Collecting Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim
To secure compensation after a truck accident, you must prove another party was at fault for the collision. Establishing fault requires a wide range of evidence, particularly because numerous parties from the trucking industry may be liable for a crash. Accident victims can help their legal claims by collecting initial proof from the crash scene. However, preserving other types of evidence usually requires the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck crash, talk to a lawyer at Swenson & Shelley today. We can get started on your case immediately to ensure that crucial evidence is not lost, erased, or falsified. Call or contact us now for a free case review.
Evidence Crash Victims Can Collect on Their Own
You can lay the groundwork for a solid truck accident claim by gathering evidence at the accident scene and in the weeks and months afterward. Valuable pieces of evidence that you can collect include:
- Accident scene photos or videos – Take pictures and videos of the crash site, but only if you can. Get shots of vehicle damage, skid marks, traffic signals, and weather and road conditions. Don’t stress if your injuries prevent you from getting photos. An attorney can work to obtain information from other sources.
- Witness statements and contact information – Talk to bystanders who witnessed the truck accident. Record a brief statement from the witnesses and get their contact information in case your lawyer needs to interview them later.
- Police accident report – The police officer who responded to the accident will write an official report detailing the time, date, location, and description of the collision. The police report may also include the officer’s initial determination of fault.
- Medical records – Request copies of your accident-related medical records if you can. You can also authorize your truck accident attorney to request them, but healthcare providers may be prompter if you initiate the process.
- Bills, invoices, receipts, and pay stubs – These records will help you prove your expenses and financial losses from the accident.
Truck accident victims can also obtain compensation for non-financial losses such as pain and suffering. But how can you place a dollar value on an intangible loss like emotional distress? A lawyer can collect evidence to estimate your case value.
Don’t Create Negative Evidence
It’s essential to collect evidence. However, it’s equally important not to gather evidence that can be used against you. Follow these tips:
- Don’t admit fault or apologize for the crash. While you might want to offer sympathy by saying, “I’m sorry,” the insurance company may twist your statement to argue you are at fault for the accident.
- Do not discuss the truck accident, your injuries, or your legal claim on social media. The trucking company or its insurer may search your social media profile for evidence to use to undercut your claim. If you say you suffered debilitating injuries but post photos or videos of yourself traveling or playing sports, you may destroy your credibility and your case.
- Do not provide an oral or written statement to the insurance company. Insurance adjusters ask loaded questions and may manipulate your answers if you give a statement without a lawyer’s help. If you already hired a truck accident attorney, direct the trucking company or its insurer to your lawyer instead of you.
Evidence Truck Accident Victims Need a Lawyer to Help Them Preserve
Truck accidents are complex legal claims, due in part to the volume of evidence needed to build a strong case. Because truck accident cases often pit private individuals against corporate entities, accident victims may struggle to obtain certain kinds of proof without legal help. Examples include:
- Truck electronic data recorders – Modern commercial motor vehicles have two types of electronic data collection systems. The first is a logging device that tracks the truck driver’s hours on duty to ensure the driver’s compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations. The second is an event data recorder or “black box” that monitors the truck’s operation. Together, these data systems can provide valuable information about the driver and truck in the moments leading up to the accident.
- Truck inspection and maintenance records – Truckers and trucking companies have inspection requirements, and truck owners must keep records of maintenance performed on the vehicle. These records can show if the truck had some mechanical problem that might have contributed to the crash.
- The truck driver’s cell phone records – Records from the cell phone company might show if the truck driver was distracted by a text or phone call at the time of the crash.
Is Preserving Evidence a Police Job?
Unless law enforcement decides to arrest the truck driver or someone else for a crime related to the accident, police typically will not preserve evidence from a crash scene. However, officers who respond to the accident will document some critical evidence in an accident report. The police accident report should contain evidence like summaries of witness statements, a diagram of the crash scene, and potentially even photographs.
How Does the Insurance Company Use the Evidence?
After the insurance company gathers evidence from a truck accident, it will review the information to determine what happened. By creating a timeline of events, the insurer will try to identify the party(s) at fault for the wreck. In some cases, insurance companies and lawyers may consult with accident reconstruction experts who will review the evidence and prepare a written report, diagrams, or animations to offer opinions about how the crash happened and who is responsible.
Call a Reliable Truck Accident Attorney for Help Now
At Swenson & Shelley, we know a truck accident can turn your life upside down. Let us take the burden of filing an injury claim off your shoulders. Our Utah truck accident lawyers can prepare a strong case for maximum compensation for you. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.
Our experienced attorneys understand that collecting evidence in a truck accident claim is the most important part of your case. Call our office today.