What Is a Rapid Response Team in a Truck Accident?
Being injured in a truck accident is frightening and confusing enough without also having to deal with a truck company’s rapid response team. Trucking companies send these teams to the scene of accidents immediately – sometimes arriving even before the police – to gather evidence and start building a case that protects the truck driver. Understanding who this team is, what they do and how it might affect your insurance claim can help you protect your legal rights.
What Is a Rapid Response Team?
When an accident involving a commercial truck occurs, the truck driver notifies the dispatcher, who then calls the risk manager. The risk manager will deploy a rapid response team, no matter what time of day or night the crash takes place. A rapid response team is a group of professionals carefully selected by a trucking company to respond immediately to the scene of an accident, conduct an investigation and collect evidence from the site. The response team often includes:
- A crash investigator
- Forensic professionals
- Accident reconstruction experts
- A defense lawyer
On paper, the goal of the rapid response team is to determine the cause of the truck accident. In reality, the team’s purpose is to obtain information that exonerates the truck driver from fault for the accident – and prevents the trucking company from having to pay for the crash. This may lead to the rapid response team cleaning up the site of the accident and clearing away evidence immediately after the crash.
What Does the Rapid Response Team Do?
The rapid response team will arrive at the scene of the truck accident before any debris has been cleared. Although the team is allegedly unbiased and is not permitted to tamper with or destroy evidence, it is not uncommon for things to go “missing” after a rapid response team visits the scene of an accident. Evidence that may be of interest to the rapid response team includes:
- Electronic evidence
- Electronic logging devices
- Driver logs and inspection reports
- Truck maintenance and repair records
- The truck’s black box
- GPS data
- Cell phone records
- Surveillance videos
Someone from the rapid response team will make sure to speak to the police officer that arrives at the scene of the accident to give them the truck driver’s side of the story. If the passengers from a smaller vehicle do not talk to the police, this could result in the trucker’s version of events being the only one that is documented. Since the response team is trained in protecting the trucking company from liability, the story that gets reported most likely will not be beneficial for injured victims.
How to Combat the Rapid Response Team After a Truck Accident
As someone who’s been injured in a truck accident, it is important to keep in mind that the rapid response team works for the trucking company and has this party’s best interests in mind. Do what you can to collect evidence on your own before the response team has a chance to clear it away.
If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident or have someone do so for you. Record video footage of the crash site, as well. Speak to eyewitnesses and write down their names and contact information. Make sure the police are given your side of the story. If any nearby businesses or traffic cameras might have caught the truck accident on tape, request copies of this footage.
Most importantly, contact a truck accident lawyer in Birmingham immediately for assistance. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the higher the odds are of a rapid investigation by the law firm that can preserve and obtain evidence on your behalf. Having a powerful legal team of your own can help you go up against a trucking company in pursuit of justice and fair compensation.