Truck Accident Investigations in Texas
Determining Liability After a Serious Truck Accident
In a collision with an 80,000 pound 18-wheeler, passenger vehicle occupants are likely to suffer serious injuries. Securing full and fair compensation can be a critical element in a truck accident victim’s recovery and future. For that reason, it is critical that a truck accident is thoroughly investigated as soon as possible after it occurs. Our Texas trucking accident lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP have the knowledge, skills, and resources to investigate your truck accident, determine fault and liability, and secure and preserve evidence to support your claim.
Why Is It Important to Investigate a Truck Accident Quickly?
The importance of acting quickly to investigate a serious truck accident cannot be overstated. You need proof to establish negligence and liability in a truck accident case. The trucking company or its insurer is likely to have an investigator arrive at the scene with the purpose of minimizing the company’s liability. It is critical that evidence is gathered at the scene and elsewhere for a better chance of successfully pursuing your claim. A notice must be sent to the trucking company, detailing the evidence that must be preserved. If this is acted upon quickly, evidence to support your claim could be destroyed.
How Should a Truck Accident Be Investigated?
Without evidence, a claim can fall flat. If there is no proof of damages, injuries, or who was at fault, then a court has no reason to believe your claim and award you damages. That is why a thorough investigation is essential to the success of a truck accident claim. A good truck accident attorney will help the investigation, if not take it over themselves. However, it is still a good idea to have a basic understanding of what comprises a good investigation. Key steps involve:
Investigating the scene of the accident: This involves examining physical evidence, such as tire treads, and collecting information from witnesses.
Inspecting the truck: This can often be done at the scene of the crash. An examination of the truck may reveal evidence of impact damage, failed equipment, and other factors that may have contributed to the accident. Brake failure, tire failure, and problems with the engine or lighting system are common in large trucks.
Reviewing trucking company records: These records can provide a wealth of information about truck maintenance, equipment inspections, and the driver’s safety record and qualifications.
Conducting eyewitness interviews and depositions: It is important to interview and depose witnesses promptly, while the details of the accident are still fresh in their minds.
Obtaining data from the truck’s black box: The Electronic Control Module (ECM) integrated with the truck’s engine components that capture ongoing data regarding the truck’s operation is commonly known as the black box. It can provide invaluable evidence about the speed at which the truck was traveling, driver fatigue, and driver or trucking company negligence.
Investigating the driver: In addition to investigating the scene and the truck and taking statements from witnesses, it is also important to investigate the driver. A careful examination may show that the driver was fatigued at the time of the crash, received poor training, or has a poor driving record.
If the Truck Driver Caused the Crash, Can the Trucking Company Be Held Liable?
The truck driver whose negligence caused the accident may be liable for your injuries, but the trucking company that employed the driver may also be responsible. The trucking company may be found negligent because of unsafe hiring practices or hiring a driver who is unqualified or unfit to drive a commercial truck. Before hiring a truck driver, the company should examine the prospective employee’s driving record and require him or her to pass a drug and alcohol test. The trucking company should ensure that any driver it hires:
- Has a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Is able to operate an 18-wheeler safely
- Can pass a road test with safe driving techniques
- Knows how to use emergency equipment
- Can perform a proper pre-trip inspection
Why You Need a Lawyer
Without an experienced attorney by your side, you are at a great disadvantage in a truck accident case. Large trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers on their payroll whose job is to defend against truck accident claims. You need an experienced attorney with the skills and resources to build a strong case against the trucking company or other party liable for your injuries.
Our Texas trucking accident lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP are tough advocates for truck accident victims. We provide personal, client-centered services, and will travel to meet you if you are unable to come to us. Call us at (903) 212-2822 to schedule a free consultation if you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence.