Nothing is more horrific than being involved in a semi-truck accident. These collisions are rarely minor and often leave victims with serious injuries that last for years, if not the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, getting compensation for these injuries is not easy, as the victims must clearly prove that a negligent truck driver or shipping company caused their trauma. To successfully recover compensation, the victim will need to collect strong evidence through a truck accident investigation. This may involve dealing with multiple parties that have conflicting interests, which is why victims should contact an attorney who will fight for their best interests.
Who Investigates Truck Accidents?
When a semi-truck is involved in a collision, local, state, and federal agencies all have a hand in the crash investigation. If the collision occurred on a public street, local police officers or country sheriffs will be the first ones on the scene, while the Massachusetts State Police handle accidents on highways. These law enforcement officers will make sure everyone involved is safe or receives medical attention, before clearing the road and drafting up an initial report.
Beyond the police department, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), both of which oversee the trucking industry in Massachusetts, will investigate. During an investigation, these departments will look into the specifics of how the accident occurred and whether the driver or trucking company violated state or federal regulations.
These violations can include:
- The driver using a cell phone while operating a semi-truck
- The driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The company allowing a driver with a history of substance abuse to operate a vehicle
- The company hiring a driver with a history of traffic violations or a lack of experience
- The company encouraging a driver to speed or break the hours of service regulations
- The company failing to report an accident
- The driver or company overloading a truck
- The driver or company transporting hazardous material with proper certifications
- The driver or company failing to schedule regular maintenance on a vehicle
Truck crash investigations may take several months to complete, as various departments must review all evidence, technical reports, and witness statements.
Important Pieces of Evidence
Big rigs are powerful, complex machines that require a lot of care and maintenance to function properly. When a rig is involved in an accident, it may take a thorough investigation to determine what went wrong. While the majority of crashes are caused by trucker errors, such as intoxication, fatigue, or distraction, mechanical failures could also play a major factor. If a piece of equipment failed or the truck was overloaded, it may have made a collision inevitable.
In order to determine what caused a collision and who is ultimately responsible, the victim should review all possible pieces of evidence, such as:
- The driver’s records, backgrounds, licenses, certifications, and medical history
- The driver’s cell phone records
- The truck’s black-box data
- The truck’s log records, which include information on rest breaks and hours of service compliance
- Records from weigh stations and loading docks
- Cargo certifications for hazardous materials
- Maintenance records
- Vehicle parts
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Testimony from accident reconstructionists
- Videos and photos of the accident
What an Attorney Can Do for You
As these government agencies work through the scene and dig into the details of a truck accident, it is very easy for the needs and interests of the victims to fall by the wayside. Government investigators are focused on collecting data and holding trucking companies accountable when they violate state or federal regulations. As important as this is, it means getting compensation for accident victims is not their top priority.
Making matters worse, trucking companies will use any delay in an investigation to hide or destroy evidence. Their only priority is maximizing their profits, which means paying out as little as possible in fines and accident claims. If you try to file a claim on your own, they will likely diminish or deny your claim.
However, you do not have to take them on alone. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we believe that accident victims deserve full compensation after being injured by a negligent truck driver or company. If you bring your case to us, we can act fast to collect evidence, work closely with investigators, and put pressure on the trucking company to give you proper compensation.
To sit down with an experienced Boston truck accident attorney in a free consultation, call us at (617) 870-0907 today.