Building a personal injury claim after a truck accident is not simple to do, and without a clear understanding of the process, victims may feel overwhelmed or may wait so long to begin that valuable evidence disappears. While some evidence from an accident remains available indefinitely, other kinds of evidence vanishes quickly. This may weaken a victim's case and make it much more difficult to secure fair compensation for injuries and financial losses.
If you or someone close to you recently suffered losses from a commercial truck accident, you must gather as much evidence from the scene of the accident as possible. Like all automobile accidents, it is wise to take pictures and video from the scene as soon as you can, before cleanup crews move the wreckage away. It is also a good idea to get records or written statements from witnesses and others involved in the accident, if possible.
Unlike other accidents, however, commercial trucks feature two specific kinds of evidence that you must request from the driver or the owner of the truck. The longer you wait, the more difficult or impossible this may be.
Commercial truck drivers often face demanding schedules that push them to move cargo long distances in a short amount of time. Many truck drivers work hard to meet these deadlines, and may go without much needed sleep in order to do so. To combat this possibility, the law requires that truck drivers keep written logs that outline how often they stop to sleep and how long they drive between breaks.
If your accident occurred because the driver suffered from sleep deprivation, the logs may shed light on this, and can help build your claim. However, you must request these logs, and the sooner you do, the less likely it is for them to disappear.
Electronic control module data
Modern commercial trucks all include electronic control modules that record and store data about the internal functions of the vehicle and the habits of the driver. These devices are similar to flight data recorders used in aircraft, and can shed important light on the causes of an accident.
Unfortunately, this data can vanish quickly. The device and the data it records are the property of the owner of the vehicle. This may be the driver, or may be the driver's employer. The owner has the right to do anything they wish with it, and they may legally delete the data altogether until you officially request it.
Protecting your rights after an accident is crucial. You may have a long road to recovery ahead, so make sure to use the strength of the law to keep your interests secure as soon as you can.