Steps to Take When Involved in a Semi Truck Crash

It is a common fact that Commercial Truck crashes typically lead to more serious injuries than accidents caused by passenger or common vehicles. Generally, there are about 500,000 trucking accidents per year on the United States roadways.

What is little known by the general public is that the operators of commercial vehicles, motor carriers, have experts and investigators retained and who are at the ready to travel to the scene of semi-truck crash to begin developing defenses to any future claims. Often the names of the motor carrier’s experts and investigators show up in Law Enforcement investigation reports.  While the victims of a semi-truck crash are focused up obtaining medical treatment and care or grieving because the loss of a loved one, the motor carrier’s team is detailing the accident facts, interviewing witnesses, and documenting the scene of the semi-truck crash. These folks are commonly called the “Immediate response team”.

fatal semi truck accident

It goes without saying that those involved in a semi-truck crash should be focused on medical treatment and care or seeking support for the loss of the life of a loved one, they should seek the help of a lawyer experienced in handling semi-truck crash claims.  Kevin Coluccio at Coluccio Law is the only Washington based Truck Accident Attorney certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The certification process requires proof of extensive experience, plus passing a comprehensive test.

Semi-truck crashes are very different from a car crash. A semi-truck crash must be treated differently than a car crash. If a semi-truck crash is not treated differently, then much will be missed. Why are they different:

  • Trucks drive differently than cars;
  • Crash dynamics are different;
  • Different laws and regulations apply to trucks;
  • Claims are handled differently;
  • Insurance issues are different and can be more complex;
  • Skilled and knowledgeable experts are required;
  • The Players involved are different.

The handling of a semi-truck crash must be treated differently from the beginning to the end.

The attorney handling a semi-truck crash must know and understand the difference and how to use the differences to maximize the results for the semi-truck crash victims.

From the beginning, action should be taken to secure the case, to secure the evidence, including the scene, the vehicles involved, the vehicle black boxes and witnesses.  In addition, a spoliation letter should be provided to the motor carrier and its insurance carrier.

Experienced attorneys who handle semi-truck crash claims have the knowledge and resources to reach out to and retain the experts needed to inspect the scene, inspect the involved vehicles, and to download the black box modules. In addition, most late-model semi-trucks are equipped with telematics and dashcams.

In addition to requesting that the motor carrier preserve evidence, information, documentation, and the involved semi-truck, requests are to be made to all law enforcement agencies. Often Major Accident Investigation Teams (MAIT) are sent to the scene of a semi-truck crash to conduct a detailed and complete review and documentation of the scene and crash. They also interview the involved parties and eyewitnesses. In addition to obtaining photographs, drones are commonly used. A total station is part of the investigation, which is essentially a complete survey of the scene, the position of vehicles after the crash, and any other relevant points related to the semi-truck crash.

Consideration of the rules that applied to the operation of the semi-truck is required and which of any of the rules were not followed by the commercial truck driver. Motor carriers are required to have driver qualification files, which must be requested. Motor carriers also commonly have safety manuals, company rules, and periodic safety memorandum that are provided to drivers.

Several resources are considered by experienced semi-truck crash attorneys. These resources include the Federal and State Regulations governing the operation of commercial vehicles, Commercial Driver License Manuals, Truck Driving School Manuals, Defensive Driver courses, the Industry standard of care manuals, and preventable accident manuals.

So many factors can be involved in a semi-truck crash; it is important for them to be “peeled” back and considered one by one. A semi-truck accident is life-changing for the people involved, and consulting with an experienced and certified Truck Accident will help to obtain accountability for the injuries and damages involved.

For over 36 years, Kevin Coluccio of Coluccio Law has dedicated his legal career to the representation of the victims of a semi-truck accidents, including semi-truck accident injuries and fatalities.  If you or a family member have been involved in a semi-truck accident, contact Coluccio Law for a free consultation.

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