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Semi-Truck And 18-Wheeler Accident Investigations

Updated on: 6/25/2020

Car accidents are traumatic no matter which way you look at it, but large commercial trucks - semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, and so on - pose an even greater danger to the general public. The size and weight disparity involved when a large truck crashes into a passenger vehicle often leads to catastrophic damage and serious bodily injury. 

When a trucking accident is caused by driver negligence, the resulting damages tend to be even more severe. High-speed trucking collisions are almost always avoidable or preventable, in which case it is important to determine which party involved may be held legally responsible. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, the award-winning legal staff at Davis Law Group is here to help you protect your legal rights. Our team of attorneys has decades of combined experience pursuing legal justice against negligent drivers and trucking companies, and can help you determine if legal action is appropriate in your situation. 

Truck Accidents Caused By Driver Negligence 

Negligence is an important legal principle to understand for any accident victim. All drivers have a duty to operate a vehicle safely and in a reasonable manner. The truth is that truck drivers are held to an even higher standard in this regard. For an attorney to prove a claim for negligence against a trucking company, it must be proven that the driver failed to meet, or breached, that standard of care. 

An attorney is also tasked with proving the defendant’s actions were the cause of the victim’s injuries and other damages. Due to the severity of typical trucking accidents, this is typically not the most difficult art of the case. Juries do not typically have a hard time making a logical connection between serious bodily injury and a high-impact collision with a large commercial truck. 

Multi-Layered Investigation Of A Trucking Accident

There are multiple layers to an investigation of any trucking accident. First, virtually all trucking companies have agreements with their insurers that require the presence of an investigator, insurance adjuster, or attorney at the scene within as little as one hour after the crash. Trucking companies - and more importantly, the insurers who have a significant financial stake in the outcome of any legal claim - are motivated to get their hands on critical evidence and other information as early as possible. 

An experienced trucking attorney will conduct their own investigation immediately after the accident occurs. Ideally, we would want to collect important evidence, witness statements, and reconstruct the scene as early as possible to avoid allowing evidence to spoil or the trucking company to be in control of the narrative. 

All trucking companies are legally mandated to hold an official record of any active driver working on behalf of the company, called a Driver Qualification File (DQF). This file is crucial in our truck accident investigations, as it contains important details about the driver’s history. Violations records, testing history & results, relevant certificates, and even detailed personnel history are typically available in a DQF and allows for an even more thorough investigation into the accident and contributing factors. 

Other important aspects of a qualified lawyer's trucking accident investigation include: 

  • Toxicology results; 
  • Information collected by the truck’s black box;
  • Photographic evidence taken from the scene;
  • Reconstructing the scene via 3D modeling; 
  • Interviewing witnesses, including responding police officers;
  • Consulting with expert witnesses and medical experts;
  • Examine and inspect all vehicles involved in the collision. 

Determining Liability In Trucking Accidents

When a trucking accident occurs, it is important to identify all possible contributing factors because that can also determine which party or parties may be held liable. Other parties besides just the driver of a truck may be found to be responsible, and in many cases the individual driver who happened to be behind the wheel may not even bear much responsibility. 

The entire trucking industry is subject to a number of regulations that could play a role in determining liability. If the truck driver’s negligence is the sole cause of the accident, then it is likely that at least the driver and trucking company could be held liable. But if the driver was improperly trained or was not under adequate supervision, or if the vehicle was not properly maintained or inspected, there are a number of additional parties which may be held liable. 

Trucking companies are notorious for taking extreme measures to avoid liability or shift the blame to the innocent victims who have suffered after a serious crash. The attorneys at Davis Law Group are prepared for the many defenses trucking companies may use to shield themselves from liability, and our team has decades of success in holding trucking companies accountable. 

Call Davis Law Group For A Free Consultation

Our experienced team of attorneys and legal staff have delivered excellent results for our clients for nearly 30 years. We have the expertise, confidence, and knowledge necessary to properly investigate and win serious trucking accident cases. 

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients owe no attorney fees until we have successfully recovered financial compensation on their behalf. We also offer a free legal consultation to accident victims who wish to learn more about their legal rights and options after a life-changing accident.

Call attorney Chris Davis and the trucking accident legal team at Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 or contact us online today. 

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