Commercial vehicle accidents can be complex, involving multiple parties and intricate laws. When lawyers take on such cases, they follow a thorough investigation process to uncover the facts, establish liability, and ensure that their clients receive fair compensation.
Here’s how they typically approach these investigations:
- Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
Understanding Client’s Perspective: Lawyers first listen to their client’s account of the accident to understand the incident from their viewpoint.
Assessing Immediate Needs: They evaluate immediate needs such as medical care or interim financial support.
- Gathering Evidence
Accident Scene Analysis: Lawyers often visit the accident scene to understand the dynamics of the crash.
Vehicle Inspection: Inspecting the involved commercial vehicle(s) for defects, maintenance records, or any modifications.
Photographic Evidence: Collecting photos from the accident scene, including skid marks, vehicle positions, and road conditions.
- Reviewing Documentation
Police and Accident Reports: Analyzing reports made by police or accident investigators for details about the accident.
Medical Records: Reviewing medical records to understand the extent of injuries sustained by their client.
Driver’s Logs: Checking the commercial vehicle driver’s logs for compliance with regulations like hours of service.
- Utilizing Technology
Electronic Data Retrieval: Accessing data from electronic logging devices (ELDs) and GPS systems in commercial vehicles.
Accident Reconstruction: Employing specialists to reconstruct the accident using technology to determine the sequence of events.
- Legal Research
Regulatory Compliance: Investigating whether the commercial vehicle and driver were in compliance with state and federal regulations.
Precedent Cases: Researching similar cases to understand how courts have ruled in comparable situations.
- Interviews and Depositions
Witness Interviews: Speaking with eyewitnesses to get an independent account of the accident.
Expert Consultations: Consulting with experts in fields like accident reconstruction, automotive engineering, or medical professions.
Deposing Involved Parties: Taking depositions of the driver, company representatives, and other relevant personnel.
- Dealing with Insurance Companies
Liaising with Insurers: Negotiating with insurance companies involved in the accident.
Assessing Coverage and Policies: Reviewing insurance policies of all parties to understand coverage limits and terms.
- Identifying Liability and Damages
Determining Fault: Assessing fault based on evidence, regulations, and legal standards.
Calculating Damages: Estimating compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Legal Strategies and Litigation
Developing Legal Strategy: Formulating a strategy based on the evidence and legal precedents.
Filing Lawsuits: If necessary, initiating legal action against responsible parties.
- Settlement Negotiations
Negotiating Settlements: Engaging in negotiations to reach a fair settlement before the case goes to trial.
- Trial Preparation and Representation
Preparing for Trial: If a settlement is not reached, preparing for a court trial.
Court Representation: Representing the client in court, presenting evidence, and arguing the case.