To give you the best chance at winning your accident claim, it’s important that your lawyer starts an investigation as soon as possible. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can start collecting the evidence outlined below.
What Evidence Do I Need After a Truck Accident?
Duty logs, computer data, and accident scene documentation are only a portion of the evidence your Texas truck accident lawyer will use to recover the largest available damages award in your case. Other evidence that your lawyer might rely upon includes:
- Police reports: Make sure you file a police report with the law enforcement authorities in the jurisdiction where your accident occurred. You and your lawyer will scrutinize that report to verify that it accurately describes the events that gave rise to the accident.
- Drug and alcohol tests: If Texas accident investigators suspect the truck driver was impaired, they may require drug and alcohol testing immediately after the accident. You and your attorney have a right to see a copy of that report.
- Truck inspection reports: The truck’s owners or operators will often have files and other details showing when the truck was inspected. Those files may contain important information on the cause of the accident.
- Expert witness testimony: Your lawyer may commission an accident reconstruction expert or other professional witnesses to create a detailed description of the truck crash.
Access to the Tractor-Trailer’s Record of Duty Log
The “record of duty” is one of the key pieces of evidence that your attorney will collect as soon as possible after your accident with a tractor-trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that all truck drivers and trucking companies maintain records of duty for up to 6 months. Records of duty contain crucial information that might make the difference in a negligence claim. The log will show a driver’s route, a list of stops made during a trip, and other details that could determine if the driver was speeding or at fault in another way.
A record of duty also shows how long a driver had been operating the tractor-trailer at a given time. Generally speaking, commercial drivers can legally operate their vehicle for a maximum of 11 hours, and they must have 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time between each trip. Your attorney will want to examine the record of duty to see if the driver was in compliance with this requirement. Fatigue often plays a role in tractor-trailer accidents in Texas, so it’s imperative to determine if a truck driver had enough rest.
Computer Data From the Tractor Trailer
Many tractor-trailers have electronic modules (also known as black boxes) that can impart crucial information about an accident. It’s imperative that an attorney obtains a copy of the data from the black box. This should be done immediately following an accident; otherwise it may be too late, as the black box can become unavailable or data can be lost.
Sometimes, if a tractor-trailer is put into service again following an accident, new data can override pertinent information. Failing to obtain the data from a black box may mean losing critical evidence in a personal injury claim.
Documentation From the Scene of the Accident
If you’ve been in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you should gather a quick-response team (including an attorney) to document the scene. You will want someone to:
- Video the collision site
- Take photographs and measurements
- Obtain witness statements
- Gather witness contact information
- Locate nearby surveillance video footage
The defense will likely send their quick-response team to the site immediately. Thus, it’s very important you have someone there to make sure the accident is documented objectively. Obtaining fresh evidence and documentation can be the deciding factor for success in a case. Without it, you may lose your claim.
It’s imperative that you select a qualified, professional and experienced attorney after an accident involving a tractor-trailer. A good lawyer who works exclusively in auto accidents and personal injury cla
Important Evidence to Gather After the Tractor Trailer Crash
You can help your truck accident lawyer to prove your claims and to collect the damages you deserve by retaining evidence that will be largely under your control:
- Medical records describing your injuries: Even if you do not believe you sustained any injuries, you should still have a thorough medical examination immediately after a truck accident. This is to rule out arguments that intervening events caused your injuries.
- Property damage assessments: Insurance adjusters, auto body shops, and accident analysts generally prepare thorough reports of the full extent of all truck accident property damage.
- Accident Scene documentation: If your injuries do not preclude you from collecting evidence at the accident scene, you should take photographs of damaged vehicles and the accident scene, request contact information from witnesses, and make contemporaneous notes about weather and traffic conditions at the time of the crash.
- Other evidence of hard costs associated with your injuries: This evidence includes paystubs to show your lost wages, receipts for services you need to recover from injuries, and other direct expenses that you would not have incurred if you had not suffered injuries in the crash.
In every truck accident lawsuit, the defendant’s attorneys will also be entitled to request, collect, and present evidence to rebut your damages claims. Anything you say about the accident can be fair game, including social media posts. Your best course of action is to refrain from making any statements about the accident on social media.
Contact a Fort Worth Truck Accident Attorney Immediately After the Accident
You deserve the best opportunity to collect the full measure of damages you are entitled to recover after an accident. So, do not hesitate to retain a diligent and hardworking Fort Worth truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.