Why Early Investigation is Crucial in a Tractor-Trailer Crash

Garda-Truck-thumb-300x152-88167-300x152In addition to dozens of auto and truck crashes in the North Texas area this weekend, there were two fatal 18 wheeler accidents that tragically took the lives of four people.

On Friday afternoon in Benbrook a tractor-trailer collided with a pickup truck on I-20, tragically killing two people.

Then on Saturday night a second tractor-trailer crash occurred in Cleburne. The 1997 Peterbuilt commercial truck T-boned a Kia van at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67 at FM Road 1434, taking the lives of an East Texas woman and man.

It was an unusually busy weekend for the Texas Highway Patrol, local police and accident investigators.

Both roads were closed for hours while investigators determined what happened. Although the crashes are now cleared, leaving no trace of the tragedies that unfolded hours ago, investigators have a long way to go to find answers. It is not clear at this time who was at fault for these two crashes.

Trust me, the trucking companies and their insurance companies adjusters and lawyers are working equally hard. In addition to getting to the bottom of what happened, they are focused on lessening their financial damages.

Think about what the trucking corporations have at stake. Violations can add up to costly fines and repairs, not to mention increased insurance premiums, keeping trucks out of service and bad publicity. And because truck wrecks are often catastrophic, the insurance company may be on the hook for huge million dollar jury verdicts or settlements.

If you have been involved in a collision, you can see that it is a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can so you are on an equal playing field.

Within the First 48 Hours

The first few days after an accident are crucial. Police have a duty to hurry through the investigation to get the crash debris cleared and traffic moving again. As a result, evidence is also cleared away.

The crash scene itself holds important clues. What was the direction of travel at the time of impact? Exactly where was the point of impact? Were there obstructions to the motorist’s or the trucker’s line of sight? Was the road wet or potholed? Was any driver intoxicated? Were there eyewitnesses? Were there any cameras in the area that might have captured the wreck?

Although good investigators can answer some of these questions, something that might seem minor could be the smoking gun that might be easily missed and then inadvertently destroyed once the vehicles are towed away.

The trucking company also may be busy destroying evidence. Quick dismantling of the tractor-trailer prevents the plaintiff from inspecting the vehicle. Likewise, immediately repairing the semi is a seemingly innocent way to get rid of damaging evidence. That is why lawyers can file for an emergency injunction to preserve the truck until they have the opportunity to inspect it.

Another matter is destruction of relevant electronic evidence. For example, an email exchange between the trucker and his supervisor might show knowledge of the driver’s inadequate sleep or speeding to make an unrealistic deadline. GPS readings are vital. The lawyer can ask for an injunction if he suspects the corporation might delete relevant information or not retain valuable evidence.

Statements from the truck driver and other eyewitness accounts fill can tell the complete story. Memory, however, is fallible over time. The attorney should try to talk to witnesses as soon after the accident as possible while memories are fresh and untainted by intervening conversations.

Berenson Injury Law is ready to start an investigation of your truck accident immediately to preserve important evidence to reach justice in your case.

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