According to the National Safety Council, approximately 112,000 truck accident related injuries were reported in 2018 in the United States. Preserving evidence after an accident is more important and complex in a truck accident as compared to other auto accidents. Multiple parties are involved in a truck accident and large trucking companies and manufacturers have expertise in dealing with claims made against them. If you suffered injuries related to a truck accident, learn how a Tennessee truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 can help you with preserving your important truck accident related evidence.
Multiple Parties Involved in a Truck Accident
Multiple parties may be involved in a truck accident and proving liability may not be a straightforward process. The responsible parties may include:
- A negligent, reckless, or drunk truck driver
- Trucking companies that fail to follow applicable laws
- Truck manufacturers for making defective or low quality trucks or truck-parts
- Truck maintenance companies that fail to properly maintain the truck
- Freight loading or cargo companies that fail to properly load the cargo
In many cases, these parties have the required expertise and resources required to defend themselves in truck accident claims made against them. Sometimes, they also try to shift the blame to the other party and do not accept liability.
Further, under Tennessee Law, a comparative negligence system is followed. This means that the court determines damages based on the percentage of negligence attributable to each party involved in the accident. If the victim is at 51% fault or more, then he or she may not be able to recover any damages. Truck accident cases can be incredibly complex and legally challenging.
Types of Compensation in a Truck Accident Case
Victims of a truck accident may have to bear catastrophic consequences. In Tennessee, the victims of a truck accident can file a personal injury claim for the harm caused to them due to someone else's negligence. The victims of a truck accident can potentially recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical and hospital bills including therapy and rehabilitation costs.
- Past and future loss of wages.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of limb or permanent bodily injury
- Wrongful death of a loved one
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact our legal team today to learn how a Tennessee truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm can help you in collecting and preserving important truck accident evidence to get the compensation you deserve.
Preserving Important Evidence in a Truck Accident
At the time of the truck accident, the victim may not be aware of the information that he or she should preserve. However, collecting and preserving such information after a truck accident can be critical for the plaintiff's case. Important evidence related to truck accidents include:
Trucks, just like airplanes, have a “blackbox” inside them which may provide necessary information regarding the accident. Also known as the Electronic Control Module (ECM), the black box provides information regarding the speed at which the truck was moving, the time when the brakes were applied, and other aspects of the engine. This information is vital in reconstructing the accident scene and can provide evidence regarding the truck driver's fault in the accident.
Trucker's Logging Information
Commercial vehicles such as trucks also contain an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) which logs the driver's hours-of-service. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in order to reduce the number of accidents caused due to fatigue, has established limits on the hours-of-service of truck drivers. A full breakdown of the FMCSA hours-of-service rules can be seen here. The information from the ELD can indicate whether the truck driver was fatigued or overworked before the accident.
Drugs and Alcohol Testing Reports
The FMCSA regulations also state that the truck driver must undergo a drug and alcohol test immediately after the accident. This information may help in proving that the driver's senses were impaired due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol.
Cell Phone Data
It is also important to retrieve cell phone records to prove distracted driving on part of the truck driver. The FMCSA regulations prohibit truck drivers from using a handheld mobile phone while driving.
Data from GPS devices present inside the vehicle or the driver's smartphone may also help in providing information regarding the location of the accident and other factors which may have caused the same.
Trucking Company Records
Internal records of the trucking company may provide necessary information related to the condition of the truck and the driver including maintenance records, driver's accident history, and training procedures.
It is necessary to collect and investigate information from third-party witnesses who were present at the accident site. Their testimony can further help in strengthening the victim's case.
If possible, the victim may use his or her smartphone to click pictures to prove the damage caused to both the vehicles involved. Pictures of any property damage including damage to lamp posts or street signs are also useful. Vital information such as the truck driver's insurance records can also be stored on a smartphone by the victim. All this information must be secured and backed up in order to avoid loss of evidence.
Additionally, a truck accident attorney can also issue a spoliation letter, collect important information from insurance companies, and may also hire an expert witness to help in the reconstruction of the accident scene.
Spoliation of Evidence
“Spoliation of evidence” is a legal term used for a situation where a party involved in the truck accident has either destroyed or failed to preserve the evidence that was necessary to prove fault. Trucking companies may destroy necessary evidence claiming that they were unaware of its importance. In most cases, an attorney will send a “spoliation setup letter” to the trucking company to ensure that no important data or evidence which may help the victim's case is destroyed.
Learn How a Tennessee Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You
Pursuing a legal claim and proving fault in a truck accident is a complex and lengthy process. The victim might not know the exact cause of the accident and therefore, may not be able to point liability towards any specific party. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact our legal team today to learn how a Tennessee truck accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 can help you in collecting and preserving important truck accident evidence.