The Importance of Getting a Lawyer Involved Early in a Trucking Accident Case
Personal injury lawsuits involving trucking companies are rarely direct or straightforward. Commercial truck accident claims are usually far more challenging than passenger vehicle claims when it comes to proving liability (fault) and damages.
An experienced truck accident attorney can help you obtain necessary evidence, such as the truck’s black box data, truck driver’s logs, the trucking company’s hiring and training records, and accident reconstructionist reports to prove fault and maximize your compensation.
Information Provided by a Truck’s Electronic Control Module
Electronic control modules (ECM) or event data recorders (EDR) in trucks perform a similar job as airplane black boxes. These devices store data regarding the physical properties of a truck at the time it was involved in an accident. The information provided by these devices can be useful in proving a claim.
A black box can be the primary source of information regarding a truck’s trip and physical characteristics right before the crash. This can be in the form of:
- Speed of the truck right before the accident.
- Whether there was any sudden acceleration or deceleration.
- Whether the driver applied brakes.
- Whether the truck driver used cruise control.
- Daily or monthly truck activity.
- Frequency of speeding (over 65 mph).
- Whether the truck driver was wearing a seatbelt.
- RPM between hard stops.
- Whether the truck’s airbag was deployed.
- Tire pressure.
- Frequency of accidents involving the truck.
- GPS location information.
Truck’s black box can also provide a wealth of information regarding mechanical problems with the truck or whether the driver took the required hours of rest in between. It may also contain communications between the trucking company and the trucker among other important admissions. An experienced attorney can compare the trucker’s log with data from the black box to determine whether the trucker was violating any HOS regulations.
Attorneys can Move Fast to Preserve Black Box Information in Florida
Trucking companies are known to lose data and information stored in the black box after too much time passes. Further, most companies will not provide you with this data voluntarily. It is important that you move quickly in hiring an experienced personal injury attorney that can gain access to the black box data as quickly as possible.
The attorney will send a spoliation letter advising the trucking company of your claim. The letter will also direct the company not to destroy any vital information that can be used as evidence.
Your Truck Injury Attorney Will Investigate the Accident Scene
The trucking company’s investigators and insurance company representatives typically don’t waste any time arriving at the accident site to collect evidence, talking to witnesses, and coaching the driver on the kind of story to put forward when asked by law enforcement authorities. You can be assured that this story will be thoroughly biased in the truck company’s favor.
You shouldn’t allow the trucking company to take advantage of you in this manner. You can protect your best interests by consulting with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Clearly, the first priority following an accident is to ensure that your loved ones are safe. However, you shouldn’t completely negate the possibility of legal action, especially where a loved one has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death. Any delay in the start of a claims process can potentially hamper your attorney’s ability to collect valuable evidence.
The first order of business is to obtain necessary evidence and send letters of spoliation. This makes it necessary that you hire an attorney as quickly as possible to prevent any relevant information from getting destroyed by the trucking company.
Importance of the Letter of Spoliation
Preserving evidence starts with sending a letter of spoliation to all the defendants getting sued. This document is drafted by attorneys to place all defendants on notice of a pending lawsuit. It also directs them not to destroy, conceal, alter, or tamper with any evidence related to the lawsuit without first seeking approval from the plaintiff’s attorney.
A spoliation letter is enforceable under the law and the trucking company that violates its terms and conditions is subject to severe court penalties.
Accident Reconstruction Experts Can Back Up Your Injury Claim
Experienced personal injury law firms have accident reconstruction experts on their teams. They can quickly gather and collect evidence by retaining the services of vehicular accident reconstruction. An accident reconstructionist may be sent to the accident site for measuring skid marks and performing inspections on both vehicles. The grade of the street will also be checked.
Witness statements provide invaluable information while reconstructing the events of a crash. If you call your attorney from the accident scene, they may be able to send someone to the crash site for taking witness details. Independent investigation of a crash site can result in significant physical evidence, which won’t be typically contained in a police report.
Get Legal Representation from a Reputable Pensacola, FL Truck Accident Firm
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, the seasoned attorneys at Whibbs, Stone & Barnett PA can help you maximize the settlement amount. We provide individual attention and solid legal representation to all our clients, and where necessary, we are prepared to go to trial to get you the rightful compensation.
To schedule your complimentary consultation, call 850-434-5395 or reach us online.