Strong evidence is the bedrock of any successful truck accident claim. Without it, the insurance company might find opportunities to dispute liability, causation, or damages. This not only could draw out the proceedings, but it may also threaten the outcome of your case.
Much of the evidence needed to support your claim could be time-sensitive, so it’s important that your attorney is able to conduct an immediate investigation. A seasoned truck accident lawyer can also file subpoenas to obtain evidence that’s being withheld and bring in expert witnesses to assist with the investigation, settlement negotiations, and any litigation that may follow.
Let’s explore a few kinds of evidence your attorney might use to strengthen your case:
Evidence to Prove Liability
The Police Report
The content of the police report could have a major impact on the insurance company’s decision of whether to approve or deny your claim. If you and the other parties involved don’t agree on pertinent facts, the police report could be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of your case. While the police report is not admissible in Court as evidence in a Court of Law, the report may contain information which can lead your attorney to discover admissible evidence such as witnesses, skid marks, potential video recordings as well as the officer’s discussion with the other driver.
Black Box Data
Most commercial trucks have an event data recorder (EDR), or “black box,” that tracks brake and throttle usage, fuel injector metrics, average and high speeds, voltage regulator performance, and other data. The black box may help your attorney and perhaps an accident reconstruction expert piece together what happened in the moments just before the collision. It might reveal that the trucker behaved negligently by speeding or engaging in other reckless conduct.
Electronic Logging Device Data
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has placed limits on the number of consecutive hours a commercial truck driver can stay on the road. These are called the Hours of Service regulations, and they’re designed to prevent fatigue-related collisions.
Drivers are required to maintain logs of their time spent on the road. If the data on the electronic logging device shows an Hours of Service infraction, your attorney might use it as evidence of liability.
Dashcam and Surveillance Footage
If your vehicle or the truck that hit you was equipped with a dashcam, its footage might help your attorney corroborate your version of events. And if there were businesses near the accident scene, their CCTV surveillance systems may have recorded the incident. Unfortunately, much of this footage may be erased within just a few days, so it’s wise to enlist the help of an attorney right away.
Photos of the Crash Scene
If you were able to take pictures of property damage, the positions of vehicles, and injuries at the scene, those photos may help your attorney prove liability, causation, and damages. Be sure to bring them with you to the initial consultation.
Repair, Maintenance, and Inspection Records
It’s not uncommon for commercial truckers to travel thousands of miles each month, and hauling heavy cargo can certainly add to the vehicle’s wear and tear. If a truck driver or motor carrier is negligent regarding maintenance, the result could be catastrophic.
The best truck accident attorneys take the time to review all potential sources of evidence. If the truck’s repair, maintenance, or inspection records demonstrate negligence, they might contribute to your case.
Expert Witness Testimony
If the opposing party argues that you were partially or entirely liable for the crash, or if there’s disagreement regarding the cause of the collision, your lawyer might bring in an accident reconstruction expert to provide testimony. Depending on the circumstances, there are other experts whose testimony might contribute to your case. For example, your attorney might consult with an auto parts specialist if a defective part was a contributing factor.
Other Evidence of Liability
If your attorney suspects an Hours of Service violation, he or she might try to obtain timestamped bills of lading, food receipts, and toll booth receipts to prove the infraction. If the at-fault trucker admitted to the police that he or she was using a cell phone when the crash occurred, your lawyer might use cell phone records to prove negligence.
Evidence to Prove Damages
Your attorney and the insurance company will want to review your medical records to determine the kinds of injuries you sustained, their severity, the likely course of treatment, and the associated costs. The insurer will also be looking for evidence that you’ve failed to mitigate your healthcare expenses. For example, if you chose not to fill your prescriptions, missed doctor’s appointments, ignored your doctor’s instructions, or put off your treatment, the claims adjuster might use your medical records to argue that your own negligence has caused your condition to progress, which could reduce the value of your claim. Conversely, if you were diligent about your healthcare, your lawyer can use your medical records to prove as much.
Any income you lost due to your injuries might be recoverable. To prove lost wages, your lawyer will need financial documentation such as income tax returns, paystubs, 1099s, and statements from financial institutions. If you suffered a permanent disability, you might also be entitled to compensation for loss of future earning capacity, in which case your lawyer will likely bring in a financial expert to provide testimony.
Receipts and Invoices
Your claim can account for any receipts and invoices for necessary costs stemming from your injuries. Expenses related to home and vehicle modifications, alternative transportation, and domestic assistance might all be recoverable.
Expert Witness Testimony
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries that cost tens of thousands of dollars or more to treat. Victims may have to take weeks off work to recover, and many can never return to the same occupation again. If your injuries were serious or it seems likely that you’ll incur future damages, or if there’s a dispute regarding liability or the value of your claim, your attorney may bring in medical, financial, vocational, and other experts to provide testimony.
Discuss Your Case with a Long Beach Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Not all personal injury law firms have extensive experience handling truck accident claims. But at the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we have won substantial awards for truck accident victims and their families.
Attorney Michael Waks has the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on even the largest motor carriers and insurance companies. He can protect your interests through every stage of the proceedings and make sure your claim accounts for all potentially recoverable losses.
Michael offers free consultations and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay anything to get the advice you need to make informed decisions. Call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message online to set up a case review.
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