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What to Know About Investigation of a Semi Truck Crash

Truck crash investigation


After a serious accident involving a big rig, especially one that involves very bad injuries or a fatality, the crash will be investigated by authorities. Often the police or DPS will conduct an extensive look into how the crash occurred and who may be a fault. But, relying upon the authorities to do everything to protect your interests if you are the victim or family of the deceased is a mistake.

 Police Investigations May Not Be Enough

For serious accidents, the police usually will investigate to determine their opinion as to the cause of the crash. They also may look at the big rig and driver to inquire whether there are violations such as speeding, mechanical problems with the truck, or hours of service violations by the truck driver. However, whether the investigation is thorough depends upon the severity of the crash and the injury sustained. In almost every truck accident case, an attorney should be hired early to protect the claims for the injured or the family who lost a loved one.

Not all Evidence is Contained in the Crash Report

While the DOT of local authorities may complete a crash report, the report is never the whole story. Vital evidence may be omitted. Consider the crash report a starting point in investigations of a commercial vehicle injury accident.

The location of the crash also plays a part in who may or may not investigate and/or reconstruct the accident. Dependent upon the method and methodology of the investigating authorities who did the crash report, the report in its entirety may or may not be admissible at trial. Here is where to get your crash report!

Experienced Lawyers Know What to Get

Severe injury accidents should be thoroughly investigated as quickly as possible. Vital evidence can and will disappear if not documented shortly after the crash. Here is a shortlist of information that may be important for your case.

  • A scene survey
  • Identities of all witnesses
  • Investigation as to possible video evidence
  • If a truck malfunction is suspected, an inspection of the big rig
  • The hours of service for the driver as reflected in the logbooks
  • The truck driver driving record and employee file
  • Training the truck driver received
  • The event data recorder information from the semi-truck

Trucking companies have recently started trying to place the rig back in service as soon as possible, depriving the victim of the inspection of the tractor-trailer. If you have been injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler, do not delay. Get competent help right away.

Insurance Companies Have a Head Start

Insurance companies regularly send out independent investigators to the scene of an accident to determine potential defenses in the event of a lawsuit. These investigators are looking for any means of defending a case and suggesting that someone else other than the truck driver may be at fault for the crash.

Often, insurance companies and trucking companies have in-house investigators who can make it to the scene of a crash before the vehicles have even been moved. Or attorneys on retainer. The importance of documenting the scene, including resting positions, skid marks, gouge marks, and debris, cannot be overstated. If you do not have your team looking for evidence, you will be at a disadvantage later.

Surveys Will be Done Digitally

Recent technological advances enable digital renderings to be easily done with a minimum amount of work. Accordingly, more officers are using digital measurements to include their opinions. But there is much more to your story of how the crash occurred, to be told.

Unless a victim or the family’s representative has been able to obtain experienced and reputable representation after the crash, the family may be disadvantaged by a delay in the investigation after the accident. Many trucking companies are now pushing to attempt to repair or “total” the big rig very quickly after the accident. That may impact whether the family can have access to the vehicle and is one reason hiring counsel quickly is so important.

In almost every big truck accident case, the motor carrier will hire an expert who reconstructs or reenacts the crash and suggest that someone other than the truck driver has responsibility for the accident. That will be given. Expect the defense to deny the case, even if the police fault, and ticket the truck driver.

Although expert witnesses are supposed to be impartial and give a fair determination of the cause of the crash, the insurance company would not hire someone who is not going to advocate for their position. Families are often shocked when they learn the trucking company denies liability for a clear liability crash. It’s what they do!

What Computer Data Can Tell

Computer data from the big rig is very important to establish such things as speed, braking, and gear at the time or near the accident. Most rigs now contain black boxes or computer data that can be downloaded to help establish facts that the expert for the trucking company may otherwise dispute. It is critically important that the plaintiff has access to that material before it gets away. Looking at finding the best truck accident lawyer is your first step.

Things an Inspection Can Reveal

Another component of importance in the investigation of a serious injury truck accident is a vehicle inspection. Not only will photographs be taken and vehicle damage documented, but also the vehicle’s individual components, such as brakes, tires, and other maintenance issues, will be investigated along with the driver’s paperwork, including the driver’s daily vehicle inspection reports indicating problems with the truck.

Why You Need to Find the Best Attorney

Families who’ve lost a loved one would be well advised to research the attorneys we are considering retaining after an accident. Cases involving motor carriers and professional truck drivers involve many different issues than any bread-and-butter car accident. Here is how to find the best truck accident lawyer. The importance of hiring an experienced and successful truck accident attorney cannot be overstated.

Get a Consultation from a Top-Rated Truck Accident Law Firm

If you’ve been in a very serious truck accident and would like to speak with the leading truck accident lawyer in Texas regarding your rights and options, call us toll-free for a no-obligation consultation and get our quick response team started.

1 (866) 758-4529


Related Posts:

Event Data Recorders and Accidents

Black Box Data After a Truck Wreck

The Importance of Truck Crash Investigations

What are the Essential Elements of a Truck Accident Investigation?

What You Need to Know About Investigating an 18-Wheeler Accident in Texas

What is a Truck Crash Investigation?


About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.