When the team of attorneys and legal staff at Davis Law Group, P.S. is hired to represent the victim of a serious trucking accident, there are several things that may be done to investigate the cause of the collision and to make sure that important evidence is collected and/or preserved.
It is extremely important that the investigation of a serious accident occur immediately, or as soon as is possible. The investigation must also be thorough. A timely and thorough investigation can substantially increase the odds of a successful outcome. It can also result in a much more valuable claim, literally increasing the value of a claim by tens of thousands of dollars, or in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There is no “standard” investigation because every case will be unique. However, we will investigate several areas connected with the claim that could prove impactful. These areas and specific tasks are detailed as follows:
It’s important to collect or preserve any evidence at the collision scene. Sometimes it may be prudent to visit the scene. Sometimes not. But here are certain things we may want to obtain, record, or preserve at the scene of a collision:
People who may have seen what happened are always important. Sometimes it may be necessary to visit nearby businesses or homes to see if there were any people that may have seen something, but whose identity may not be known to police. We usually perform one or more of these tasks:
Almost always we will contact the various law enforcement agencies that were responsible for responding to the collision and performing investigation at the scene. We will usually will want to obtain one or more of the following:
One of the first things we will do is contact the defendant driver and the trucking company involved, as well as their insurers, to make sure that they preserve any evidence that may be relevant. The Department of Transportation mandates that certain evidence only be preserved for six months. So sending out notice that a longer preservation time is necessary can pay huge dividends in the case several months or even years later. These “preservation letters” will usually ask that the responsible parties and/or their attorneys and insurers take reasonable steps to preserve certain types of evidence, including:
We will also perform as much investigation as possible into the trucking company and the driver involved in the collision. Some of the information can be obtained pre-suit, but others usually must come after a lawsuit is filed because of the subpoena power that litigation provides. This information will include:
When we investigate trucking accidents, it is often critical that we contact and retain appropriate experts to help us with the case. Often there will be few qualified experts in a particular field so it will be important to contact or hire the expert first before the trucking company and its lawyers do. Having the best expert in a critical field that is relevant to the case can also substantially increase the chances of a much more favorable outcome in the case. Here are some of the types of experts that we may want to retain in a serious truck accident:
As you can see, there is a lot to do when it comes to the investigation of a serious trucking accident. Usually, time is of the essence in these types of accidents because you are likely to encounter a very quick, responsive and aggressive investigation from the trucking company and its experts and lawyers. Sometimes, the success of a case may depend on the timeliness of the investigation. When months or years go by without the victim performing his or her own investigation, it can result in the loss or destruction of evidence and hence lower the chance of a positive outcome in the case.
Whenever the claim involves serious or life-changing injuries or death, that means the trucking company and its insurance company face the increased chance of having to pay out a much larger settlement or jury verdict. This means that when there is a potentially large damage claim at stake, the company and its insurer will usually mount a much more aggressive investigation to mitigate or lower its potential exposure of having to pay out a large sum of money to the victim or the victim’s surviving family members. In these types of cases, it is then even more important that the victim or surviving family members retain experienced counsel as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one has questions about the legal process after a serious trucking accident, call the attorneys at Davis Law Group today to request a free consultation with our team. We will help you better understand your legal rights and determine if hiring an attorney may be in your best interests.
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The Washington Accident Books™ is a collection of books, reports, and other materials designed to educate the public about the nature of accidents and the legal rights of injury victims. The Washington Accident Books™ were created as a public service for Washington state residents and is sponsored by award-winning author and attorney Chris Davis of Davis Law Group, P.S.
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