Truck Accident Investigations
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, your injury claims should be handled differently from regular car accidents. Truck accident investigations are far more complex and involve different individuals and entities – specifically, the party liable for a truck accident may not just be the driver, but also the trucking company, manufacturer of truck parts, or maintenance company. The liable party depends on the circumstances of the accident, which requires a thorough investigation and analysis.
Because of the specialized nature of truck accident investigations, you should consult an experienced truck accident attorney to help you with your claim. Bhatt Law Group has truck accident attorneys who have successfully pursued claims and helped people recover compensation for their injuries. Don’t hesitate to call us at (201) 798-8000 for a free initial consultation.
Truck ELD’s or “Black Boxes”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has begun requiring commercial truck companies to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record data when a truck is in service. ELDs act like a truck’s “black box” and can help experts recreate the circumstances around an accident. These ELDs can be an asset in truck accident investigations and help show what went wrong – whether it was driver error, a malfunction in the truck, or truck overloading that caused the accident.
Driver Qualification Files
The FMCSA also requires all trucking companies to maintain a Driver Qualification File (DQF) for all truck drivers in its employment. DQFs include information that is crucial in a truck accident investigation. This includes driving records, records of all accidents that the truck or the driver has been involved in, results of road tests, vehicle maintenance records, annual evaluation records, personnel records, information on hours of service for the truck, the driver’s employment history, and the results of any drug or alcohol testing. These records may provide valuable evidence to support a claim. For example, if the company failed to conduct proper maintenance of a truck, or failed to ensure that a driver was properly trained and did not have an established record of accidents, evidence may be in the DQF.
A truck accident investigation should also include an investigation of the scene of the accident and interviews of witnesses. Witness statements are crucial because they can help craft a narrative of the events that isn’t colored by a vested interest in the outcome of the case. They can provide evidence of the driving pattern of the truck driver (erratic or normal), road and weather conditions, and a visual account of the state of the drivers involved. The investigation should also examine the condition of the vehicles involved, the presence of any skid marks or oil or gas stains on the road, and any debris from the accident.
Contact a Jersey City Truck Accident Attorney Immediately
Trucking companies are adept at ensuring their investigators are at the scene of an accident right away because they know the value of evidence. If you’ve been in a truck accident, you should also seek the help of an attorney immediately who can help preserve relevant evidence for your case and ensure that there is a complete investigation.
Bhatt Law Group has truck accident attorneys with decades of combined experience in investigating truck accidents and filing successful claims on behalf of those who are injured. Call us at (201) 798-8000 so we can evaluate your case and help you decide what your next steps should be.