After a traffic accident, it is important to gather evidence at the scene once victims receive any necessary medical care. Typically, this involves taking pictures and video footage, seeking out useful security footage from nearby homes and businesses, and collecting statements from witnesses and individuals involved in the accident.
Victims who need to build a personal injury claim find that the process is much easier and effective with a variety of evidence to support the claim. A strong claim helps ensure that the victim’s rights remain secure while they pursue complete compensation for their losses.
However, building a claim after a commercial truck accident often gets complicated, especially if the driver was acting as an employee when the accident occurred. To build a strong claim after a truck accident, it is wise to gather two additional forms of evidence that are not available in most accidents between consumer drivers. These additional forms of evidence may help prove liability in cases where the cause of the accident is unclear or contested.
Collecting drivers’ logs
Commercial drivers must maintain driver’s logs and keep them in the cabin of the truck. These logs track how long a driver spends behind the wheel and how often a driver stops to rest. Many truck drivers face immense pressure to cover large distances on a tight schedule, often leading to dangerous fatigue and sleep deprivation.
If a driver experiences fatigue from long hours and insufficient sleep, they are much more likely to make a driving error or experience slow response times in an emergency. If you experience a truck accident, be sure to request the driver’s logs from the driver, at the scene of the accident if possible. This may shed light on the condition of the driver when the accident occurred.
Collecting electronic control module data
Electronic control modules, or ECMs, track and store data about the functions of the truck and the driving habits of the driver. These may include:
- Average speed
- Seat belt usage
- Braking time
- Hard braking instances
ECMs are similar to black boxes used in aircraft, recording useful data that can help pinpoint causes of an accident. This data is particularly useful if the accident occurred because of a mechanical malfunction in the vehicle, which may place liability on the manufacturer of a faulty component or because of poor maintenance and repairs.
Make sure to request this data in writing from the owner of the truck as soon as possible. Until the owner receives a formal request to produce the data, they may delete it, which may protect their liability. The party who owns the truck is not always the driver, if the driver acts as an employee for the owner.
Act now to protect your recovery
Recovering from a truck accident may take significant medical treatment and may impact victims’ ability to work and receive income for weeks, months or more than a year. To protect your own recovery, you must make it a priority to gather as much evidence as you can and begin building a strong claim quickly. Using high-quality legal resources and guidance as needed, you can focus on your recovery while your rights and priorities remain safe.