Do you feel like it's going to be impossible to prove that the truck driver who hit you--changing your life forever--was distracted at the time of the accident? Maybe you smelled alcohol on his/her breath at the scene, but no one seems to have followed up on your statement about that to the police. Was it possible the driver was fatigued or just not paying attention? If you've had any interactions with the trucking company's insurance lawyers, you know they are never going to admit the driver's responsibility. In fact, they may even point the finger at you and say that the accident was your fault. How do you get the evidence you're sure is there to prove the truck driver's liability? You hire an experienced truck accident attorney with a solid repertoire of investigative techniques.
You can't do it alone
Maybe you initially thought it was a good idea to bypass an attorney for your claim against the trucking company. After all, the case seemed cut and dry: The truck driver was undeniably to blame, and you deserve compensation for your injuries. However, insurance companies have an agenda: to keep as much of their policyholders' premiums as possible. They have no compassionate interest in making things right with you and have a team of attorneys on retainer that finds loopholes in their liability. You need to hire a truck accident attorney who is not only familiar with trucking company tactics but has a few up their sleeve as well.
Common investigative methods
Once you hire a lawyer, you gain tremendous advantage for your case. Most importantly, your attorney will communicate with the insurance company's lawyers so that you don't have to face them anymore. The lawyer you hire will also have a team of investigators that will gather the evidence needed to win your case. Some of the most common investigative methods used include:
Requesting a copy of the accident report from the police. This allows your attorney to know what the official account of the collision is based on the accounts you, the truck driver, and eyewitnesses gave to police at the scene.
Sending preservation of evidence letters. These official requests prevent the trucking company from destroying information that might be used to implicate the driver such as the driver log book, driver qualification files, inspection reports, and driving tickets.
Obtaining evidence from the truck's black box. This internal recording device is full of information the trucking company may not want your attorney to have, such as the truck's speed on impact, deceleration rate, wheel performance data, time before impact, and airbag deployment.
Hiring accident reconstruction engineers. As the name implies, these engineers look at all the available evidence (including skid marks, roadway conditions, vehicle debris, and black box data) and then analyze which factors contributed most significantly to the accident.
Interviewing witnesses. Although witnesses may have given initial statements to police at the scene of the crash, your attorney's investigators will go back and re-interview them. Sometimes details that end up proving a truck driver's liability for an accident get lost in the hectic side-of-the-road drama, never to be known unless there is a thorough follow-up. Witnesses are valuable because they are impartial and can testify in court. Judges and juries who hear testimony corroborating the paper data trail may be more likely to rule in your favor.
As you can see, trying to take on the trucking company's legal team on your own is likely to be unsuccessful. With an experienced attorney on your side and a professional investigative team tracking down the evidence that will prove your case, you stand a far better chance of winning your settlement. Don't settle for less--insist on the best.
Contact a law firm like Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC if you have specific questions about pursuing a case related to a truck accident.