How is Fault Determined in a Truck Accident?
When a truck driver acts negligently and causes an accident, they could be held liable for any injuries or damages that result. When pursuing a personal injury claim against a truck driver or a trucking company, a plaintiff must prove how the accident occurred and that the truck driver was at fault.
An important part of the job of our Philadelphia truck accident lawyers is to investigate an accident, gathering evidence to determine who or what caused the crash. Truck accidents present additional challenges because of the size of the vehicles and the carnage that is sometimes left behind. Additionally, there is often more than one party that could be held accountable, including the driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, or another driver.
An investigation into a truck accident should begin almost immediately after the crash occurred. Delays result in opportunities for vital evidence to disappear. You should not hesitate to contact our law offices if you have been involved in a serious truck accident. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to begin the process of determining fault.
Evidence Used to Determine Fault After a Truck Accident
If you want to be compensated after a truck accident, you will have to demonstrate that the truck driver or another party was to blame. Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys will turn to various types of evidence to prove how an accident occurred and determine who should be held liable.
Because most truck accidents are serious, a police report will be filed. The destructive nature of many commercial truck accidents will require law enforcement at the scene. A police officer will investigate the accident moments after it happened. They will draft a report that includes essential details, including the location of the accident, time, date, names of people involved, witnesses, and whether a citation was issued or an arrest made.
If a truck driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police have the ability to conduct field tests and document their opinions and results in the accident report. Similarly, if a truck driver violated a traffic law, such as speeding, ignoring a red light, or texting while driving, our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys could use the report as evidence in a personal injury claim.
Photographs and Videos of the Accident Scene
The old saying a “picture is worth a thousand words,” has staying power for a reason. Photographic evidence could be crucial in determining how a truck accident occurred. Pictures help accident reconstructionists piece together how the events unfolded. Photos of the damage, the position of the vehicles, and road conditions could be used to determine what party was at fault. Pictures of the inside of a truck cab could also provide evidence of negligent behaviors, such as bottles of alcohol or even food wrappers that could indicate the trucker was driving while distracted.
Many businesses and homeowners have cameras that could provide video documentation of the accident itself. One reason you should contact our Bucks County truck accident attorneys as soon as possible is to preserve such vital evidence. If you wait a few days, the video evidence could be erased.
A reliable witness could provide vital evidence in determining what caused a truck accident and who was at fault. Our office needs to take witness statements immediately following the crash while the events are still fresh in their minds. If possible, after an accident, you should gather the names and contact information of any witnesses. There is no guarantee that this information will appear in a police accident report, especially if the witness leaves the scene before the police arrive.
Black Box Data
When people think of black boxes, they usually think of airplanes. However, most newer commercial trucks come equipped with recording devices that monitor and track various truck metrics. The date recorded in the truck’s black box includes what actions the driver was taken moments before the crash, such as speeding up, braking, or driving erratically.
Commercial trucks are also typically equipped with electronic logs that show the hours and miles a driver has driven. Under federal law, this piece of equipment is mandatory. If a driver was on the road longer than they should have been, they could have been fatigued. A violation of any operating restrictions could help demonstrate that the truck driver was at fault.
Proving Another Party Was at Fault in a Truck Accident
As stated above, there are situations where another party could also be held liable for a truck accident. If another motorist cut off a large commercial truck, they could be held liable. Much of the same evidence used to prove a truck driver was at fault would be used to hold another driver accountable.
A trucking company could also be responsible for an accident. Our Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers will gather maintenance records to determine if the truck was properly maintained and inspected. Additionally, by examining a driver’s records, it could be determined whether a trucking company hired a dangerous or incompetent driver.
In other situations, the truck itself could have malfunctioned due to a design flaw or manufacturing defect. Part of our investigation will include examining the history of the particular model of truck to determine if any inherent or known flaws contributed to an accident.
Our Investigative Truck Accident Attorneys Work to Determine Who Caused a Crash
Prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit arising from a truck accident requires convincing evidence that the truck driver or another party was at fault. The attorneys and staff at the Reiff Law Firm have the resources and expertise to investigate these types of devastating accidents. Contact our experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys at (215) 709-6940.