Truck Accident Investigations in California
Accidents involving large trucks and 18-wheelers are often devastating events. The size and weight of these vehicles mean that a collision can result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Most people killed in tractor trailer crashes in California are occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Attorney Pius Joseph is an experienced truck accident injury attorney who understands what it takes to hold trucking companies responsible for catastrophic accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a large truck, the chances are that you are suffering from injuries that may take months to heal. Turn to the Law Offices of Pius Joseph for legal guidance.
Insurance companies for the trucking industry know you are in a vulnerable position with medical bills mounting and time off work resulting in little to no pay. They may try to take advantage of your situation and offer you a settlement that is a fraction of the value of a just settlement. Don’t let an insurance company shortchange you and your family. Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph for legal advice today by calling (626) 397-1050 or reach us online.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Pasadena
California is an economic powerhouse with a network of important roadways that serve as major shipping routes. Due in part to the state’s economy and population, California consistently ranks as one of the states with the highest number of trucking accidents.
A 2019 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that large trucks and buses were involved in 14,544 crashes on California roads resulting in more than 450 deaths and thousands of injuries.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the state of California have strict laws regulating the trucking industry, truck accidents continue to occur on many of the state’s most traveled roadways. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in the state include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Poor decision making
- Poor driving performance
- Aggressive driving tactics
- Mechanical or vehicle-related malfunctions or problems
- Weather factors
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Inexperienced or undertrained drivers
- Improper screening and employment of unfit drivers
These factors alone or in combination could turn an otherwise normal day on the road into a terrible accident. Many dangerous driving behaviors involve negligence by the driver. The legal team at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph strives to hold truck drivers and their companies accountable for their negligent actions and to get the maximum compensation you are owed.
What Goes into a Truck Accident Investigation?
There are several reasons why retaining legal help following a large truck accident in California is a smart move. One of the most valuable ways a lawyer can help you is by conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the accident.
Why is that important if the police have already investigated? The answer is because the cause of a truck accident can be extremely complex. A truck and trailer may have separate owners, and both may have some liability. The truck driver may be employed by the trucking company or be an independent driver. From the moment an accident happens, the trucking company will have lawyers and insurers working to minimize the company’s liability for the accident.
Having your own lawyer means you have someone looking out for your best interests. It also means you have someone with the legal means to request driver logs and truck maintenance records before the evidence is discarded or destroyed by the trucking company.
The other steps in a detailed investigation of a truck accident may include:
- Gathering police reports
- Gathering witness statements
- Investigating the scene of the accident
- Submitting a spoliation letter notifying the trucking company and other parties involved that evidence must not be destroyed, altered, or concealed in any way. This is part of the process of gathering and preserving evidence. Violating this order can mean stiff legal penalties.
- Obtaining digital evidence such as the Electronic Control Module (a truck’s black box), video surveillance, dashboard camera footage, or GPS data
- Obtaining driving records, training records, and driver qualification information
- Obtaining employer records and information on hiring practices
- Gathering the safety inspection records of the truck
- Working with an accident reconstruction specialist to understand how the accident happened.
These steps are crucial to building a persuasive case against the truck driver and trucking company responsible for causing the accident. A truck accident claim is a complex legal process that you do not want to attempt to navigate alone. It is important to have an attorney experienced in handling this type of complicated case. The Law Offices of Pius Joseph has been tackling tough truck cases for more than 30 years and has helped many people.
What Evidence Should be Collected?
The evidence that goes into building a truck accident case is much more extensive than simply relying on a police report of the accident. There is much more that goes into developing a case against a trucking company.
A variety of factors may contribute to a truck accident. That means a wide variety of evidence is needed to piece together the full picture of what happened and who was at fault including:
- Police report
- Witness accounts
- Digital evidence such as Electronic Control Module (a truck’s black box), Video surveillance of the area, and/or Dashboard camera footage
- GPS data
- Driving records
- Driver’s license information
- Employment records
- Training records
- Safety inspection records
- Weigh station reports
- Hiring information and background screenings
Why Police Reports Aren’t Always Enough
Police reports are useful in establishing some of the circumstances surrounding an accident, but they aren’t a complete picture of the accident. A police report is meant to aid in any type of criminal prosecution. It is not written with the intention of establishing liability in court cases. Civil and criminal proceedings are very different. In criminal cases, the burden of proving guilt is placed on the prosecution. In a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving their case by a preponderance of the evidence available.
One of the problems with relying on a police report as the sole piece of evidence in truck accident cases is the fact that most law enforcement officers are not properly qualified to make an expert analysis of the accident scene. They do not have the time and resources to conduct a detailed investigation. This means that important details about the accident may not be covered by the accident report.
Another issue is that trucking company attorneys tend to argue that the report itself should be disallowed because the officer is not a qualified accident expert. This may mean a jury would not even be able to hear the evidence outlined in the report.
At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we are committed to conducting a thorough investigation.
How Experts Assist in a Truck Wreck Investigation
Lawyers experienced in truck accident cases often rely on the help of specialists to build strong cases. Specialists in accident reconstruction use their skills to assess the scene of the accident and take into account all the evidence, including witness statements. They create a more complete picture of the accident. These accident detectives can recreate an accident using skid mark measurements, grease stains, sophisticated computer models, and good old-fashioned physics to create a big picture account of an accident.
Why Should a Lawyer Investigate a Commercial Truck Accident?
You may be surprised how quickly the trucking companies’ team of investigators will be on the scene of an accident collecting evidence and talking with witnesses. They will move quickly to try to shield the trucking company and driver from liability for the accident.
At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph, we understand that you are in pain or grieving the loss of a loved one. You deserve compassion and reliable guidance based on our experience. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you understand what really happened in the truck accident and who is accountable for your injuries. To protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve, you should get in touch with a skilled truck accident attorney who has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation.
How Can the Law Offices of Pius Joseph Help Me?
While you may take every safety precaution and drive with caution, you cannot prevent a truck driver from making a driving error and causing an accident. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an 18-wheeler accident in Pasadena or anywhere in California, you need immediate protection.
Our law firm will evaluate all the ways the truck accident has affected your life and carefully calculate your present and future medical expenses and other losses related to the accident. We will demand full compensation from the trucking company’s insurance to cover all your losses. Don’t let a trucking company’s insurer bully you into settling for less than the fair compensation that is appropriate based on the facts of the accident. Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph to schedule a free consultation and talk about your case by calling (626) 397-1050.