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Getting Compensation for Commercial Truck Accidents

April 23, 2018

Due to their large size, semi-trucks can potentially wreak havoc on the road if an accident occurs. As the size of other automobiles is comparatively small, the consequences of a semi-truck accident may be deadly for those involved. Special care should be practiced, whether you’re the truck driver or a fellow motorist driving near the truck.

Commercial trucks are usually carrying heavy cargo. This cargo is often flammable or hazardous materials. It is the responsibility of the shipper and the truck company to properly label the cargo so that pedestrians and other motorists can take necessary precautions. It is the legal responsibility of the truck driver and the trucking company to show reasonable care towards pedestrians and fellow drivers. The driver should take special care, particularly on sharp turns. While truck accidents are a relatively rare occurrence, trucking companies are always prepared to defend themselves in case of any mishaps.

If you have recently been in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may be able to obtain compensation if you can prove negligence on part of the driver or trucking company. As with any personal injury claim, you may get compensation for property damage, medical expenses and lost wages.

If you or someone you know has been in a commercial truck accident in Kentucky or Tennessee, you should review your case and consider all the possible options. Hiring a skilled auto accident attorney from the Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart might help you in recovering compensation for the ordeal you have experienced. The attorney will oversee your case and work for your best interest.

Call us at (888) 782-9090 or online to get a free initial evaluation case.

Preserving evidence following a commercial truck accident

Do not step on or drive over any potential evidence at the crash site. This can be easier said than done when trying to move your vehicle to a safe spot on the road but you need to be mindful. Debris scattered all over the road could play a big role if the authorities need to reconstruct the accident scene.

Never move any evidence willingly. If you see the debris on the ground, leave it where it landed. This can help police officers reconstruct the crash scene and document all of it. Try to snap some pictures of loose evidence as soon as possible in the event passing cars scatter the pieces further from the scene.

Be mindful of any blood on the roadway. Try not to walk in it for health reasons. Walking in it could also hamper any investigation that needs to be conducted by the police who responded.

Tell officers where you saw pieces of debris land during the accident. Also, tell Bowling Green officers if any evidence was moved by someone else or if a vehicle caused it to move. Show them where the evidence originally was located and give them any pictures you took of original locations.

How Police Investigate Commercial Truck Accidents

When there is an accident involving a semi-truck, and especially one that resulted in severe injuries or even death, it will be investigated by the police. The accident scene is sometimes reconstructed. The goal of the police investigation will be to determine if the accident involved any criminal activity and if any laws were broken.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations

The police may want to see a trucking company’s driver qualification file (DQF). Every trucking company is required by law to maintain one for each driver they employ. The DQF will contain the driver’s driving record and list any accidents involving the driver or their truck. It will also have a driver’s employment history. It also must contain the driver’s training certificates, results of road tests as well as drug and alcohol tests. Records of vehicle maintenance will be listed. The DQF will also have copies of a driver’s personnel records, medical certifications and more.

Investigating The Accident Site

The start of an accident investigation by the police will usually begin with an inspection of the accident site. Skid marks, gouge marks, and scrub marks will be noted and usually photographed. Measurements will be taken at the site to determine the point of impact as well as stopping position. They are usually determined with the use of electronic surveying equipment. This equipment is able to be used in the creation of a computer-generated diagram made to scale of the accident.

Electronic On-Board Recorder

When conducting a criminal investigation, the police will want to get information from a truck’s electronic on-board recorder (EOBR). This is often referred to as a truck’s black box. It can provide crucial information when it comes to determining how the truck was being driven before and at the time of the accident. It is designed to store this information so police and others can have access to such data.

Truck Examination

Another important aspect of investigating an accident is a thorough examination of the semi-truck. Its mechanical condition, as well as any damage, can show how an accident occurred. Police will want to know about any repairs done on the truck prior to the accident. The mechanical components of the vehicles such as tires, suspension, lights, brakes, fuel lines and more will be carefully analyzed. The condition of any of these components could play a major role in causing an accident.

Accident Eyewitnesses

The police will want to speak with any accident eyewitnesses. They will ask these individuals to provide as many details as possible about what they witnessed. Questions such as if the driver seemed to be fatigued or intoxicated, the truck’s driving behavior right before the accident and more could be asked. Police will want to know if an eyewitness heard breaks screeching or what the drivers said to one another after the accident and more.

Accident Reconstruction

If the police believe that criminal activity has taken place, they will use their information to provide an accident reconstruction. This is a way physics is used to determine the speed of the semi-truck, and other vehicles, as well as their positions during the events of the accident. An accident reconstruction will show such things as impact directions before and after the accident. The point of impact, surface friction values and more are able to be determined to show what occurred during the accident