Gathering evidence is one of the most critical parts of any truck accident case. The importance of trucking accident evidence in the success of your civil claim cannot be overstated. Without clear and convincing proof establishing the truck driver or their employer’s liability, you cannot obtain fair compensation for your damages. At Stabinski Law, our experienced and dedicated truck accident lawyers can help you gather all the evidence you need by conducting a comprehensive investigation into the crash and looking for proof of any violations of trucking and safety regulations. Schedule a free consultation with our Florida truck accident attorneys by calling 305-643-3100.
10 Critical Trucking Accident Evidence
After a trucking accident, you need all the evidence you can gather to be able to prove that the other party’s negligence or reckless conduct caused your injury. Some of the most important pieces of evidence in truck accident cases include:
- The truck itself. Depending on the severity of the crash, the truck might be inoperable. In that situation, the trucking company would need towing company services. However, if the damage to the vehicle is not significant, the company might repair it and put it back on the road within a few days. For this reason, it is imperative to take pictures of the truck wreckage at the scene of the accident because there may not be a second chance to do that once the truck leaves the scene.
- A police report. After any motor vehicle accident, a police report plays a fundamental role in the success of the injured party’s insurance claim. Truck accidents are no exception. Police reports contain valuable information that could be used to establish fault.
- Photos from the scene of the crash and witness statements. The evidence you collect at the scene of your truck accident can impact your ability to receive the compensation to which you are entitled in the long run. Take photos of vehicle damage, the position of the vehicles, skid marks on the road, your injuries, and other relevant details. Photos can preserve the scene of the crash. It is equally important to write down the names and contact information of witnesses because their statements can drive your personal injury claim toward success.
- Driver logs. There are strict regulations that govern what drivers can and cannot do when they are on the road, including the number of consecutive hours on duty. A driver’s logbook will contain information such as the total number of miles driven in a 24-hour period, the number of on-duty and off-duty hours, and many more. Driver logs can reveal violations of hours of service (HOS) and other regulations.
- Vehicle inspection reports. Trucking companies are legally required to perform regular vehicle inspections to ensure that they put safe vehicles on the road. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations § 396.3, motor carriers must regularly inspect and maintain all vehicles in their control. While vehicle inspection reports might show evidence of the lack of inspection or inadequate maintenance, you might need the help of an attorney to access these records. Contact our trucking accident lawyers at Stabinski Law to get assistance with obtaining access to the trucking company’s reports and records.
- The trucking company’s compliance records. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is required to keep records of any complaints or compliance issues related to trucking companies. You might need access to these records to show a pattern of violations in order to prove negligence in your case.
- The driver’s cell phone records. Cell phone records could be a critical piece of trucking accident evidence if you suspect that the truck driver was using their phone when the collision occurred. In Florida, it is unlawful for any driver who operates a motor vehicle to manually type any letters or characters into a wireless communication device (Fla. Stat. § 316.305).
- The truck driver’s records. Trucking companies are required to check drivers’ driving records before hiring them. These records, which contain the driver’s history of violations, could be helpful in proving a trucker’s tendency to disobey traffic laws or act negligently.
- The driver’s alcohol and drug testing. Federal law requires commercial vehicle drivers to undergo alcohol or drug testing when a crash involves fatalities or the driver receives a citation for a moving traffic violation resulting in injuries or property damage requiring a vehicle to be towed from the scene of the crash.
- Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) data. If the truck was equipped with an Electronic On-Board Recorder, the recorder’s data could provide invaluable data regarding the vehicle’s speed, braking, total hours driven, and many more. The data could be used to help prove the trucker’s negligence or violations of trucking regulations.
Spoliation of Evidence
Federal law requires trucking companies to keep some of the above data and records for a specific period of time. Under the trucking industry regulations, motor carriers must retain drivers’ records for six months.
However, some motor carriers may try to destroy or tamper with trucking accident evidence to avoid liability. To prevent the trucking company from intentionally tampering with the evidence, a lawyer representing the injured party can send a letter warning the motor carrier against destroying or altering the evidence. The letter is known as the “spoliation of evidence” letter.
If evidence ended up being destroyed after the motor carrier received a spoliation of evidence letter, the court would assume that the evidence was unfavorable to the trucking company and consider this factor when deciding who is at fault.
An experienced trucking accident lawyer could help preserve evidence following a truck crash by sending a spoliation of evidence letter. Gathering and preserving evidence after a trucking accident can be the key to a successful personal injury claim.
Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
If you sustained injuries in a trucking accident, the importance of building a strong claim cannot be overstated. Consider contacting a knowledgeable trucking accident lawyer to help you conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, obtain access to relevant records, and gather all available trucking accident evidence. Contact Stabinski Law to evaluate your particular case and determine your legal options. Call 305-643-3100.