West Virginia Attorneys Explain Gathering Truck Accident Evidence
After a trucking accident, it is no surprise that many people are confused about what to do next. These accidents can be severe and it’s often difficult to determine who or what is at fault. That’s why crash reconstruction and forensics can be crucial for building a solid case.
Using evidence collected from the site of the crash and the vehicles involved, investigators can have a clearer picture about what happened. What they find can give the West Virginia truck accident attorneys at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC leverage when pursuing your claim.
What Do Investigators Look For?
Determining how fast the truck was traveling is an important step in reconstructing a crash. A key factor in calculating a truck’s speed is the type of surface the skid marks are on and how long they extend.
Even with well-maintained and fully functioning brakes, commercial trucks can take 25 to 65 percent longer to stop than a car. Fully loaded trucks take the longest time to stop due to their weight. The wheels also contribute to the longer stopping times. The rubber they’re made with is much harder, allowing them to last longer under heavy loads but create less friction when braking.
When testing the brakes, two important factors must be accounted for – brake balance and brake lag time. Brake balance is created by having symmetry between mechanical components that are working properly, adjusted correctly, and have equal air pressure throughout the entire braking system. Brake lag time is the delay between applying the brake pedal and when the brakes fully lock.
Braking capabilities can be determined through skid testing, allowing investigators to determine exactly what the deceleration capabilities of the truck are. Performing these tests at the crash site is ideal but often impractical. Instead, testing can be performed at an alternative site using a standardized method of testing.
Both the friction of the crash site surface and the test surface must be used to allow for an accurate comparison and adjustments to be made to compensate for the differences. Alternatively, a brake dynamometer can be used. The device uses rollers to spin the truck’s wheels and when the brakes are applied, sensors on the rollers measure their force. This is one of the best methods for testing brake force, but collision damage may limit its use.
Moving forward with your claim
Trucking companies will often go to great lengths to cover up any wrongdoing on their part. If they failed to properly have their vehicles maintained and inspected, they may attempt to destroy or hide records after an accident occurs. An experienced truck accident attorney at Mani Ellis & Layne PLLC will use the evidence we gather to hold trucking companies accountable.
Compiling the numerous data points and taking the many variable accounts is difficult but important work. It can make a night-and-day difference in getting the compensation you and your family deserve after an accident.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a large commercial truck, we will put our skill, experience and resources to work for you and fight to maximize your compensation. Contact our office today to find out how we can help you.