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The Importance of Prompt Action: Preserving Evidence After a Truck Accident

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A large truck on the road.
March 18, 2024

Evidence is like links of a chain. The more proof your lawyers can join together, the stronger your personal injury claim becomes. In other words, evidence can prove or disprove a truck accident case.

Suppose there is an abundance of evidence at the accident scene of a big rig crash. This crucial support for your claim is only useful if you gather and preserve it.

Accident victims and those who cause truck crashes sometimes feel helpless. Yet, you can preserve evidence related to your case. Doing so will equip your skilled personal injury attorney to defend your rights and protect your interests.

Why Act Quickly to Preserve Evidence for Your Claim

You can never have too much evidence. Gathering a wide variety of proof goes a long way in proving negligence. 

Did you realize that time can adversely affect valuable evidence? The following subheadings will discuss how to collect valuable information for your claim. In addition, you will learn how to preserve evidence so it is available to the lawyers building your case.

Take photos and videos

Most people are familiar with the idea of taking pictures after a truck crash. Yet, a few quick snaps of the damaged vehicles is not enough. You might want to take videos and photographs of other evidence, including:

  • Tire marks: Yaw marks are scuffs made by rotating and sliding wheels. Tires leave skid marks when a car starts or stops moving very quickly. Skid and yaw marks can determine the speed and direction of the involved vehicles and whether wheels locked during the accident. 
  • Missing signs, markings, or street lights: Faded lane dividers, broken street lights, and missing signage can inhibit your ability to drive safely. Letting your lawyer know about problems you experienced while driving will help them to consider all factors related to your truck accident. 
  • Road surface conditionsStudies indicate that road conditions influence how fast you can slow down, thus affecting braking distance, stability, and the risk of hydroplaning. Consider documenting buckled or broken pavement, potholes, and puddles that played a role in the crash. You can also photograph damaged guardrails, barriers, dropped cargo, fluid stains, and vehicle debris. 
  • General pictures of the scene: The contributing factors of vehicle accidents are not always apparent to the untrained eye. Accident reconstruction experts can look for clues in the road layout that impact the driver’s ability to judge the speed of oncoming traffic or the presence of safety hazards. 

Take photographs immediately at the accident scene if possible. Otherwise, what happens over time? As more vehicles pass through the area, weather changes, and evidence from your truck wreck is swept away; you could lose valuable proof for your truck accident claim.

What if you are injured after the crash and you cannot gather evidence yourself? Ask someone else, like an unharmed passenger or passerby, to gather the essential proof. 

Collect and save eyewitness testimony 

A first-person account is like a vital piece of a puzzle. Of course, drivers and passengers can relate what they remember. Yet, the testimony of objective third parties is often considered more reliable than truck drivers or other accident victims.

Why is the word of third parties so valuable? These neutral eyewitnesses do not have a financial stake in the truck accident. 

Anyone who saw or heard the collision is a potential eyewitness, including:

  • Other uninvolved motorists
  • Pedestrians
  • Residents of the area
  • Employees and guests of nearby businesses

If the eyewitness is willing, record his or her side of the story. If not, try to get the account in writing since people tend to forget details. Remember to ask for each witness’s full name and contact information so your lawyers can contact those people later. 

A Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Can Preserve Evidence

Beyond the basics, what other documentation might be essential for accident liability claims? Answering this question is complex. Even if you know what you need, securing that evidence might be challenging, especially while recovering from your truck accident injuries.

Personal injury attorneys can help. Law firms like Hoffspiegel Law have decades of experience preserving evidence and proving negligence cases. Let’s learn about some critical evidence that lawyers can use to build your case for compensation.

Police reports

Georgia law requires you to report any crash resulting in death, injury, or property damage of $500 to traffic authorities. This police report can be very helpful when you file a legal claim. A truck driver can lose his commercial driver’s license (CDL) for failure to report an accident while on duty. 

An attorney can also seek out transcripts and audio recordings from 911 calls, results of alcohol or drug screening tests, and other evidence collected by police investigators. 

Medical records

Tractor-trailer accidents can cause catastrophic injuries which generate thousands of dollars in healthcare costs. A common tactic of insurance companies is to claim that the injured party is exaggerating the severity of his or her injuries. Statements from doctors and medical bills help prove that the compensation you are demanding for your medical care is fair. 

Data from electronic logging devices (ELD)

Years ago, a truck driver might record events from his or her route. Trucking companies would manually review these reports to handle issues, keep pay logs, and perform other duties for their business.

Accident-related information can be crucial evidence in personal injury accident cases. 

And these days, technology can make things easier. If a trucking company installs an ELD, the device can track, record, and share data like driving time and hours that semi-trucks are in service. Passenger cars also might be equipped with event data recorders (EDR), commonly known as black boxes. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), EDRS might preserve critical evidence, such as:

  • The vehicle dynamics and system status before the crash
  • Driver input
  • The vehicle crash signature
  • The status and deployment of restraints (such as seatbelts and airbags)
  • Actions that occurred after the accident (via activation of automatic collision notification systems like OnStar, OnCall, and Bluelink+)

Even parked cars might record data. Your lawyer can help you collect electronic evidence to prove your liability claim.

Maintenance records 

Trucking companies should regularly inspect and maintain their tractor-trailers. They must address issues promptly if they find mechanical concerns or vehicle damage. The truck should be taken out of service for serious issues until repairs are complete.

Maintenance records can reveal whether or not a trucking company properly cared for its fleet. You can hold the company responsible for its negligence when mechanical trouble has led to a preventable truck crash.

Spoliation letters 

Unfortunately, some people and companies will use unscrupulous methods to ensure injured victims do not obtain compensation. They might even hide or destroy proof of their negligence.

There is a legal remedy for dealing with those who try to pervert justice. Your legal counsel can prepare a formal, written request called a spoliation letter. This document legally requires the recipient to preserve critical truck accident evidence. 

Well-Informed Accident Victims Act Fast 

After an accident, a trucking company and its attorneys will likely take immediate measures to handle potential personal injury claims. Now that you understand the importance of prompt action, the next step is to do your part to protect your interests.

The attorneys of Hoffspiegel Law can help you with everything from dealing with an unaccommodating insurance company to handling paperwork required by law authorities. While we handle the stressful details of personal claims, truck crash victims can focus on recovering from their injuries.

Your deserved compensation is too important to lose due to loss of evidence. Why not put our resourceful, experienced lawyers to work? Our fees are 100-percent contingency, so our clients pay when we win money for their claims. You don’t need to pay a dime upfront.

Schedule your free consultation now. Contact our legal warriors at (404) 760-8600 or click the Contact Us button 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.