Compared to accidents involving only consumer vehicles, commercial truck accidents can be absolutely devastating. Whether you are merely recovering property damage or also suffered physical injuries in a truck accident, you need a strong legal strategy..
Unlike accidents involving consumer vehicles, the employers of the commercial driver have a vested interest in avoiding liability, which may add thousands of dollars in compensation to the list of expenses that the accident handed them. If you do not build a strong claim supported with as much evidence as you can obtain, you may not receive all that you deserve. You may even end up unfairly on the hook for expenses that someone else should cover.
Make sure that you understand all the legal tools and guidance that you have available as you build your claim.
Gathering evidence at the scene — the basics
Truck accidents, like all accidents, are not always simple to understand. Depending on how the case unfolds, the parties involved may have different opinions on what happened and why. This is why you must make sure to document as much as you can about the scene, if possible, before any clean-up crews clear away the wreckage.
Typically, it is easiest to use your phone or the phone of someone you trust to take pictures and video of the scene, and potentially take statements from witnesses.
You should also look for any security footage that may display the accident. Even if there are no businesses in the area with security cameras, some private residences may have security footage. Be sure to seek this out immediately, because this footage typically gets deleted every several days.
Special evidence to collect from commercial trucks
You must also request a couple of types of evidence from the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle. Depending on the nature of the driver’s relationship with the company that hired them, the driver may not own the truck. This is an important distinction.
First, ask the driver for their drivers’ logs. These are logs that the driver must keep detailing how often they stop to rest while on a haul. If the logs are inconclusive, or if they indicate that the driver drove for dangerously long times between rest periods, this may inform your claim.
You must also formally request the data from the truck’s electronic control module, or ECM. This data records the driving habits of the driver, and helps indicate patterns of behavior that may play a part in the accident, as well as malfunctions within the machinery itself that could contribute to an accident.
Don’t wait to request this information from the owner of the truck, because the truck owner also owns the data, and may destroy it until they receive a formal request.
Building your claim is not an easy process, but it is the only way to ensure that you have a good chance of recovering what you deserve from your accident. Be sure to protect your own interests and future well-being with a strong claim built on a variety of evidence.