Steps Your Lawyer Will Take When Investigating Trucking Companies for Negligence After a Truck Accident


Far too often, truck accident crashes are caused by commercial truck drivers violating safety regulations or trucking companies prioritizing profits over compliance. And so if a trucking carrier’s reckless actions directly led to your life-altering crash, then holding them fully accountable is imperative. 

An experienced personal injury attorney can help with this. They can do this by launching a meticulous investigation to build an ironclad negligence case against the trucking company. 

Here is how they can help with investigating trucking companies for negligence, and how they can help you prove your case. 

Step 1: Identifying All Potentially Liable Parties

The first task is uncovering every entity that could share fault and provide financial compensation. 

Your attorney will:

  • Research truck ownership information by obtaining vehicle registration records and title documents. This reveals which trucking company actually owns the rig. Often smaller carriers will lease trucks from larger transport companies.
  • Retrieve the truck driver’s employment records by subpoenaing their personnel file, pay stubs, training certificates, and other credentials from their employer. This establishes direct responsibility.
  • Determine the insurance situation by acquiring relevant auto liability policies from involved parties and requesting declaration pages showing exact coverage limits. This identifies all potential sources for damages payment.
  • Assess the role of third parties by investigating any other entities that may have contributed negligence, like a cargo loading company that improperly distributed weight or secured the truck’s payload.

Step 2: Inspecting Physical Crash Evidence

Your lawyer will visit the accident scene in person to gather pivotal photographic and measurement evidence. They will:

  • Take drone video footage to capture terrain contours, lane markings, traffic controls, sight line obstacles, and other hazardous factors that could have caused or contributed to the collision.
  • Secure police reports containing officer investigative findings, eyewitness statements from passersby, and any admissions or remarks made by the truck driver about possible crash causes.
  • Obtain fire department and EMT records that provide additional scene details, speak to debris fields marking the collision sequence, and describe victim rescue particulars.
  • Collect surveillance camera video from nearby businesses that may have captured footage clearly displaying the crash itself or events leading up to it.
  • Engage specialty reconstruction firms to analyze vehicle damage patterns, skid mark lengths/shapes, and final rest positions. This scientifically recreates the collision sequence second by second to prove fault.

Step 3: Gathering Evidence on the Truck Driver

Your legal team will collect the documentation needed to prove the elements of negligence as far as the actions of the driver are concerned. 

This includes:

  • Driver qualification file with training certificates, license verification, employment history, safety awards, and any previous moving violations or collisions.
  • Personnel records showing performance reviews, compensation, discipline history, termination notices, and crash incident reports.
  • Telematics data from the truck’s Engine Control Module and Event Data Recorder which can reveal speeding, hard braking, swerving, hours of service, and other unsafe behaviors.
  • Log books handwritten by the driver detailing locations, rest breaks, fuel stops and more to ensure compliance with federal hours of service regulations limiting driving time without rest.
  • Prescription drug history from the driver’s doctors and pharmacies pointing to any substance use that could have impaired motor skills, attention, and reaction time.

Step 4: Collecting Safety Documentation from the Trucking Company

Your legal team will gather wide-ranging corporate records using subpoenas and formal discovery requests. These documents could help establish negligent business practices.

  • Vehicle inspection reports proving if any mechanical defects or maintenance issues contributed, like bald tires or faulty brakes.
  • Repair orders, work orders and parts invoices further indicating any lack of care in keeping trucks roadworthy.
  • Company safety manuals and policies related to hiring standards, onboarding procedures, training regimes, and retention guidelines. Any gaps demonstrate compliance failures.
  • Past lawsuits, violations and compliance audits showing a documented pattern of flouting state/federal commercial transport rules.
  • Driver qualification files for the entire fleet potentially exposing broader, systemic shortcomings in background checks, licensing reviews, skill evaluation, and oversight.
  • Executive memos or emails implicating directives that sacrifice safety for productivity, like overloading trucks or encouraging log book violations.

Step 5: Interviewing Eyewitnesses

Additional crash witnesses often emerge days later who did not originally give statements to police. An exhaustive canvassing effort around the accident scene can uncover more participants. 

To this end, your lawyer will:

  • Canvass neighborhoods around the crash site by going door-to-door asking residents/business owners for any eyewitness accounts.
  • Place public calls for details in local newspapers and social media community groups, which interested witnesses may respond to.
  • Conduct in-depth interviews to gather every possible recollection while the events are still fresh.
  • Obtain signed written statements from each witness attesting to their accounts.
  • Ask clarifying questions to fill gaps in sequence details or resolve any contradictory recollections different witnesses may have.

Step 6: Consulting Veteran Trucking Safety Experts

These specialty experts have decades investigating commercial vehicle incidents across the country. They can analyze evidence to identify key faults:

  • Review driver credentials to spot inadequate training, falsified logs, lack of skills testing, and undiagnosed medical/physical conditions.
  • Assess company records like inspection logs, telematics data, and personnel files for systemic safety failures.
  • Study scene terrain using drone footage, measurements and photographs to pinpoint hazardous route factors.
  • Recreate the collision using vehicle forensic analysis and skid mark calculations proving improper evasive actions, and speeding.
  • Produce a written report summarizing detailed opinions that assign clear liability and responsibility for the crash to the named parties.

Step 7: Meeting with Your Medical Team

Your physicians and therapists hold pivotal insights into how the truck collision has devastated your mental and physical health. 

Your attorney will collect their findings, including:

  • Diagnoses and prognosis for the traumatic injuries sustained, like spinal cord damage, amputation, burns, and head trauma.
  • Treatment plans and medication regimens detailing all emergency, surgical, therapeutic and ongoing care required.
  • Impairment ratings classifying permanent functionality losses assigning precise disability percentages.
  • Long-term effects such as brain damage, chronic pain, and reduced life expectancy.
  • Impact on quality of life like lost independence, inability to work, special equipment needs.

Step 8: Retaining Renowned Medical Experts

These specialists can provide court-admissible testimony on the necessity of treatments and the permanence of disabilities. Their opinions carry tremendous weight with insurance companies and juries.

Your lawyer will:

  • Have experts review medical records to confirm diagnoses and critique care plans.
  • Require evidence-based explanations on prognosis, future complications and lifespan impacts.
  • Ask for independent impairment ratings validating disability percentages calculated by your physicians.
  • Obtain written expert witness reports summarizing opinions on injuries, treatments, and outlook.

Step 9: Calculating Financial Losses

Documenting every dollar lost or spent due to the crash builds justification for maximum damages. Your lawyer will tabulate:

  • Past medical bills, including ambulance transport, ER, surgeries, ICU stay, medications, and therapies.
  • Future medical costs for treatments like prosthetics, long-term rehab, and live-in aides.
  • Lost income from missed work days immediately after the crash.
  • Loss of future earnings due to permanent disabilities that reduce earning capacity.
  • Incidental costs like medical equipment, modified vehicles, and house accessibility renovation.
  • Other hard damages such as property loss or destruction from the collision.

Step 10: Making Insurance Claims

Your attorney will engage insurers seeking coverage under applicable policies:

  • File injury claim with the truck driver’s auto liability carrier per his policy limits.
  • Demand damages payment from the trucking company’s commercial policy up to full coverage maximums.
  • Submit health insurance claim for reimbursement of medical expenses paid out.
  • Notify your own auto insurer to activate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if needed.

Step 11: Attempting Settlement Negotiations

Before resorting to a lawsuit, your lawyer will first attempt to reach a satisfactory out-of-court legal settlement by doing the following:

  • Sending demand letters to insurers summarizing case facts with evidence of clear liability and negligence.
  • Sharing expert opinions assigning fault to the driver and carrier.
  • Providing medical reports proving the extent of injuries and disabilities.
  • Submitting evidence of financial losses with documentation of costs, and lost income.
  • Demanding reasonable settlement amount benchmarked to case value and damages.
  • Negotiating the highest possible offer to avoid a lengthy court trial if agreeable enough.

Step 12: Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If insurers refuse to propose fair compensation for injuries or any other losses, then litigation becomes essential. 

Your attorney will:

  • Name liable parties like the driver, truck owner, and carrier as defendants.
  • Specify legal counts such as negligence, and negligence per se based on regulatory violations like hours of service infractions.
  • Outline liability arguments backed by expert witness opinions and physical evidence.
  • Describe injuries and impacts in graphic detail, providing photographs of trauma where applicable.
  • State exact damages demanded after tabulating every medical and financial loss.

Step 13: Going to Court Trial

If pre-trial settlement talks fail, your legal team will likely have the trial advocacy skills to prove negligence before a judge and jury. 

They will:

  • Deliver a persuasive opening statement outlining the key evidence that will demonstrate liability.
  • Conduct impactful direct examination of eyewitnesses and experts that compels jurors to find the defendants at fault.
  • Cross-examine the defendants seeking admissions or contradictions that damage their credibility.
  • Present evidence and injury images to maximize juror sympathy and outrage against callous acts by the trucking company.
  • Make an impassioned closing argument demanding maximum damages to fully compensate you.

Step 14: Enforcing Judgements

If jury awards are not readily paid after trial, additional legal actions can compel payment.

  • Record compensation lien on company property to guarantee later access if funds are not disbursed.
  • Garnish wages from driver and carrier executives’ earnings if ordered.
  • Seize assets like real estate, bank accounts, and fleet trucks to satisfy a judgment.

As you can see, building a strong truck injury claim requires systematic information gathering, legal coordination, financial analysis, insurance expertise, and acute strategic focus. 

But the outcome – rightful compensation for injuries and losses suffered – makes the effort worthwhile. With an experienced personal injury attorney leading a comprehensive investigation, you can focus energy on healing while they construct an ironclad negligence case against the trucking company responsible for life-changing damages.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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