Forensics of Texas Truck Accidents Involving Big Rigs and 18-Wheelers: An Inside Look Into How the Work Gets Done

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Truck accidents often happen very quickly for the people involved in them. You may have a moment or two of panicking at the sight of an 18-wheeler swerving into your lane, and then the crash. Or the accident could have literally blindsided you. Adding to the confusion, your resulting trauma may make recovering accurate memories difficult.

Forensic experts can help make sense of this chaos.

Using trusted processes, these scientists gather evidence from the scene, deploy engineering tools, and then draw conclusions to reconstruct what happened on the road. Armed with their insight, you and your lawyer can then hold negligent parties accountable for your pain and suffering, lost work time and medical bills.

What Is Forensic Science?

Forensics involves collecting and analyzing evidence to form reasonable hypotheses about how a particular event occurred. Investigators gather this material carefully to preserve its integrity as well as to adhere to legal rules for evidence collection in criminal and civil cases.

Typically, a single case – like a truck accident – won’t be handled start to finish by a single scientist. Instead, one or more forensic experts will do the “field work” of visiting the scene to document and collect material, visiting impound yards to examine vehicles if needed, and similar tasks. The evidence will be taken to one or more labs, where additional analysts may work on types of evidence that fall within their specific area of expertise.

What Can Forensic Science Tell Us About Truck Accidents?

Unlike the audacious characters you might have seen on crime scene TV shows, these specialists are trained to be conservative. They work hard to avoid inferring more detail than what the data actual tell them. To guard against the very human tendency to see patterns where none exist, they apply rigorous physics and engineering principles to their observations. For instance, knowledge of principles like the conservation of linear momentum, kinematics, and work-energy methods help them construct models of how the accident could have occurred based solely on the evidence left behind.

Forensic analysis can help answer questions like:

  • Where were the vehicles at or just before the moment of impact?
  • How fast was each vehicle going?
  • In what direction was each vehicle going?
  • Which vehicle hit the other first?
  • Did factors outside the vehicles, like the condition of the roadway, contribute to the events of the crash? If so, how?
  • How is it that the forces of the crash could result in the injuries or vehicle damage suffered?
  • If a “hit and run” occurred, what type of vehicle was involved? Where is it likely to show damage? What direction did it go in, and how fast?

Sometimes, a truck accident case hinges on a crucial fact. A forensic analysis determines which version of disputed facts is most supported by the available science.