If you’ve been in any auto crash, it can be a trying experience, especially if you’ve experienced injuries. However, if your accident involved a commercial truck, the matter can be even more complex.
With a commercial truck accident, there are many more avenues to explore that can make a big difference in a personal injury case. Before a case is ultimately decided, there will be:
- A review of factual investigations
- A review of state and federal compliance
- A more extensive review of liability, beyond the truck driver
Factual Investigations for a Trucking Accident
Much like any auto accident, factual investigations after a commercial trucking accident involve making a police report, talking to people who may have seen the accident happen, and taking pictures of damage to any vehicles that were involved as well as the victim’s injuries. In an “ordinary” accident, the investigation often ends there. In a commercial trucking accident however, it rarely does.
Vehicles may be impounded and the contents of the trucks reviewed in order to reveal any limitations the driver may have had at the time of the accident, such as an unnecessary distraction, excess fatigue, or the use of drugs or alcohol. Even witness statements go beyond casual bystanders, and may include emergency personnel or tow truck drivers that are more likely to make note of “off the record” remarks. They may explore employment history, safety records, and tracking systems from GPS systems to a black box recorder and review past DOT audits.
There are several regulations that commercial truck drivers must follow on both the state and federal levels. When a truck originated in Mexico or Canada, there are even more rules imposed by the North America Free Trade Agreement. Investigations will be made into whether the driver and transportation company had proper licensing, and was keeping up with safety requirements.
While in some car accidents, some blame can be placed onto people and companies not directly involved in the accident, a more complex third party liability is more likely in a truck accident. In many cases, the transportation company may bear the brunt of the blame. Once responsibility has been established, other parties interested in the case will often make a point of declaring their rights to a portion of the settlement. For example, a hospital may take a stand to see that medical expenses are handled.
If you’ve been in a trucking accident, it’s important that your case gets the attention it deserves. A good personal injury attorney can double check the details and help you build a strong case.