What Evidence Do I Need to File a Truck Accident Claim in Washington?
Uncovering the cause of a truck wreck and proving who was at fault can be a very complicated process and typically requires a wide range of detailed evidence. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck wreck, much of this evidence will not be easily accessible to you. And you likely have more important things on your mind, like focusing on taking care of yourself and your family. An experienced truck accident attorney can help victims collect the evidence they need to support their truck accident claim.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of evidence you need to support your truck wreck case and how an attorney can help gather this evidence on your behalf.
Collecting Evidence for Your Truck Wreck Case
If you’ve been injured in a truck wreck, collecting evidence to prove that the truck driver or company was negligent and caused your crash is crucial to receiving the compensation you deserve. In the state of Washington, contributory negligence laws state that your compensation depends on how much fault can be assigned to the other parties involved. Truck companies and their lawyers will try to manipulate evidence and events to place some of the blame on you and reduce or even eliminate your right to compensation. A truck accident attorney can help you collect the evidence you need to counter these opposing claims and support your case.
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The police report includes the responding officer’s initial thoughts on the crash and physical evidence gathered from the scene, in addition to information about the parties involved and any injuries sustained. This could include:
- Name, phone number, and license number of the truck driver
- Name and insurance information for the freight company
- Testimonies from pedestrians and other drivers who witnessed the collision
- Pictures of property damage
- Photos of the scene
- Video or other surveillance that captured the wreck
You can also collect much of this information on your own — if your injuries don’t require immediate medical attention. If you are unable to collect evidence from the scene, an attorney can put together their own crash report with additional information not included in the police report and perform other follow-up tasks such as interviewing the witnesses.
Truck Incident Data
Many trucks are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) that collect information such as how fast the truck was traveling at the time of impact and when (or if) the brakes were applied. In addition to EDRs, truck drivers are now required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs), that show how long the truck driver has been working.
Because fatigue is a serious concern for truck drivers and one of the top causes of truck wrecks, drivers have regulated working hours. An ELD can show if the driver has been working longer than allowed. Since freight companies are often held liable for truck wrecks along with the truck driver, these companies are unlikely to hand over such evidence voluntarily. Contacting an attorney is usually the only way to obtain this crucial evidence.
RELATED ARTICLE: The ELD Mandate Is Working, but Trucking Companies Keep Fighting It
Driver History and Company Information
Besides electronic devices that can provide information about the truck and driver, there are other pieces of evidence pertaining to the truck driver (and the freight company) that need to be collected.
- Trucker’s driving record
- Trucker’s history of drug or alcohol usage
- Truck maintenance and repair logs
- Company’s hiring history
- Company policies and expectations
Some drivers avoid going to the hospital after a truck crash because they don’t believe their injuries require medical treatment. However, not only can minor aches and pains be signs of more serious injuries, but medical records are an essential part of proving your claim. If you try to claim that you were injured in the crash but didn’t seek treatment, the opposition will state that you were not actually injured. Always seek medical treatment after a collision, and have your attorney help collect all the relevant paperwork and medical records supporting your hospital visit and injuries.
Accident reconstruction is the process of collecting and investigating the evidence from a crash scene to recreate the crash and help investigators determine what happened and who is at fault. These recreations could be a series of calculations included in a report or an elaborate digital simulation of the crash. Quality attorneys will have experience with accident reconstruction, but they often hire accident reconstruction specialists with a background in engineering or forensics who can also serve as an expert witness at trial.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Accident Reconstruction Is Critical in a Truck Accident Case
Expert Witness Testimony
Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, can provide an additional type of evidence if your case goes to trial. These experts can give testimony that will provide judges and juries with information that supports your claims. An accident reconstruction specialist, for example, would present reports and recreations of the crash backed up by data and calculations. Other expert witnesses who your attorney might arrange to testify on your behalf will likely include medical experts or mechanical experts, along with specialists in other fields that played a part in your specific truck wreck.
Seattle Truck Law | Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck wreck, let the attorneys at Seattle Truck Law handle evidence collection, expert witness testimony, and your case so you can concentrate on healing and moving forward. Our attorneys have experience dealing with freight and insurance companies and working with other experts to prove your right to compensation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.