How Post-Crash Investigations Can Affect Recovery of Damages in a Truck Liability Lawsuit
People who have been injured or who have lost loved ones in truck crashes should pay close attention to the results of subsequent investigations by state and federal agencies, local law enforcement and insurance companies. Investigators try to determine whether violations of truck safety regulations or other factors caused the crash. Their findings could indicate whether another party is potentially liable for the injuries or deaths.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) investigates operators of semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles that pose high safety risks. Post-crash Investigations of truck accidents usually focus on violations of truck safety regulations. Because the FMCSA regulates so many aspects of truck operations, the investigations can be complex and time-consuming.
In addition to the safety record of an individual truck, an accident investigation reviews the driver’s performance and the safety history of the trucking company. Truck accident investigators look at:
- CSA scores — The FMCSA assigns compliance, safety and accountability (CSA) scores to trucking companies, which help the agency identify high-risk trucking companies. The scores are based on roadside inspection data, crash reports, maintenance logs, registration information and results from previous investigations.
- Police and traffic reports — Reports from law enforcement can show whether the driver has a history of traffic violations, criminal convictions, license revocations or drug and alcohol use. A trucking company may be liable for an accident if it employed drivers with such records
- Maintenance records — Although maintenance and repair records are part of CSA scores, an investigator may find more details or identify anomalies by inspecting the originals.
- Accident reports from local law enforcement — Reports from police officers responding to the scene of a truck accident are part of any accident investigation.
- Photographs — Images of the accident, taken before road crews clear the scene, record the position of the vehicles, the condition of the roadway and the area surrounding the crash.
- Training and personnel records — These documents can show whether the trucking company provided adequate training or whether the driver had enough previous experience to operate a large truck safely.
Truck accident lawyers work with private investigators in preparing personal injury lawsuits in behalf of victims. In addition, professional accident reconstructionists can use photos, eyewitness reports and other data to recreate the accident, often with the aid of computer graphics. While not evidence, reconstructions can influence negotiations that lead to favorable settlements.
At Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC in Bridgeport, West Virginia, we work with accident investigators and reconstructionists to determine violations of truck safety regulations led to your accident. We are tireless in our efforts to win the full compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys, call us at 304-842-4300 or contact us online.