There are many paths to inspect the safety of a truck before and after a truck accident. A North American Standard Level One Safety Inspection is a 37-step procedure examines a vehicle’s mechanical condition and the driver’s fitness to operate a truck.
This examination includes review of the truck driver’s license, medical examiner's certificate, and waiver, any alcohol and drugs use by the truck driver, the truck driver's record of duty status, hours of service,vehicle inspection report, brake system, coupling devices, frame, seat belt brake lamps, exhaust system, turn signals, tail lamps, headlamps, fuel system, lamps on projecting loads, safe loading, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, the truck’s steering mechanism, and windshield wipers.
It takes the authorities about 45 minutes to do this inspection which is what happens at many truck stop inspection areas you see on our highways.
But this is also an investigation used by truck accident reconstruction experts -- both police reconstructionists and litigation related experts.
Truck Accident Reconstruction
An accident reconstruction expert relies on data, reports, information, witnesses, and objective evidence gathered from a vehicle crash scene.
After gathering all of that relevant evidence, the truck reconstructionist interprets the evidence. For example, a skid mark is a piece of evidence. It is the expert's job to explain for the lawyers and the jury what that skid mark tells us about the breaking, the speed of the vehicles, and so forth.
Whether the police do a reconstruction and the quality of that reconstruction depends on the severity of the crash. In Maryland, any fatal truck accident
is going to get the full resources of the police department. They get the evidence contemporary with the crash and, with notable exceptions, the police do an excellent job.
In accident claims where no one was killed, the job Maryland police do is more desultory. But it varies with scope of injury. If the police do not suspect serious injuries, they will do little or no real investigation into how the accident occurred and who is responsible for it.
If you are reading this and cannot decide whether to hire an expert to investigate your claim, hire an accident reconstructionist today. If you get someone weeks or months later, you might find that relevant evidence is gone. Our lawyers frequently hire accident reconstructionists in cases where we doubt we would ever use or need one at trial. Why? First, you never know whether you need an expert until you gather all of the evidence in the first place. But we also get valuable information from reconstructionists to use at the settlement table and at trial even if their testimony is unneeded.
In Montgomery Cablevision v. Beynon
, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals was faced with the question of whether the trial court abused its discretion in striking a truck crash reconstructionist's expert testimony on whether photographs showed that lights on tractor-trailer truck involved in an accident were on at the time of the wreck. This particular reconstructionist had no specialized background or training in forensic photography. The court said that striking the expert's testimony on this point was not an abuse of discretion.