Truck accidents are physically and emotionally devastating events for those involved. Because of their size, commercial trucking vehicles tend to cause more destruction than a regular car would, so the risk of serious injury or even death goes up in a truck accident. In 2018, the most recent year for data, 5,096 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes according to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration.
Even when truck accidents do not cause fatalities, they can cause serious injuries with life-long consequences, not to mention damage to private property and mental pain and suffering.
If you are injured in a truck accident and plan on making a claim for damages, you will need to be able to prove the truck driver or another third party, such as the trucking company, was negligent. From there, you will have to show that this negligence directly caused the accident and your injury.
The best way to do that is to have ample evidence. Here are some pieces you need to be sure of collecting in the aftermath of an accident with a truck.
Accident reports. Police create an official report of the accident when they arrive on the scene. Get and keep a copy of this report for your own records. The trucking company will usually send a certified truck inspector who will examine the vehicle before it gets removed from the scene. This person will check for things like a manufacturing defect, low tread on the tires, or other potential factors in the accident related to the truck itself. Obtain a copy of their report as well.
Electronic logs. Federal law requires all truck drivers to follow Hours of Service regulations. These rules stipulate how long they are allowed to drive and when they must take breaks. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) automatically record this information and transmit it to the carrier. The point of these logs is to precisely record whether a trucker is keeping to their Hours of Service regulations or not. If they are not and cause an accident, these logs will be essential to your case.
Photos and witness statements. Take pictures at the scene of the accident: your vehicle, the truck, close-ups of the damage, tire or skid marks on the road, and any other visuals that could be relevant. It is also important to document cuts, burns, and other injuries. At the same time, have nearby witnesses give statements via video or written testimonials.
Evidence requested in a spoliation letter. Your attorney may send a spoliation letter. This document requests that all evidence related to the accident be preserved. That includes truck inspection reports, the truck driver’s qualifications and driving records, dispatch instructions, weigh station and loading dock reports, and the aforementioned driving logs.
Any of this evidence will be easier to get with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. At Rodriguez & Associates, our Bakersfield personal injury lawyers can assist you in navigating this complex area of personal injury litigation as you seek compensation for damages. Please reach out to us today to discuss your case and receive support by filling out our online form or calling (661) 777-7575.