Due to their size and weight, a truck accident has the potential for much greater devastation than most other kinds of motor vehicle accidents. For victims of these crashes to get the compensation that they need and deserve, however, the fault for the accident must first be established.
A truck accident attorney will generally start to gather the following kinds of evidence to support their client's claims:
1. Police Reports
The police report on a wreck usually includes important information, including observations about the scene and any citations or violations issued to the parties involved for traffic violations.
2. Eyewitness Testimonies
Depositions from witnesses can provide valuable insight into the sequence of events. Eyewitness testimony can help establish whether the trucker was driving recklessly, following other vehicles too closely, rapidly changing lanes, or engaging in any other actions that contributed to the wreck.
3. Video Surveillance Footage
In today's world, many intersections, highways, and even vehicles are equipped with surveillance cameras or dashcams. Footage from these cameras can capture the accident as it happens, providing visual evidence that helps determine fault. Video evidence can also be useful in cases where the truck driver was engaged in distracted driving, such as texting or using a GPS device.
4. Black Box Data Reports
Commercial trucks are often equipped with electronic control modules (ECMs), commonly known as "black boxes." These devices record data related to the truck's speed, braking, and sudden accelerations. Black box data can provide crucial evidence regarding the truck driver's actions and behaviors leading up to the accident, such as excessive speeding.
5. Driver Logs
Truck drivers are required to maintain logs of their driving activities, including hours of service, rest breaks, and mileage. Reviewing these records can help determine if the truck driver complied with the regulations on maximum driving hours and rest periods. Violations of these regulations can indicate driver fatigue, which could have contributed to the accident.
6. Maintenance Records
Records of regular maintenance, repairs, and inspections can be examined to determine if the truck was in a safe condition at the time of the accident. Negligence or failure to address known mechanical issues could indicate the trucking company's fault.
7. Accident Reconstruction
Accident reconstruction experts may be called upon to analyze the evidence and provide a professional opinion on the sequence of events and the actions of the truck driver.
It's important to note that fault determination can be a complex process, and each accident is unique. If you're involved in a truck wreck, it's wisest to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer.