After the truck accident: what now?

If you have been involved in a tractor trailer truck accident or other big truck accident in Virginia, you need to take care of your medical needs first. However, it is very important that you also understand that the trucking company will likely send to the scene its own attorneys, phtotographers, and truck accident investigators as soon as it gets word of the truck crash or incident.  Trucking companies have at their disposal a large contingent of investigators, risk managers, insurance company personnel, and lawyers who specialize in defending trucking companies and tractor trailer truck driversin accident cases.Some of these folks will be on the scene within hours of the truck crash. Contacting a personal injury attorney who specializes in commercial truck accident cases will help keep the playing field and the scales of justice even and level.

If you’ve been involved in a crash with a commercial truck, you can help protect your rights after the accident by remembering a few simple things:

Take Note: Make a mental and physical note of the road conditions. Was it raining on the day of your truck accident? Was it foggy? Icy? Was there debris in the road? Take note of the skid marks and any gouges in the roadway. Make a note of your surroundings as well.

Take Pictures: It’s always a good idea to carry a camera with you and take pictures of the accident scene. Remember, the commercial truck involved in the crash will definitely be sending their investigators to take photos. If there was any property damage, take a picture or write down what you see while it’s still fresh in your mind. If you cannot, ask any uninjured passengers to assist you. We handled a case in which the police did not take photographs of the tractor trailer truck that rear ended our client’s car.  The tractor trailer truck company defended the case by denying that it’s truck ever made contact with our client’s vehicle.  Fortunately, we had previously located the truck and photographed the extensive damage to its front bumper before the evidence disappeared.

Take Names: If there were any witnesses to your crash it’s important to take down their names and any contact information before the accident is cleared. Their shared and varied viewpoints will help give a better overview of the truck accident.  In most cases involving a Virginia truck accident, the local and/or state police send a specialized crash investigation team, which takes photographs of the scene and the crash vehicles, interviews witnesses, inspects the truck tractor and trailer for safety violations, and determines whether criminal charges are appropriate.  In addition, the police and/or the trucking company may contact the Department of Transportation.  The trucking company and/or the DOT may send someone to the scene to conduct drug and alcohol testing on the truck driver.  We recently handled a case in which the tractor trailer truck driver was drug tested after the police investigators had left the scene.  We learned in discovery (because we knew which documents to request) that the truck driver tested positive for cocaine.  To the extent that you are able to capture any of this information and provide it to your attorney, you are assisting in the prompt investigation of your case.

Take a Minute: You may want to send your car to the repair shop right away. The commercial truck company would like nothing better. However, sending your car to be repaired may destroy critical evidence needed to support you in a personal injury case. You’ll want to speak with an attorney who specializes in commercial truck and vehicle crashes about what to do next. In some cases, your personal injury attorney may want to store your vehicle until a later date.

We specialize in representing people injured by truck accidents and have a thorough understanding of the applicable state and federal laws and the federal regulations governing the truck industry. You can find the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations at; rules-regulations.htm.

A review of these regulations shows why prompt investigation of large truck accidents is crucial to winning truck accident cases. You can count on the fact that soon after the dust from the crash settles the trucking company or truck company insurer will send an investigator to the crash scene to interview witnesses and collect forensic evidence found in the road, captured by the truck’s data recording systems, or entered in the driver’s logs. Unfortunately, the federal regulations require the truck company to retain some of this crucial information for only six months. That is why fast action by an experienced Virginia trucking litigation attorney is critical to the success of your case.