Losing a loved one in a trucking accident is an unimaginably painful experience. The unexpected loss compounds your shock and grief, leaving you with a slew of unanswered questions. Following the intricacies of a truck accident investigation can be overwhelming during such a difficult time. However, you do not have to go through the process alone.
Unfortunately, trucking accidents are common in California, especially in Southern California and the Central Valley, which contain some of the heaviest transit corridors in the country, carrying goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. One yearly survey found that the state of California had the second-most deaths resulting from large truck crashes.
In this article, we delve into the crucial steps of truck accident investigations, the complex road to determining liability, and the pivotal role of having experienced legal representation in these types of cases. This post aims to be a guiding light through the often complicated and emotionally charged path of truck accident investigations – helping you get justice, closure, and redress for your pain, emotional suffering, and financial losses.
Determining Liability in Fatal Truck Accidents
Whoever is at fault for causing the car accident is also liable for the damages. In wrongful death cases, that includes the surviving family’s pain and suffering.
Determining liability in a truck accident is a complex task that often involves multiple parties – the trucking company, the truck driver, the owner of the truck, or even the manufacturer, maintenance provider, or cargo loader could potentially be responsible. That’s why a thorough and independent investigation is critical to determining liability.
For example, if a truck driver caused the accident by negligently driving under the influence of fatigue, both the driver and their employer may be liable. If the crash was caused by mechanical failure because of poor or delayed maintenance, the repair company or the manufacturer of the faulty part could be responsible. If a cargo imbalance caused the accident, a sub-contractor could be held liable.
Every trucking case is unique and the allocation of responsibility can be a complicated legal question. In some cases, multiple parties share varying levels of responsibility. To make matters worse, you can’t trust the trucking company or their insurance company to investigate the accident properly because they want to avoid liability whenever possible.
Whoever turns out to be responsible for the accident can be held accountable for the consequences, including financially compensating the victim’s family for their damages. Because the loss of a person’s life is so significant, the stakes can be extraordinarily high in these types of wrongful death cases – sometimes millions of dollars.
To get the justice you deserve, you need someone with experience whose number one priority is you. Someone who looks out for your best interests at every turn in the case. A California wrongful death lawyer who knows how to handle truck accident cases can make sure that you don’t fall through the cracks, no matter how uncooperative the people at fault may be.
Key Steps in a Trucking Accident Investigation
A truck accident investigation is a meticulous process, with several critical steps to uncovering the truth behind the tragic event. Your attorney can help you build your case by:
- Collecting Evidence – Gathering videos, photographs, and debris from the vehicles and the crash site to piece together the sequence of events leading to the accident.
- Examining Records – Scrutinizing the records of the truck driver and the trucking company, including logbooks, driving history, and personnel files for safety violations.
- Interviewing Witnesses – Speaking with other drivers involved, first responders, and eyewitnesses of the accident to gain firsthand accounts of the accident. These testimonies could illuminate critical details about the accident.
- Analyzing Truck Data Recordings – Reviewing data from the truck’s “black box” to determine crucial information like speed and braking patterns. This device can offer invaluable data such as actual hours driven and engine performance, which can be pivotal in uncovering driver fatigue or reconstructing what happened in the accident.
- Consulting Expert Witnesses – Engaging crash reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and forensic analysts for specialized insights and expert testimony. Technical expertise and expert opinions can significantly strengthen your case.
- Examining the Truck – Inspecting the truck and the cargo to identify any equipment defects, failures, or mechanical condition issues that may have contributed to the crash.
Navigating a truck accident lawsuit, especially one involving a wrongful death, requires not just legal expertise but a deep understanding of the trucking industry. An experienced truck accident lawyer will know what evidence to look for and what types of experts to call.
The Role of an Experienced Lawyer in Trucking Accident Cases
The right lawyer can play a crucial role in guiding your family through this challenging journey. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we bring to the table a wealth of knowledge about federal and California state regulations and trucking industry standards. We’re practiced at uncovering violations of these safety standards, which can be a critical element in proving negligence.
An experienced attorney will know the importance of acting swiftly to protect evidence that can strengthen your case. We understand how to counter the various strategies employed by trucking companies and their insurers, ensuring that your family’s rights are protected.
Because the loss of a life is so profound, the potential for high-stakes damages in wrongful death cases makes the lawyer’s role even more important. Your attorney should strive to secure compensation for the full extent of your damages, including your loved one’s medical expenses, future lost income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering before they passed.
In addition, even though you weren’t the one in the crash, California law allows family members to file a survivor’s claim based on the effects of the sudden personal loss you’ve experienced.
Navigating a truck accident investigation for a wrongful death lawsuit is an elaborate and emotionally taxing task. An experienced attorney can help take most of the process off your plate so that you don’t have to deal with the trucking company or the insurance companies. While no legal outcome can compensate for the loss of a loved one, a thorough investigation with strong legal representation can help you get the justice you seek and the support you need.