There is a variety of vital evidence that should be obtained and preserved in a truck accident lawsuit before the trucking company destroys it. Crucial pieces of evidence for a truck accident lawyer to obtain include:
The Black Box or Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR)
The Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) or black box inside the truck keeps track of events and diagnostic information both prior to, in the midst of, and after a truck accident.
Inspecting the Truck Itself
A complete inspection of the truck is important for a comprehensive understanding of all the possible causes of a truck accident. A trucking safety engineering expert should examine the truck including the tires, engine, transmission, and other vital components. A review of maintenance and repair records alongside a contemporaneous inspection of the mechanical state of the vehicle involved in the crash can prove invaluable. An experienced truck accident attorney will work with various liability experts including engineers, accident reconstruction specialists, and vehicle inspectors to obtain as much information as possible. Using inspection data from the vehicle inspection, the black box information, and documentary evidence, an accident reconstruction expert can pinpoint how the crash occurred, where the vehicles were positioned prior to the crash, the speed of the vehicles, how much distance they traveled, and other crucial data.
The Accident Scene
Just as important as investigating the vehicle is a thorough investigation of the accident scene. Examples of helpful accident scene evidence include:
photos of the location of accident
accident debris such as pieces of the truck or vehicle that fell off during the crash
photographs of damage to vehicles, skid marks, and other post-accident evidence
Discovery: Witness Statements and Depositions
The trucking company’s insurance carrier will usually dispatch a team of investigators within hours if not minutes after a crash. Their job is to obtain evidence to show the truck driver was not at fault and the other driver was to blame. Important witnesses include the truck driver, passengers or eyewitnesses to the accident, police, and ambulance personnel.
Important truck accident litigation evidence includes:
Evidence showing the weight of the truck and its load
Bills of Lading
Dispatch Instructions and Information
Delivery invoices and information
Many documents are required to be kept by a trucking company pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety rules and regulations. Some documents may only be kept for six months and then destroyed. It is very important to immediately hire a truck accident attorney to preserve and obtain all vital evidence.