Las Vegas Truck Accident Investigation
Commercial trucks are massive in size and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. As a result, accidents with these behemoth vehicles often have devastating consequences. Truck accident victims may face extensive recovery periods and life-altering injuries. The key to recovering compensation for the injuries you have suffered is to build a solid case from the very beginning.
One of the most important aspects of your truck accident is the investigation, which is vital in determining liability. You might be wondering, “What is involved in a Las Vegas truck accident investigation?” We explain this critical component of your case below. We understand the complexity of truck accident cases and are here to help. Contact THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys today for more information.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Las Vegas
Commercial trucking companies and truck drivers assume a lot of responsibility. Because of the potential harm that can be caused by a truck accident, truck drivers and trucking companies are expected to act with great care to prevent collisions.
There are other parties, as well, who are responsible for trucks’ safety on the road, such as the cargo loading companies who secure the cargo and the maintenance companies who inspect and repair the trucks. However, not all parties take their responsibilities seriously. Oftentimes it is their negligence that leads to a serious accident.
When determining liability for a truck accident, we may consider if any of the following common causes of truck accidents are to blame:
Truck drivers may be pressured to meet unrealistic deadlines or may drive too many hours because they get paid by the mile or the load. This may result in tired drivers behind the wheel who may fall asleep while driving or suffer from delayed reactions akin to impaired driving.
Truck drivers may also speed to try to meet unrealistic deadlines. However, speeding can make it more difficult to handle a truck. For example, a speeding truck will require more distance and time to come to a complete stop once a hazard is recognized. If a collision occurs, the truck will strike with more force, potentially causing serious injuries.
Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire qualified drivers and to investigate their backgrounds. If they do not meet these requirements, they may be liable for negligent hiring.
Trucking companies are also expected to provide adequate training to their drivers so they can safely operate their vehicles. If they fail to provide this, they may be held liable if inadequate training contributed to the accident.
Truck drivers may drive under the influence of alcohol, street drugs, prescription, or non-prescription drugs, putting other motorists at risk.
Some truck drivers take advantage of their larger vehicles and tailgate other vehicles, change lanes frequently without signaling, or engage in other aggressive driving behaviors.
Some truck accidents are caused when cargo shifts during transport or hazardous materials spill from a truck. These accidents are usually the result of improper loading.
Failing to Check Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have several blind spots to the side of their truck, in front of them, and behind them. These blind spots often extend several feet. Truck drivers who do not check these blind spots may collide with another vehicle.
Commercial trucks must be properly maintained to avoid vehicle malfunction that can cause an accident.
Why Police Reports Are Not Always Enough
While a police report may contain useful information to support your truck accident claim, it is usually not enough. Police officers are not trained investigators. They may not know what caused the accident or why. Additionally, they are primarily concerned with determining whether a crime has been committed. This may result in a cursory investigation only, as well as leaving critical evidence behind. In other situations, it may result in inaccurate findings.
It is important not to lull yourself into the belief that the accident report will be the only thing you need to prove your claim. It is critical to collect and preserve evidence as soon as possible.
Additionally, it may be difficult to use an accident or police report in court because of complex evidence rules.
What Goes into a Truck Accident Investigation?
A truck accident investigation may consist of many components, including the following:
Physical Investigation of the Accident Scene
The accident investigation begins with the physical inspection of the accident scene. This may involve the following:
- Talking to witnesses
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, skid marks, and property damage
- Looking for nearby cameras that may have captured the accident
- Looking for cargo that fell or spilled out
Accident reconstruction experts may be able to use objective evidence to reconstruct how the accident happened, including:
- Eyewitness statements
- Truck accident report forms
- Electronic data regarding the vehicles involved in the accident
- Skid marks
- Vehicle damage
Review of Digital Evidence
There may be various forms of digital evidence that may be critical in determining the factors that contributed to the accident. Commercial trucks often contain a digital recorder similar to the black box found on commercial airplanes that can provide helpful information about the following:
- The performance of the vehicle’s engine
- Engine RPMs
- Last application of braking
Additionally, GPS data can help identify where the truck was at different times. Electronic logs can show how long the driver was driving and whether they took necessary breaks.
A truck accident lawyer can ensure that you have access to this critical information by sending spoliation letters to the trucking company and other relevant parties that instruct them not to destroy or otherwise get rid of this crucial evidence.
Review of Accident Reports
In addition to reviewing the police report, there may be other truck accident reports. The trucking company may require the driver to complete a truck driver accident request form any time that there is a collision. Reviewing these reports and looking for inconsistencies can help uncover information about the factors that contributed to the accident.
Review of Employment Records
Employment records may highlight negligent hiring or inadequate training, so they should be thoroughly reviewed. Trucking companies must maintain a driver qualification file that contains information, such as:
- Driving records for the driver
- Accident history for the driver and the truck
- The driver’s employment history
- Road test results
- Results for drug and alcohol testing
- Training certificates
- Annual reviews
- Medical certification
- Service hour records
- Maintenance records for the truck
- Other personnel records
The criminal background check of the truck driver should also be reviewed.
What Evidence Should Be Collected?
An accident investigation should gather all relevant evidence that pertains to the collision, including:
- Electronically stored vehicle information
- Truck driver employment records
- Truck inspection reports
- Accident or police reports
- Alcohol and drug testing results
- Photographs or videos of the accident
- Medical records
- Employment records that demonstrate the victim’s lost earnings
- Records from the employer, such as training manuals, safety policies, and procedures
- Paper records that may indicate where the driver was or what they were doing, such as bills of lading, driving logs, fuel receipts, restaurant receipts, GPS data, cell phone data
How Experts Assist in a Truck Wreck Investigation
Experts can analyze evidence and draw conclusions about how the accident happened. They may be able to use accident reconstruction software to simulate the truck accident. Experts may be used to establish economic and non-economic losses in a case, which is often a difficult undertaking when extensive damages are involved. For example, medical experts can help to explain the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. Financial experts can help estimate the impact of the accident on your potential earning ability.
Experts may also provide critical testimony at trial to explain complex topics to the jury to help them make a decision in your case. We hire top-notch experts who are highly skilled and well-respected in their fields.
Why Should a Lawyer Investigate a Commercial Truck Accident?
A lawyer should investigate a commercial truck accident because truck accident cases are complex. Shortly after a truck accident, the trucking company’s representatives will descend upon the accident scene and begin conducting their own investigation with the objective to refute liability for the accident. A police investigation may be inadequate or inaccurate. Having your own investigation ensures that you can level the playing field and preserve critical information to establish your claim.
In addition, there are numerous parties that may be liable in a truck accident case. You can count on each one to try to shift liability onto someone else. This makes it imperative that you conduct your own accident investigation that can help demonstrate liability and the factors that contributed to the accident.
How Can THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys Help Me?
The truck accident attorneys from THE702FIRM Injury Attorneys can launch an investigation immediately after you retain our services. We will help preserve compelling evidence that is critical to proving your claim. We will help you stand up against the trucking company by completing a full, independent investigation.
We will fight for maximum compensation for your claim. Learn more about how we can help by calling us or contacting us online for your free case review.