Get These 3 Important Pieces of Evidence After a Truck Accident
It wasn’t your fault, but it happened — you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a wreck involving an 18-wheeler or semi-truck. Now, you face the challenging task of trying to obtain compensation and hold the negligent parties accountable.
If you file an insurance claim or lawsuit, it’s up to you to prove the other party behaved in a negligent or reckless manner. That’s why collecting and preserving evidence is crucial after a truck crash. Read on to learn about three specific documents that can provide critical evidence and support your truck accident claim.
Important Documents Include the Crash Report and Police Report
The following are three of the most important records you can obtain after a truck wreck.
- The Police Report
When a police officer arrives at the scene of an accident, they open an official police report and begin documenting the investigation. Often, their initial work at the scene involves gathering basic facts like the drivers’ identities, the vehicles involved, and insurance information. The police report should also list witnesses, record whether anyone required emergency medical attention, and document where they went for treatment. The officer may also come to an initial conclusion about why the crash happened and take down any statements given by witnesses.
- Open Records
To supplement the police report, you should also obtain the police department’s open records regarding the crash. This can provide additional information, including when officers first received word of the crash, the names of any officers who responded, and a record of the radio dispatches that occurred while the police department identified the vehicles and mobilized a response. This information will prove especially helpful if the police report contains inaccuracies or errors.You should also contact the emergency department that received the initial 911 call and request their transcripts. These records can help identify potential witnesses who may have left the scene before police arrived, among other useful information.
- A Crash Report
Insurance companies typically use the officer’s report to determine how a crash occurred, so the officer’s opinion can have a big impact on your chances of success when filing a claim. However, even though police officers have some training that can help them determine the causes of a crash, they aren’t experts, and their opinion is far from the final word in a truck crash case.Sometimes police may bring an investigator from the state’s department of public safety to the scene. This is especially likely when the wreck involves multiple vehicles or other complexities. Since these investigators specialize in determining the causes of truck and bus collisions, they can conduct a more thorough inspection based on their extensive knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. If one of these investigators visited the scene of the crash in your case, their report will be extremely important for your claim.
Other Important Evidence After a Truck Crash
Besides the three records listed above, data from the truck itself can play a critical role in supporting your claim. Physical and electronic data from the truck can help build a fact-based account of the crash and cut through conflicting witness statements or dishonest defenses from the truck driver, their employer, and the insurance company. To make sure this data is available, it’s important to preserve the truck’s event data recorder (EDR), also known as a “black box.”
Just like an airplane’s black box, a truck’s black box can give you in-depth information about what the truck was doing just before the wreck occurred, including:
- How fast the trucker was going and variations in speed
- The truck’s gear shifts
- When the trucker braked
- How long the trucker had been driving
- The truck’s GPS location
- Communications between the trucker and trucking company
- Reports filed by the trucker, including daily inspection reports
Besides the black box, most commercial trucks contain electronic logging devices (ELDs) and other computer systems that can yield further important information to support a truck wreck claim. However, you can’t rely on the trucking company to preserve this critical evidence, which is why you should always contact an experienced truck accident attorney after a collision involving a large truck or bus.
Contact Seattle Truck Law for Help After a Truck Accident in Washington State
If you’ve suffered injuries in a truck wreck or your loved one is hurt and requires extensive care, you most likely don’t have the time or energy to gather evidence, investigate the complex causes of a crash, and build your personal injury claim. To make sure your rights are protected and important evidence is preserved, you should contact Seattle Truck Law and schedule your consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Please call us at (866) 580-HURT (4878) or fill out our quick online contact form if you need help. We offer free initial consultations to assess your situation and discuss your legal options, and we handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we help you and your family receive compensation through a settlement or verdict.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.