What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Claim for a Truck Accident?
If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a truck, then there’s a good chance you’re entitled to compensation if the accident wasn’t fully, or even partially, your fault. Contact a truck accident attorney to see if you can make an accident claim. You may be dealing with a personal injury case.
Is the Truck Driver or Trucking Company Liable in a Truck Accident Claim?
Both the truck driver and trucking company may be held liable in a truck accident case. A truck accident lawyer will generally do a thorough investigation to determine liability. Sometimes multiple parties may be held liable for an accident when you make a truck accident claim. An experienced attorney will likely use many types of evidence when determining liability.
When the Truck Driver Is Responsible
The truck driver may be responsible for the crash if they were being negligent or engaging in harmful behavior while driving. For example, the truck driver may be liable if they were:
- Using their cell phone
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Ignoring road signs
- Following too closely
- Driving aggressively
When the Trucking Company Is Liable
Trucking companies must adhere to certain regulations when hiring their drivers. All companies in the trucking industry have to adhere to these regulations. If the company ignores guidelines set out by the Motor Carrier Safety Administration, then the company may be liable or partially liable in your personal injury accident claim.
The trucking company may also be liable if they neglected to:
- Appropriately vet their driver
- Let the driver take adequate breaks
- Supply a safe vehicle
- Hire a driver with CDL endorsement
- Properly maintain the truck
The company is responsible for adhering to the rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding any commercial vehicle. The company is generally also responsible for the truck’s maintenance.
Finally, trucking companies are supposed to ensure their truck drivers are licensed and trained adequately to do the job. If the trucking company did not take proper care regarding the driver or the truck, then the company may be partially at fault for any truck accidents caused by the driver’s shortcomings or the poor maintenance of the commercial truck.
What Kind of Evidence Do I Need to Support My Case?
Going up against companies can be tough, so you need solid evidence to back up your claim. Many types of evidence may be helpful in your case, and working with an experienced attorney should help you obtain the right evidence to support your injury claim.
The police may preserve evidence you may use to support your claim, too, and your attorney may gather evidence of their own. You’ll need adequate evidence if you wish to recover compensation.
A Copy of the Police Report
You or your attorney may ask for a copy of the police report. The other driver, their attorney, and the insurance company may also request a copy of the police report after a truck accident.
The report will likely have details of everything that happened in the lead-up to the incident based on accounts from you and the other driver. The accident report will also usually contain information regarding the accident scene.
Police reports will likely also contain vital information such as insurance information and the details of everyone involved in the incident.
Truck accidents often cause severe injuries. You’ll need to prove that you sustained a physical injury in the incident if you wish to make an injury claim. You may need to provide medical records to prove that your physical injuries did not exist before the accident happened.
Evidence of Property Damage
Truck accidents may lead to both the truck and the other vehicle becoming severely damaged. If your property was damaged during the incident, then you need to provide evidence of this damage if you wish to pursue compensation for it.
Security Camera Footage
Footage from nearby security cameras may show what happened in the lead-up to the accident. Video footage is often very helpful in truck accident claims. Your truck accident lawyer may be able to obtain a copy of footage from cameras near the scene of the accident, as this is often crucial evidence.
If you or the trucker had a dashcam, then this footage may also be used to piece together a timeline of what happened leading up to the accident. You need to preserve evidence, so never delete your dashcam footage after a crash.
Photographs and Videos of the Scene
There’ll likely be photographs and videos of the accident scene in the police report. However, if you or your passengers took any, then it would be a good idea to give these to your attorney. Your attorney may also wish to revisit the accident scene to take photos and videos themselves.
There may be physical evidence at the scene, such as evidence that there was debris in the road that led to the accident. Skid marks at the accident scene may also help piece together what happened when the crash occurred.
The Trucker’s Cell Phone Records
If the trucker was distracted at the time of the incident, then the trucker’s cell phone records may be used to show this. If the trucker was on the phone at the time of the accident, then it indicates they were not paying adequate attention to the road. This is good evidence to have when building your case.
Truck Inspection Reports and Truck Maintenance Records
Neglecting the truck’s maintenance is incredibly dangerous. Large trucks need proper maintenance so they remain safe and road ready. If they’re not maintained properly, then it may lead to a mechanical failure that can lead to accidents.
The truck’s inspection reports and records of maintenance will likely be used as evidence if the accident was caused by some kind of failure in the truck.
Statements from other people involved in the accident and statements from witnesses of the accident will likely be very helpful when forming a complete picture of what happened. Witnesses may include those driving other vehicles and those walking by at the time of the incident. You and the other party involved will generally give statements, too.
Expert witnesses may also weigh in and give statements regarding the truck’s maintenance, the conditions at the time of the accident, and other details relevant to the case. If other drivers were involved in the accident, then they’ll generally give statements, too.
Alcohol and Drug Testing Results
If the trucker was found to be intoxicated at the time of the accident, then results of alcohol and drug tests may be used to prove the trucker was in no fit state to drive. This is essential evidence if you’re trying to prove that the trucker’s intoxication contributed to the incident.
Evidence of the Driver’s Qualifications
If the trucker was not properly trained or qualified, then this is important evidence to have. Your attorney may gather evidence of the trucker’s qualifications and training. Your lawyer may also obtain copies of the trucker’s driving records to see if they have a history of accidents.
Trucking Company Policies
The trucking company’s policies regarding hiring drivers, training drivers, and maintaining trucks may be used as evidence in the case, depending on the circumstances. Operating large trucks isn’t easy, so the company should have hiring policies that prevent unqualified individuals from driving them.
If the trucking company hasn’t been following its own policy, then that can be helpful evidence when holding the company liable for the accident. If the policies don’t mention anything about the driver’s qualifications or how well the trucks must be maintained, then this is also important evidence.
The policy must also reflect that the company adheres to federal regulations laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Win After a Truck Accident?
If you work with an experienced truck accident attorney, then there’s a good chance you’ll recover a good amount of compensation after the accident. Truck accident claims often pay out large sums, but you’ll need excellent legal representation to help you recover compensation from the other party and the company employing them.
The cost of treating your injuries caused by the accident should be covered. You may be reimbursed for treatment you’ve already paid for, and your future medical treatment may be covered in your settlement.
Lost Wages and Earning Potential
If you’ll be unable to return to full-time work in the future, then you may be reimbursed for your lost earning potential. You’ll also likely receive a sum intended to reimburse you for the time you had to take off work while recovering from any serious injuries you sustained in the accident.
The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle is often covered after an accident. The cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle’s contents may also be covered.
You’ll likely be awarded a sum intended to cover your emotional trauma. The more emotional trauma you have, the higher that sum will generally be. If, for example, you’ve been left with a lifelong disability that diminished your quality of life, led to depression, and made you lose your enjoyment of life, then the amount you could win in emotional damages may be quite high.
If the truck driver’s actions were grossly negligent, or if the driver was acting with malice, then you may be awarded punitive damages. Your truck accident lawyer will generally be able to determine whether or not punitive damages may apply in your case. Punitive damages aren’t awarded after all truck accidents, but it’s possible to be awarded these damages if your attorney gathers the necessary evidence to show you’re entitled to them.
Contact Brian C. Gutierrez for a free consultation if you’ve been involved in a truck accident and wish to make a truck accident claim. Call us at 979-271-5338. We may be able to help you hold negligent truck drivers and trucking companies liable, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and win you a settlement that covers your damages. You can also read other truck accidents blog posts on our website.
Experienced Semi Truck Accident Attorney in Bryan, TX & College Station.
If you need a trucking accident attorney in Bryan, TX or College Station, contact Brian C. Gutierrez, PLLC for experienced representation.
Our semi truck accident lawyer in Bryan, TX can help you build a strong case. We will obtain the crash report, conduct our own investigation, gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, inspect the tractor-trailer, and if necessary, file a lawsuit and subpoena records to prove the negligence of the truck driver and the carrier.
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