Police reports, medical records, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and the driver’s logbook are crucial pieces of evidence in proving negligence in a big rig accident case. Other pieces of evidence can also be beneficial to support your claim.
Evidence to Obtain Specifically in a Big Rig Accident
Proving fault is essential to receive compensation, which is why gathering sufficient evidence to demonstrate the elements of negligence is important. Some pieces of evidence that are specific to big rig accidents and can help prove there was a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations include:
Each truck driver is expected to log vital information, such as how long they drove before taking a rest break and how long their break was. This information will show whether or not the hours of service regulation was violated. Hours of service refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty including driving time, and specific number and length of rest periods to ensure drivers are alert and awake.
It is important to verify the logbook to ensure it has not been falsified. Comparing gas, food, and lodging receipts can help determine when breaks really happened.
Black Box Data
The black box records various types of data and driving habits, such as how fast the truck was going, whether the trucker applied their brakes, steering changes, if a seat belt was on, how long they drove without a break, and more. This data can be downloaded by the trucking company or law enforcement or lawyers who need the information to determine who is at fault or what caused the incident.
Trucking companies must follow FMCSA rules on truck maintenance which require routine inspection, repair, and maintenance of the truck. According to the FMCSA, the following records should be in each truck:
- An identification of the vehicle, including company number (if so marked), make, serial number, year, and tire size. If the motor vehicle is not owned by the motor carrier of passengers, the record must identify the party providing or leasing the vehicle.
- A means to show the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed.
- A record of inspection, repairs, and maintenance showing their date and type.
- A record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses.
Reviewing maintenance records can help determine if the trucking company complied with these requirements.
If improper loading of the cargo was the reason for your truck collision, you will need records to file a liability claim with their insurance company.
Truck Driver File and Records
The driver’s file from the trucking company can give information as to if the driver was qualified to drive the big rig and if he or she was involved in any other accidents in the past.
Requesting drug and alcohol records is also an important piece of evidence. This can determine if the driver has any history of substance use or was intoxicated when your collision happened.
Collecting evidence from a trucking company can be complicated and overwhelming. A personal injury lawyer can help obtain the proper documents needed to prove negligence in a big rig accident in Florida.
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Typical Evidence to Gather after an Accident
After a personal injury accident, there are common types of documentation that are important to collect. Some evidence will need to be collected at the scene of the accident, while other documentation will need to be collected throughout the process of dealing with the aftermath of the accident. Some examples include:
- Witness statements: If there were any eyewitnesses that saw the accident happen, it is important to get their contact information before leaving the scene. Their statement can be crucial for you when dealing with insurance companies.
- Pictures of the accident scene: If you are able to take any pictures of the damages to vehicles, road conditions, tread marks on the road, etc. it can be very helpful. This information can be helpful if expert witnesses are able to recreate the scene to help prove your case.
- A Police report: A police report includes driver statements, any traffic citations, and details of how the accident happened. This can be a vital piece of information proving the driver or trucking company is liable for causing the accident.
- Medical records and bills: Medical records and bills will help to prove the severity of your injuries and how the accident has impacted your life. It is important you know what your treatment plan will entail in order for you to recover and fully know the amount you need for compensation.
A personal injury lawyer can help ensure you gather the proper documentation needed for your big rig accident case.
Our Big Rig Accident Lawyers Can Help Prove Negligence
Being involved in an accident can be complicated and leave you unsure of what to do. Our personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can answer your questions and present your legal options. Contact us today for your free consultation.
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