Proving Liability Through Strong Evidence
Dealing with the aftermath of a serious truck accident can be heartbreaking. Not only will you need to treat serious or potentially life-threatening injuries, but you also need to figure out who should be held responsible for the damages in order to file an injury claim.
Most victims of a truck accident immediately point to the truck driver as being responsible. However, the driver may not be the only one who is liable. In some situations, more than one party may be responsible, which can have a significant impact on the outcome of your claim.
Potential third-party culprits may include:
- The driver’s employer. The driver’s boss may have negligently ordered the driver to continue his route without adequate sleep or breaks.
- A contractor. The contractor may have put an impossible deadline on the driver, causing him to drive erratically.
- The shipping company. The driver’s cargo may have been improperly stacked, causing weight shifts and instability that lead to the loss of control.
- The maintenance team. The truck itself may have had flaws that lead to the accident that should have been attended to before the driver got behind the wheel.
Of course, in most cases, you may find that the truck driver was negligent. Negligence can stem from a variety of causes such as driver fatigue, violation of traffic laws, speeding, aggressive driving, and tailgating.
While finding more than one party liable can result in a more complicated claim, it also may lead to more compensation. Unfortunately, some of this evidence is hard to obtain without the help of an attorney; that is why it is important for you to seek legal counsel shortly after your accident.
Essential Evidence Needed for a Strong Claim
The average person might not be aware of the different types of records and data that can help in building a strong case. However, an attorney knows this and will do everything he can to obtain that evidence. The three most substantial pieces of evidence you need to obtain are: witness testimonies, video footage, and documentation.
Clear statements from unbiased onlookers can go a long way in piecing together what happened and what caused the accident. Furthermore, expert testimonies from physicians (about your injuries), professional truckers (about how the situation could have been handled), and mechanics (about the state of the truck’s maintenance) can all shed light on the accidents impact as well as explain what may have caused the collision.
Although the idea that there is a camera pointed at you on every corner may be a little unnerving, in situations where you need to prove liability, cameras are your friend. Cameras mounted at an intersection or nearby buildings can show different angles of the collision in order to illustrate a clearer picture of what happened and who was to blame.
Any documents, records, or paperwork related to your accident and injuries could potentially be important to your case. Two sources of records that can be very useful for your claim is the truck’s black box electronic control module (also called the “black box”), and the trucker’s logbook.
The black box stores vital information (engine RPMs, truck’s speed, position of the brake pedal, position of the accelerator, etc.) that occurs before, during, and after a truck accident.
The driver’s logbook can provide important information, such as how many hours the driver was on the road and the distance he traveled. Since there are regulations in place that mandate how long a driver can operate the truck, the truck company may destroy this information if the driver was driving longer than allowed.
Additional documentation, such as inspection, maintenance, and repair reports; records of driver’s training, experience, and violations; police accident reports; and medical records can also be used as significant resources to convince the judge, jury, and insurance company of negligence and liability.
Is the Evidence Stored Securely?
This information is vital to proving who was at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, unless there is a legal order to preserve the evidence, it may easily be lost or destroyed. There have been incidents when black box evidence has been deleted or overridden, logbooks have been misplaced, and other sources of evidence misplaced. For this reason, it is important to gather and secure the information you need as quickly as possible.
Putting Your Evidence to Work
In addition to helping you gather the appropriate documentation and evidence, an experienced truck accident attorney can ensure that the evidence is used in your favor. Attorney Steve Lee has over two decades’ worth of experience helping truck accident victims secure their claims and get the compensation they need for their injuries. Shouldn’t you want the same devotion and dedication? Call our office today at 713-921-4171 or fill out our convenient contact form to set up your free consultation and see what we can do for you.