Truck-car accidents happen every day. According to the American Trucking Association and FMCSA, in 80-85% of cases passenger vehicle drivers are at fault. But proving it is not always so simple. The driver behind a pickup truck more than 5 tons is often the subject of blame. Ensuring professional drivers are adequately prepared for a crash investigation is critical to managing fleet risks and avoiding a difficult judgment or resolution.
Accident investigation checklist
- Clear the way and stay safe at the scene
- Know what to do in case of serious injury
- Set up how to report a problem and where to send it
Dealing with law enforcement
- Stay calm and focus on the truth
- Answer questions without sharing opinions or admitting errors
Be a good crawler
- Know which photo/angle is the best
- What conditions (weather, road, speed, vehicle, other factors) should be reported?
- Who is your after-hours contact on weekends or at midnight?
- Identify your company’s media spokesperson to pass questions through
- Trained media drivers?
- Do you conduct initial accident investigation training?
- How often is training refreshed to reflect best practices and new technology?
Insurance service provider
- Does your supplier conduct a risk audit?
- Ask your supplier if they are willing to assist with training
In lawsuits involving truck-to-car collisions, plaintiffs’ attorneys typically wait to file until the state’s statute of limitations is nearing the end. In most states, the statute of limitations for civil courts is two or three years. By waiting, these attorneys are relying on amnesia and lost facts about the accident to their advantage. To protect an auto carrier, what is reported and recorded in the 24-hour window after an accident when the investigation is at its most active is crucial many years later if a lawsuit is to be filed. submitted.
In a truck-car collision where all facts pointed to the passenger driver’s fault, the plaintiff’s attorney successfully argued that the fault was on the professional driver by using This quote is from a professional driver’s statement in a law
execution report. The case resulted in a $3.5 million settlement. Words matter and making sure your driver knows what to say and how to tell the truth about a collision in a stressful situation is important.