What’s Involved in a Texas Truck Crash InvestigationApril 6, 2021
The American trucking industry is vital in the transportation of goods across our great nation, but this method of shipping can be dangerous. In the United States, there are about 500,000 trucking crashes each year, with Texas leading the way with the highest number of trucking accidents reported annually. If you have been in an accident with a commercial truck in Texas, you may be wondering what occurs during the crash investigation.
Reporting a Trucking Accident in Texas
After being involved in a traffic crash that results in injuries, fatalities, or property damage in Texas, drivers are required by Texas law to pull their vehicle over, determine if anyone requires aid, and call 911 to report the accident. Once a police officer arrives, they will draft a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report form CR-3. This form will include details surrounding the crash and will also contain the following information:
- Driver identification
- Insurance information from all parties
- Statements from the drivers
- Date and time of the crash
- Location of the accident
- Witness statements
- Traffic violations
- Lighting, weather, and road conditions
- Trucking carrier identification
- Hazardous material classification, if applicable
- Property damage
- Possible vehicle defects
- Possible contributing factors
Police officers are not always qualified or trained to properly analyze a crash scene, so police reports could be open to probing–sometimes resulting in issues of admissibility.
For your own health and safety, any injuries you have sustained in the crash should also be reported to your doctor. Even if you feel fine, injuries could show up long after a crash, so always try to get checked out by a medical professional after experiencing any motor vehicle accident.
Reconstructing a Trucking Crash in Texas
Between the eyewitness statements, police reports, and other documents, it may not be possible to accurately determine how a collision happened. Video surveillance and photographic evidence may be used to help establish negligence and help determine how a truck accident occurred. However, if video recordings are not available or are not clear enough and photos don’t paint a clear enough picture of what happened, an accident reconstruction specialist may need to be called in for further investigation.
Accident reconstruction specialists are specially trained in recreating motor vehicle accidents and use a scientific approach to solve how and why a crash occurred. A few things that an accident reconstruction specialist may do during your case is:
- Study accident scene photos
- View damaged vehicles
- Study police reports
- Collect data from event data recorders
- Visit the location of the crash
- Review depositions
- Analyze tire marks
Often, accident reconstruction specialists have training in auto accident engineering and physics. This extensive education grants them the ability to create a picture of what occurred before, during, and after an accident.
A Lawyer’s Role in a Truck Accident Investigation
In Texas, the statute of limitations requires that any personal injury claims are filed within two years of the accident date, so there is only a short amount of time to gather and preserve all evidence related to an accident after a crash.
A lawyer will review the truck driver’s qualification file containing the driver’s employment application, driving record, and medical history that determines if they are qualified to operate a truck. Records from the employer like handbooks, test results, training guides, and remedial measures will also be dissected for evidence. If an employer knowingly kept a dangerous driver on the roads, they could be found liable for a crash.