4 Pieces of Evidence to Support Your Truck Accident Claim
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Truck accidents can cause catastrophic and life-changing injuries like those to the head and brain or back and neck. Many victims of these accidents file a claim against the trucking company, hoping to receive financial compensation for their injuries. When the trucking company is reluctant to pay out, providing evidence of liability can make the difference between a lengthy legal battle and a relatively quick and fair settlement.
Getting involved in a car accident with a commercial truck is more complex than a collision involving two passenger vehicles. Truck carriers and trucking companies have good insurance and a legal team to protect the truck driver, so strong evidence is essential to support your truck accident claim and to get the compensation you are owed.
Discover the four best pieces of evidence for an experienced Michigan truck accident lawyer to use in your claim.
Four Pieces of Evidence for Your Claim
While many forms of evidence, like the accident report, can establish fault in a truck crash, some evidence is much better at proving liability. These four pieces of evidence can help your attorney build the strongest case possible.
Trucker Time Log
Federal law prevents truck drivers from driving more than 11 to 14 hours daily. However, many truckers are encouraged or coerced by their employer to falsify their timesheets and drive for longer than permitted.
Fatigue is one of the most common causes of trucking accidents, with 13% of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers considered to be fatigued at the time of their crash, according to The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS). A tired truck driver can fall asleep at the wheel or have difficulty reacting quickly, leading to a collision.
A skilled truck accident attorney can obtain copies of the truck driver’s timesheets to determine if they were driving longer than permitted. If your attorney suspects the timesheets are falsified, they can get information from the truck itself to verify the accuracy. For example, they can obtain GPS data from the truck to determine how long it was on the road.
Event Data Recorders (EDRs)
Many large trucks and some passenger vehicles have event data recorders (EDRs) that document the vehicle’s technical conditions. These record variables like brake or gas pedal usage, sudden accelerations or decelerations, and airbag deployment. In the event of a crash, the EDR will store the vehicle’s conditions leading up to the collision.
Your attorney can retrieve this data from the EDR to determine some of the truck driver’s actions at the time of the crash. For example, the EDR may show that the truck driver was speeding when the accident occurred. Your attorney can use this evidence to argue that the truck driver was negligent, as they were driving too fast to safely make an emergency maneuver.
EDRs also record mechanical errors inside the vehicle, such as engine malfunctions or brake failures. If a truck accident occurs due to a defective part, your lawyer can check the EDR for records of a mechanical problem and use it to hold the paxrt manufacturer liable for the crash.
Failing to maintain a truck can significantly increase the risk of a crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, any mechanical problem in a truck increases the likelihood of a crash by 200%. Federal law requires that commercial vehicles be regularly inspected and that the trucking company documents any inspections, repairs, or maintenance.
If a trucking company is maintaining its vehicles, they will have thorough documentation of all inspections and repairs to the truck. However, negligent trucking companies may skip routine maintenance or ignore driver reports of a mechanical issue. Over time, the truck will become unsafe to drive, which can lead to an avoidable collision.
A semi-truck accident lawyer can request copies of the truck’s maintenance records to determine if the truck was properly maintained. Missing or outdated maintenance reports, reports of mechanical issues, or maintenance performed by unqualified technicians can be used to hold the trucking company liable for your injuries.
Dash Cam Footage
Some drivers equip their vehicle with a dash cam to capture footage of the road. These devices can provide valuable information about the collision in the event of a crash. For instance, the footage can show each vehicle’s approximate speed and location and any contributing road conditions.
Some trucking companies also use driver-facing dashcams in their vehicles, documenting the truck driver’s actions leading up to the crash. Footage from these cameras can be used to determine if the driver was drowsy, distracted, or driving unsafely.
Your attorney can collect dashcam footage from you or the trucking company to use in your case.
Gather Evidence with the Help of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.
The strongest evidence in a truck accident claim is often the hardest to obtain. If you need assistance recovering evidence for your truck accident case, the personal injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will work tirelessly to do so.
When representing victims of truck accidents in Michigan, we take the time to build a strong case and help you recover the compensation you deserve, whether that is through negotiating with the big rig insurance company or representing you in court.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.