The aftermath of a truck accident can be chaotic: wreckage littering the roadway, emergency vehicles blocking traffic, and people seeking on-site medical treatment from EMTs. If you don’t have the mental or physical capacity to collect evidence at the truck accident scene, no one can blame you — but the more evidence you can gather before leaving the scene, the better.
Investigating a truck accident scene with help from an experienced truck accident attorney can help you support your case. Truck companies conduct thorough investigations into accidents, but their goal may be to show that their driver was not at fault. If the truck driver caused your injuries, you want to have all the necessary evidence to show that the truck driver was at fault.
Conducting a Truck Accident Investigation Is Important for Your Case
Truck accidents involve several unique factors compared to normal car accidents. Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, and they often produce severe damage — even in seemingly minor accidents. Additionally, truck drivers typically work for larger trucking companies, and these companies have teams of attorneys, investigators, and adjusters at the ready to perform damage control.
Truck companies conduct thorough truck accident investigations to fully understand the circumstances that led to the accident. They gather as much evidence as possible and call in professional investigators to attempt to show that their driver was not at fault for the accident.
California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that all parties involved in an accident can be partially responsible — and trucking companies will do everything they can to pin at least partial blame on you.
You’ll need to hire an attorney to conduct your own truck accident investigation. Without legal help on your side, you’ll have a hard time standing up against the experienced investigators on the trucking company’s side.
What Does a Truck Accident Investigation Involve?
Investigating a truck accident scene involves painting a clear picture of the events leading up to the accident to show who was at fault. Your attorney will gather as much evidence as possible to paint this picture.
Preserving Evidence at the Accident Scene
Truck accident scenes contain valuable evidence, but as soon as you and the trucker leave the scene, much of that evidence disappears. Trucking companies send investigators to accident scenes quickly, but you probably weren’t quite as organized or prepared after your accident.
Your attorney will start the investigation by taking any possible measures to preserve the accident scene. This may include:
- Encouraging you to avoid vehicle repairs until after the investigation
- Requesting the evidence the trucking company investigators collected
- Traveling to the scene of the accident and taking videos and photos of any evidence still present
The faster you hire an attorney, the more evidence they can collect from the accident scene. Ideally, you would have taken photos and videos of the damage before leaving the scene, but you may not have known to or been physically able to do so. Rely on your attorney to preserve any remaining evidence before proceeding with the investigation.
Reviewing Video Footage
Security cameras and dashboard cameras abound in this modern age, and the chances are high that a video camera captured some or all of the accident. If you’re lucky, the trucking company may have even required its driver to have front and rear dashboard cameras.
Your attorney will spend time contacting businesses in the area and other drivers who may have caught the accident on their cameras. Reviewing the camera footage closely can help your attorney determine the exact cause of the accident.
If there is no camera footage available, they can use other evidence to paint the scene instead.
Speaking to Witnesses
If your truck accident happened on a busy Orange County road, at least one other driver or pedestrian likely witnessed it. Your truck accident attorney will track down any witnesses and ask them to recall the details of the accident. Written statements from witnesses can go a long way in supporting your innocence in the accident.
Reviewing the Police Report
Police reports can also come in handy while investigating a truck accident scene. The police who arrived at the scene likely created a report with extensive details about the accident, including information like:
- The time, date, and location of the accident
- The road conditions and lighting
- The contact information of all parties involved
- Statements from witnesses
- Any citations the officer issued
- An explanation of the accident
- Photos and diagrams detailing the collision
Reconstructing the Accident
Your attorney can use the police report and any other evidence they gather to work with an accident reconstruction professional and recreate the scene of the collision, providing further evidence to show the truck driver’s liability.
Reviewing Maintenance Records
Could a lack of truck maintenance have caused your accident? Your attorney will request the truck’s maintenance records as part of the investigation.
If the truck company failed to inspect and maintain the truck regularly, it could be liable for the malfunction that led to your accident. At the very least, a lack of maintenance may have contributed to the accident, placing at least some of the blame on the company.
The Risks of Not Conducting Your Own Investigation
You can expect the trucking company to thoroughly investigate the accident and try to pin the blame on you. If you decide not to conduct your own professional investigation of the truck accident scene with the help of an attorney, you risk:
- Losing valuable evidence you could use to support the truck driver’s liability and claim compensation during an insurance claim or lawsuit
- Being blamed for an accident that was not your fault, which can cause your insurance company to raise your premium
- Losing out on compensation that could cover your medical bills, time off work, vehicle damage, and other expenses
To avoid these issues and take the stress of your accident case off your shoulders, work with an experienced truck accident attorney in Orange County. Call Khalil Law Group today at 714-617-7870 to speak with an attorney about investigating a truck accident scene.