In a crash between an 18-wheeler and a passenger car, occupants of the smaller vehicle usually sustain the most serious injuries.
Advocates for a victim will begin an investigation at the crash site to determine what caused the crash and who is liable. Investigators may include professional accident reconstructionists.
Law enforcement officers who come to the scene of a truck-car crash will take photos and prepare reports about the accident. They usually do not have the opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation. This is where accident reconstructionists can step in and examine the evidence left behind, some of which might include:
- Tire tracks and skid marks
- Damage to objects such as guard rails, curbs, mailboxes or trees
- Fluid stains such as blood, engine oil or transmission fluid
- Debris from the wrecked vehicles
- Broken windshield glass
The investigators will also examine the point of impact between the vehicles and their final resting positions.
The investigators will use surveying equipment to take measurements at the crash site in a process called scene mapping. They will then prepare a diagram that shows specific conditions at the time of the crash as well as the location of roadway evidence.
Liability and multiple parties
Along with the police reports and any testimonies from witnesses, the evidence gathered at the crash site will help determine liability, which might spread among multiple parties. If, for example, the brakes on the truck failed, the truck driver, the trucking company and the company responsible for maintaining the truck might all share liability for the crash. The injured victim should receive maximum compensation to cover current and future medical expenses, lost wages and more.