The trucking industry reports billions of dollars in revenue every year. While big motor carriers continue to post impressive profits, thousands of Americans are seriously or fatally injured in large truck accidents every year. Unfortunately for crash victims, trucking companies have considerable resources they can use to deny injured victims the compensation they deserve.
Big trucking companies and their insurers use aggressive tactics to minimize their responsibility after a tractor-trailer accident. One of the best ways to fight back is by conducting a thorough truck accident investigation. That’s where Christensen Law can help.
Our legal team has more than 30 years of experience investigating truck accidents and protecting the rights of injured victims in Detroit and throughout Michigan. We know the stakes are high when it comes to truck accident cases, and we leave no stone unturned when uncovering evidence to support our clients’ claims.
Call or contact us today to discuss your case with a proven Detroit truck accident attorney. Your first consultation is free.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Detroit
Determining the cause of a Detroit truck accident can be complicated. There are often several contributing factors.
Common causes of truck accidents in Detroit include:
- Distracted driving: Operating a truck requires a driver’s full attention. Truck drivers who text, chat on the phone, eat, watch videos, or operate in-cab controls can be held accountable if their inattention causes a distracted driving truck accident.
- Speeding and aggressive driving: When truck drivers exceed posted speed limits or drive recklessly, they may not leave themselves enough time to slow or stop safely. Truckers who tailgate or swerve between lanes may cause dangerous rear-end or sideswipe collisions.
- Driver error or inexperience: If truck drivers are unqualified or simply inexperienced, they may not recognize when they should yield, slow down, or increase following distances to avoid devastating accidents.
- Drowsy driving: Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road in relative isolation, which can lead to drowsiness and boredom. Truck drivers who are too fatigued can drift into neighboring lanes of traffic and cause sideswipe, rear-end, or head-on collisions.
- Driving under the influence: Truckers who get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not making safe decisions. Impaired drivers don’t have the ability to make accurate judgments, assess traffic scenarios rationally, or stay alert on the road.
- Negligent truck owners or trucking companies: If owners fail to conduct proper, regular truck maintenance, defective or malfunctioning truck components sometimes lead to accidents. Similarly, trucking companies who impose unrealistic scheduling demands or hire untrained drivers may be vicariously responsible for the failures of their employees.
- Improper cargo loading: If cargo loading teams overload trailers or fail to properly secure cargo, they may be responsible for truck accidents. Shifting cargo can sometimes force a truck off-balance or even burst out of the back end of a trailer, potentially causing tire blowouts, truck rollovers, or cargo spills.
How Are Truck Accident Investigations Conducted?
Police officers, lawyers, and insurance adjusters conduct investigations to establish the most likely causes and effects of truck accidents. Investigators seek to determine the contributing factors that led to a crash and who should be held responsible for its aftermath. Investigations typically explore:
- Evidence from the accident scene: Photos and video footage from the accident, documentation of injuries, and the condition of vehicles involved in the collision can be important evidence. Investigators also typically interview any witnesses for credible, third-party accounts of the crash.
- Truck driver and trucking company records: Investigators may examine drivers’ compliance records, GPS data, and even cell phone records to learn more about their behavior. They may also examine the trucking company’s safety history and hiring practices to determine whether the driver’s employer may be responsible.
- Black box recordings and other electronic data: Many modern commercial trucks have “black boxes,” in-cab cameras, and other electronic logging devices to record data that can be valuable in an investigation. Investigators sometimes use information about a truck driver’s pre-crash speed, acceleration, steering, or braking to draw conclusions.
- Expert witness testimony: Doctors, toxicologists, accident reconstruction professionals, financial planners, and other specialists can help tell the story of the accident and how it has impacted a victim’s life.
What Evidence is Collected During an Investigation?
Depending on the nature of a Detroit truck accident, there may be several items of evidence to help investigators determine what happened. Examples include:
- Police accident reports and toxicology test results
- Photos of skid marks, vehicle damage, and other aspects of the accident scene
- Video footage from in-cab truck cameras or nearby surveillance cameras
- Medical records from parties who were injured in the crash
- Statements from drivers, vehicle occupants, and eyewitnesses at the scene
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Truck driver hours-of-service logbooks, driving records, and qualifications
- Truck driver training, compliance, safety, and work histories
- Data from black boxes and electronic logging devices (ELDs)
- Trucking company schedules, quotas, and dispatch instructions
- Trucking company safety, compliance, and hiring records
- Truck driver or mechanic inspection, maintenance, and repair records
- Reports from truck weigh stations or loading docks
- Cargo manufacturing histories and loading manifests
A truck accident attorney will review and compile the evidence needed to build a strong and compelling claim against the at-fault party’s insurers.
How Experts Assist in a Trucking Investigation
Evidence has to be interpreted properly to be effective in a case, so expert witnesses are often brought in to assist. Qualified professionals employ specialized knowledge and experience to make connections between the facts presented by a truck accident investigation and the outcomes of the crash.
Investigators frequently work with one or more of the following types of expert witnesses to identify and evaluate supporting evidence in a truck accident claim:
- Medical experts: First responders, surgeons, physicians, and nurses can all provide important insights into the nature and severity of a crash victim’s injuries. Medical records can also sometimes be interpreted by professionals to determine how and why certain injuries occurred.
- Mental health experts: In some cases, accident victims may suffer short-or long-term psychological trauma. Mental health practitioners such as psychiatrists and psychologists can diagnose conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and explain how they may have been caused by the truck accident.
- Occupational experts: If you are unable to work because of your injuries, investigators may consult with occupational experts who can determine whether and when you can return to your job. They may conclude that your injuries are disabling enough to prevent you from holding meaningful employment again.
- Accident reconstruction experts: If there’s no reliable way to tell how a truck accident occurred or who should be held responsible, investigators may consult with accident reconstruction specialists. These professionals can use police reports, vehicle inspections, and other evidence to create a diagram of the events that led to the truck accident.
Why Should a Lawyer Investigate a Commercial Truck Accident?
People who are injured in Detroit truck accidents often suffer debilitating injuries. It is neither practical nor possible for a crash victim to conduct a comprehensive investigation while they’re healing. For that reason, it is best to work with a seasoned truck accident attorney who will know precisely what to do every step of the way.
Lawyers have the necessary experience to manage all of the complicated and time-consuming aspects of a truck accident investigation. They can:
- Get statements from other drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses to the crash
- Interview first responders, law enforcement officers, and medical professionals who provided emergency assistance
- Inspect, photograph, and evaluate vehicle damage
- Analyze environmental evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks, shattered glass, road debris, traffic signals, and more
- Photograph your injuries and request professional evaluations from licensed medical professionals
- Gather expert testimony to support your truck accident claim
- Evaluate information contained in accident reports, ambulance records, 911 calls, and trucking company records
- Demand access to the truck’s black box or ELD data
- File spoliation letters to prevent short-lived evidence such as blood samples, hairs, clothing fibers, fingerprints, and certain records from being destroyed
How Can Christensen Law Help Me?
At Christensen Law, we understand how important it is to collect full and fair compensation if you were hurt in a Michigan truck accident. You don’t have to go through the claims process alone. Let a Detroit truck accident lawyer at our firm investigate your case and fight for the justice you deserve.
Contact us today for your free, confidential consultation. You can schedule an appointment with one of our skilled truck accident attorneys at our Detroit office, located across the street from The Guardian Building.