If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation, but you will need proof in order to secure the financial compensation you deserve. Evidence is the key to filing a successful claim; without it, you stand virtually no chance of recovering your financial and non-financial losses.
There are two aspects to a successful truck accident claim, both of which require evidence. The first aspect is a liability. In order to have grounds to seek financial compensation, you must be able to prove that someone else (e.g., the truck driver or the trucking company) is liable for your losses. The second aspect is damages or the amount of your losses. In addition to proving that you are entitled to compensation, you must also be able to prove how much compensation you are entitled to recover.
So, what evidence do you need in order to prove your claim for damages? Here are 10 key types of evidence in commercial truck accident cases:
Evidence of Liability
1. Forensic Evidence from the Scene of the Accident
Collecting forensic evidence from the scene of the accident can be critical to piecing together the events immediately prior to the collision. With enough evidence, accident reconstructionists can piece together these events with extreme precision, and they can create computer simulations that themselves can be presented as evidence in court. Examples of forensic evidence that may be available include:
- Skid marks
- Debris from the accident
- Damage to guardrails, signposts, and other stationary objects
- Photographs and video of the crash site
- Information about current traffic patterns
2. The Truck Driver’s Cell Phone Records
Distracted driving is a leading cause of all types of vehicle collisions, including commercial truck accidents. If the truck driver was talking on the phone, texting, reading, sending an email, or using social media at the time of the crash, you can use this to help establish liability in your case.
3. The Truck Driver’s Logbook and Other Employment Records
Under federal law, truck drivers are limited in terms of the number of hours they can spend behind the wheel. They must record their hours in a logbook, and this logbook can often be used as evidence in commercial truck accident cases. The driver’s other employment records can potentially be relevant as well. For example, if the trucking company hired the driver without performing an adequate background check, this could establish a claim for negligent hiring and entrustment.
4. The Truck’s Maintenance and Service History
Inadequate maintenance and faulty service work are factors in many large truck crashes. When examining the potential causes of your accident, it will be important to review the truck’s maintenance and service history to determine if mistakes were made.
5. Inspection Records for Each Vehicle Involved in the Crash
It will also be important to inspect each vehicle involved in the crash in thorough detail. The location and extent of the damage to each vehicle can provide important insights into how the crash occurred, and an inspection can also reveal whether any vehicle defects may have played a role in causing the collision or exacerbating your injuries.
Evidence of Damages
1. Your Medical Records
Your medical records will be crucial evidence in support of your claim for damages. After being involved in a commercial truck accident, it is important that you seek medical attention right away. You will need to obtain a comprehensive diagnosis, and you will need to make sure you know the next steps in your recovery process. Be sure to keep track of all of your appointments, and try to get in the habit of keeping your scans and other medical records in one place.
2. Your Employment Records
If you have missed work and/or will miss work in the future as a result of your accident, then your employment records will be important evidence as well. In both Oregon and Washington, accident victims can recover just compensation for their lost earnings and loss of future earning capacity.
3. Your Personal Notes
From the time you are involved in an accident, you should try to take personal notes on a daily basis. These notes can help prove the extent of your non-financial losses (e.g., pain and suffering), and they can help you recall key details if you need to testify in support of your claim at trial.
4. Expert Testimony
If your case goes to trial, your attorney may also hire medical and financial experts to provide testimony in support of your claim. Medical experts can explain the cause and effects of your injuries in detail, while financial experts can assist with calculating your long-term financial and non-financial losses.
5. Testimony from Friends and Family Members
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may also recommend calling friends and family members to testify on your behalf. If your friends and loved ones have witnessed the effects of your injuries first-hand, their testimony could provide strong support for your claim for damages. However, this can have potential drawbacks as well, so you will want to choose a lawyer who has significant trial experience and who is capable of making an informed and strategic decision.
Keep in mind, not all forms of evidence will be available in all cases, and no single piece of evidence is critical to asserting your legal rights. But, it is important to collect as much evidence as possible, and in order to do this, you should engage an experienced commercial truck accident attorney right away.
Schedule a Free Commercial Truck Accident Consultation at D’Amore Law Group
Our firm represents commercial truck accident victims throughout Oregon and Washington. If you have been seriously injured in a collision, we encourage you to contact us so that we can begin collecting evidence, right away. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys as soon as possible, call us directly or contact us online. You can reach us 24/7, and you pay nothing unless we win.