How Truck Accidents are Investigated
Following any type of auto accident, there is a great deal of work to be done in order to determine who was at fault and who can be held liable for damages suffered by victims. In auto accident cases, investigations may sometimes be straightforward, and a matter of highlighting how a driver failed to uphold their legal obligation to drive safely. In others, including those involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers, the process of investigating wrecks, determining fault and liability, and battling large corporations that do all they can to dispute claims can be a challenging endeavor.
With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, Wes Pittman has advocated for many victims and families who suffered harm as the result of preventable truck accidents. Because these cases often involve more serious injuries, and because they can be complex, it becomes critically important to work with an attorney like Mr. Pittman, as an effective case demands experience, resources, and the ability to ensure insurance and trucking companies fairly compensate victims.
At The Pittman Firm, P.A., we make ourselves available 24/7 to help victims in need. Not only does this ensure that they can obtain the support, counsel, and medical treatment they need during their legal journeys, but also that investigations can be immediately conducted. Wes Pittman understands the importance of a thorough and timely investigation following truck accidents, and leverages his insight and firm resources to make sure they are performed diligently.
Truck accident investigations will vary from case to case, depending on the facts at issue. Generally, however, these investigations will focus on several important issues:
- Trucking Regulations – Because commercial trucks pose substantial risks to public safety, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. Unfortunately, trucking companies who want to maximize their profits may take short cuts or not always abide by these rules. This is why an investigation needs to involve exploration into whether any safety violations occurred. These can include violations of Hours-of-Safety rules designed to ensure tired drivers stay off the road, vehicle maintenance regulations, cargo securement regulations, and more. Having handled many truck wreck cases throughout the years, Wes Pittman knows the many Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations in place, as well as common violations that lead to wrecks. By highlighting violations and establishing that they more likely than not caused an accident, victims have a strong opportunity for securing full and fair recoveries.
- Trucking Companies – Trucking companies are ultimately responsible for their vehicles, drivers, and the safety of the public with whom they share the roads. It becomes important to investigate the trucking company involved in the wreck to determine if they were properly licensed and in compliance with the law. Evidence of previous wrecks involving the same issue as the new accident, multiple accidents, or a history of citations for violations can help provide direction in an investigation, and shed light on whether trucking company negligence was habitual and likely an underlying cause for a crash.
- Truck Drivers – Truck drivers also have a responsibility to abide by the law, safety regulations, and stiff standards that other drivers would normally not. Aside from investigating whether driver error played a role, it is also important to look at the drivers themselves, their employment history and driving record, physical exams and drug and alcohol screening, training, and licensing. Records of poor driving history or other questionable issues call into question whether a driver was truly fit to operate a commercial vehicle, and whether they were negligently hired or retained by a trucking company. This type of information can be obtained through DQF file, which an attorney can compel a trucking company into providing for the investigation, among other avenues.
- What Happened at the Scene – Piecing together what transpired at the scene of an accident is a crucial part of the investigation that requires a comprehensive review of many different matters. This includes reviewing driver and witness statements, police reports, video footage if available, electronic on-board recorders, property damage to vehicles, and more. In cases where fault and liability are being disputed, an attorney can also work with experts, including accident reconstruction experts, to gain a better understanding of what happened during the crash and how it may have been caused. Further, attorneys can work to interview involved parties or conduct depositions.
It is important to remember that trucking companies and their commercial insurance providers are typically large companies with substantial assets at their disposal. They use these assets to dispute claims from victims and to pay them as little as possible so as to protect their bottom line. Following a crash, trucking and insurance companies work immediately to conduct their own investigations, which is why it should be a top priority for victims to reach out to an attorney as soon as they can in order to conduct their own.
Having secured millions of dollars in compensation for clients, including truck accident victims, Wes Pittman knows how to level the playing field between the average victim and powerful corporations that place profits over people. In addition, he devotes the necessary time and effort to conduct investigations and build a clear and convincing case that can help victim secure the compensation they rightfully deserve.We encourage you to contact us to discuss a recent truck accident as soon as possible. The Pittman Firm, P.A. serves clients throughout Florida, offers FREE consultation, and is available 24/7.