Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, especially compared to the average passenger vehicle, truck accidents can — and often do — cause significant property damage and severe, life-threatening, or even life-ending injuries. If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, you may be entitled to a large sum of compensation for your injuries and other losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. In fact, our truck accident lawyers in Texas have successfully recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in devastating truck accidents.
But proving fault can be challenging, so to successfully claim compensation in a truck accident claim, you need evidence.
A truck accident reconstruction can be a vital piece of evidence, showing how your accident occurred and who is legally responsible.
In this blog post, we explain what a truck accident reconstruction is, how it’s done, and how it can increase your chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Truck Accident Reconstruction?
Truck accident reconstruction is the process of determining the cause of a truck accident. It involves analyzing witness statements, vehicle damage, and physical evidence left behind during the crash, such as skid marks and debris.
Why Conduct an Accident Reconstruction?
Truck accidents are inherently complex. Any number of people or parties can be responsible for a crash, ranging from those at the scene (such as the trucker or another driver) to those nowhere near the accident. It’s not uncommon for trucking companies to be held liable for a truck accident. In some cases, a negligent manufacturer or another third party may be at fault, such as if the truck’s brakes fail, a mechanic doesn’t fix a critical issue, or a cargo worker fails to secure the container.
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident often comes down to what happened in the moments leading to the collision — such as how fast the truck was traveling — and the overall environment, including what the weather and road conditions were like. Without this vital information, you risk a weak case, throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick. A truck accident reconstruction can help fill in the gaps and piece together what happened so you have a strong, targeted case.
What Information Can a Truck Accident Reconstruction Yield?
If you think of a truck accident claim as a complicated puzzle, a truck accident reconstruction can provide several key pieces. These include:
- How fast each vehicle involved in the accident was traveling.
- The distance between vehicles during the crash.
- Whether the truck driver was following traffic laws.
- Whether the truck was maintained and in proper working order.
- Whether other factors, such as poor road design, shoulder drop-off, or inclement weather like snow or heavy rain, contributed to the collision.
It’s not difficult to imagine how this could tip the scales in your favor in your truck accident claim.
Let’s say you claim a truck driver is responsible for your accident because they weren’t paying attention, but they dispute it. Unfortunately, the witnesses to the accident couldn’t have seen what the trucker was doing before the crash.
A truck accident reconstructionist can provide an expert opinion on whether or not the truck driver was distracted based on accident photography, videos, and other evidence.
For example, if the truck accident reconstruction expert observes long skid marks, they may conclude that the driver failed to hit the brakes in time, which can indicate they were not paying attention. Tire marks can also help show whether the truck driver was speeding. The accident reconstructionist may support their findings by creating several computer-generated crash simulations — each testing a different theory — to recreate the accident until it matches up with the real accident scene.
How Is a Truck Accident Reconstruction Conducted?
Truck accident reconstruction involves a range of methods and requires the expertise of a qualified professional. While the exact process an accident reconstructionist follows will vary based on the unique facts of an accident, it often comprises similar steps.
The first step is always to thoroughly investigate the scene. They will examine the vehicles involved, collect visual evidence (such as CCTV, if available, and photographs), take measurements, examine physical evidence, and review witness statements and reports.
The goal of this step is to gather as much information as possible about the accident to support their reconstruction.
Analyzing the Data and Reconstructing the Accident
After investigating the scene, the truck accident reconstructionist will begin to interpret the data. This part of the process might involve using formulas and computer simulations to recreate the accident. They may also draw on medical reports to determine if a truck accident victim’s injuries are consistent with the evidence and their version of events.
Filing Their Report
Finally, the accident reconstructionist will compile all their findings into a report that details what happened, what factors contributed to the truck accident, and who is liable. This report will often include supporting evidence, such as photographs and diagrams, as well as calculations demonstrating how they reached their conclusion.
This is a very simplified overview of the truck accident reconstruction process. Reconstruction is a complex science and art that requires specialized knowledge, and the steps an expert takes can vary wildly depending on whether they are investigating truck maintenance, compliance with federal trucking regulations, or another issue.
Hiring an Experienced Truck Accident Reconstruction Expert
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should now understand the benefit of hiring a truck accident reconstructionist for your case.
But how should you go about hiring an expert, and do you even need to?
When choosing an expert, you want someone who:
- Has significant experience and training
- Can provide an accurate and reliable analysis
- Has access to the latest equipment and software
- Has a track record of success in similar cases
- Is an effective communicator
- Is willing to testify in court should your case not settle during negotiations.
The last point is an important one. While few truck accident cases — or personal injury cases in general — ever go to trial, it can happen. Having your truck accident reconstruction expert able to testify can help the jury presiding over your case understand how your accident happened and convince them that you deserve compensation.
If you have strong evidence, such as several corroborating eyewitness testimonies, videos showing that the trucker was driving recklessly, and a truck’s black box data, you may not need a truck accident reconstruction.
However, it may still be beneficial.
The best way to access a truck accident reconstruction expert is via a personal injury attorney. When you choose our truck accident lawyers in McAllen and San Antonio, we’ll tell you if you have a claim, gather evidence, and liaise with professionals in our network — which includes accident reconstructionists.
And, because we work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t pay anything upfront. We’ll fund the costs of investigating your accident and recover it from your settlement later on. If we don’t win, you don’t pay us — it’s that simple.
Our personal injury lawyers in McAllen and San Antonio, TX, can work with truck accident reconstruction experts to build a strong case and help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. To book a free consultation and see if you’re entitled to claim, call 855-LAW-NINJA, submit a contact form, or drop into one of our offices. We can help you get the settlement you deserve so you can move forward after your accident.