Lane departure truck accidents can be highly complex. They often require a thorough investigation from an experienced truck accident attorney to determine the root cause and identify the responsible party. Below, you’ll find the key areas an attorney may investigate when gathering evidence to support your case.
Initial crash scene investigation
The police will respond to the crash scene and create a detailed report. This report should contain citations issued, a crash diagram, photos, the number of parties involved, witness statements, and more. Your attorney can obtain a copy of the police report and use it to piece together a thorough investigation.
Your attorney can also investigate the crash scene. They can document any physical evidence, such as skid marks, debris, and damage to surrounding structures and objects. Since the stakes are so high in truck accidents, they may call upon a crash reconstruction specialist to further examine the crash scene.
Gathering data from various sources is crucial in understanding the circumstances leading to the truck accident. This may include:
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) data: ELDs record truck operation data, including the driver's hours of service, driving behavior, and vehicle diagnostics. An attorney can use ELD data to assess if the driver complied with federal regulations on driving hours and rest breaks.
- Black box data: The black box is similar to those found in airplanes. It records vehicle speed, braking patterns, and throttle position. Attorneys can extract black box data to reconstruct the crash.
- GPS data: Many commercial trucks are equipped with GPS tracking systems. These record the vehicle's location, speed, and route history. An attorney can use this data to establish the precise movements of the truck before, during, and after the crash. GPS data can help determine if the truck was speeding, deviating from its assigned route, or engaging in other negligent behavior.
Driver and vehicle examination
Your attorney can investigate both the driver and the vehicle involved. This process would involve:
- Reviewing driver qualifications: An attorney can assess the driver's qualifications, including their license, training, and experience.
- Analyzing driving history: They can investigate the driver's past driving records. This includes looking for any history of violations, accidents, or negligent behavior.
- Checking for fatigue or impairment: An attorney can determine if the driver was fatigued, impaired, or affected by any medical conditions that could have contributed to the crash.
- Gathering maintenance records: Your attorney can obtain records of the truck's maintenance, repairs, and inspections. This will help them determine if any mechanical issues caused or contributed to the crash.
- Inspecting the vehicle: They can physically examine the truck. They may look for any visible defects, faulty equipment, or inadequate safety measures.
Company compliance with regulations
If the trucking company failed to comply with state and federal regulations, it can be held accountable. Here’s what an attorney will look for:
- Driver qualifications: Your attorney can assess whether the trucking company properly screened and hired qualified drivers. They can verify that drivers possess the necessary licenses, proper training, and a clean driving history.
- Load securement: An attorney can examine if the trucking company ensured proper loading and securement of cargo in accordance with regulations.
- Drug and alcohol testing: An attorney can scrutinize the trucking company’s alcohol testing policies and records. If they don’t match up with federal standards, the trucking company can be found liable.