includes videoing and photographing the scene. Properly documenting the accident scene also involves identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them. The evidence that can be derived from early and proper documentation of an accident scene can make the difference between a successful or a failed claim for compensation following an accident with a commercial truck.
Most major trucking companies and many of the insurance carriers for motor carriers maintain teams to respond quickly after an accident has been reported. Generally, the teams include an expert witness, an attorney, and representatives from the insurance company.
Our experience is that on the most serious of tractor-trailer accidents, the defense team is on-site within 24 hours. For many wrongful death cases, the defense team is securing important evidence within hours after learning of the crash.
It is important to choose the right attorney for your case. Spending a little time to research the attorneys track record in tractor-trailer crash cases and the makeup of their practice can greatly enhance your chances of a successful experience through the lawsuit.
Search for attorneys whose practice centers around truck accident litigation and avoid others who handle a myriad of business disputes and general litigation.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/federal-motor-carrier-safety-administration