In an ideal world, truck drivers, their employers, and others in the trucking industry would pay for the accidents they cause without any fuss. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. The trucking industry and their insurers fight personal injury claims with every tool at their disposal. That means you need strong evidence to support a truck accident claim if you want to maximize your compensation.
Truck accident injury cases are a core focus at the law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. We understand the challenges of these complex cases and what evidence will best support your claim. Contact us now for a free consultation to discuss your Alabama truck accident claim and the types of evidence needed to support it.
The Importance of Evidence in Alabama Truck Accident Cases
Compelling evidence is vital in the truck accident litigation process, as it forms the backbone of the case. Strong evidence not only helps to establish fault but also helps illustrate the extent of the resulting injuries and other losses from the crash. It is especially important in Alabama, where the law applies a contributory negligence rule.
In brief, the contributory negligence rule says that if you contributed to a crash in any way, you cannot recover any compensation. Without sufficient evidence to show that another party was at fault and you were not at all to blame, your chances of proving your claim diminish significantly, potentially leaving you without the financial support needed for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Gathering Basic Information at the Truck Accident Scene
Gathering evidence for an Alabama truck accident claim starts at the scene. Some of the critical details to gather include things like:
- Driver names
- Trucking company names
- Contact information
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance information
These details are foundational for building your case, as they identify the parties involved and lay the groundwork for further investigation. If, for any reason, you couldn’t gather this information yourself at the scene, don’t worry. Your lawyer can retrieve this essential data for you. They have the experience and resources to track down and compile all necessary information, ensuring nothing gets overlooked.
Documenting the Truck Accident Scene
The next crucial step in a truck accident claim is to document the crash scene as thoroughly as possible. This detailed documentation provides a clear picture of the accident and can significantly support your personal injury claim.
Here are some types of evidence you or your attorney might look for:
- Photographs of the accident site – These photos can help reconstruct the accident and demonstrate factors like direction and impact.
- Photos of vehicle damage – Detailed images of the damage to your vehicle and the truck can indicate the severity and mechanics of the crash.
- Environmental conditions – Note the weather, lighting, and road conditions at the time of the accident. For example, wet roads or poor visibility can be contributing factors and help establish liability.
- Debris and marks on the road – Documenting vehicle debris and tire skid marks can provide insights into the dynamics of the accident.
- Traffic and surveillance cameras – If available, these videos can be compelling evidence, as they offer an unbiased view of the crash and may reveal any contributing factors.
- Witness statements – Their accounts can provide an independent perspective of the accident, supporting your version of events.
Gathering Official Reports About Truck Accidents
Insurance companies often turn to information from official accident reports to determine liability for a truck crash. Accordingly, it’s crucial to obtain the police report for the collision as soon as possible. You can find and purchase a copy of the police accident report from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. If your injuries prevent you from obtaining a crash report, your lawyer can get it for you.
Preserving Trucking Companies’ Electronic Evidence
As technology has progressed, electronic evidence has taken a greater role in truck accident claims. It’s crucial to obtain and preserve this electronic evidence as soon as possible. It might be necessary for your attorney to make certain requests for the trucking company to preserve and turn over the data.
Some types of electronic evidence your attorney can help you find include:
- The truck’s electronic data recorder (EDR) – The EDR records crucial data like speed and brake use. EDR information helps reconstruct the accident and establish the truck driver’s actions before the crash.
- Electronic logs of the truck driver or trucking company – These logs track driving hours and rest periods. Evidence of regulation violations, like excessive driving hours, can suggest fatigue and contribute to proving negligence in a truck accident claim.
- The truck driver’s cell phone records – These records may reveal if the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident, indicating potential distraction.
Establishing Driver and Company Compliance with Regulations
All drivers in Alabama must comply with a complex web of traffic laws, but truck drivers and their employers face even more strict legal scrutiny. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service (HOS) rules governing how many hours drivers can work in a given day or week. Truckers and trucking companies must also comply with strict regulations regarding equipment inspections, vehicle weight restrictions, and more.
If a truck driver or their employer broke these or any other regulations, that may indicate that they contributed to the crash.
Legal Considerations Regarding Evidence in Truck Crashes
One primary consideration in gathering evidence for a truck accident claim is the need for swift action to preserve evidence. Truck drivers and their employers may attempt to hide or destroy evidence implicating them in a crash. A Huntsville truck accident lawyer can help prevent this by sending an official notice ordering the potentially liable parties to preserve critical evidence, including maintenance records, black box data, driver logs, safety records, and more.
Another significant legal issue concerning evidence in Alabama truck accident cases is your limited window to file a lawsuit. Alabama law says you have two years from the date of a truck crash to file a personal injury lawsuit in most circumstances. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, the courts will automatically dismiss your case, no matter what evidence you have.
Starting your search for crucial evidence immediately after a truck accident gives you a stronger chance of recovering the resources you need to put your life back together.
Get Help from Our Alabama Truck Accident Lawyers Now
You have enough to worry about after an Alabama truck accident without an exhausting evidence hunt. The Alabama truck accident lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., can handle all the legal work in your case while you recuperate.
Call us today or reach out online for a complimentary case review from an experienced truck accident attorney.