If you were injured in a truck crash in Arizona, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent trucker and the trucking company they work for. However, you must prove that their negligence was the cause of your truck accident, the seriousness of your injuries, and the damages you are entitled to in order to obtain a fair settlement from their insurance company.
If you want to win your case, you need to take steps to protect your rights. A vital step that needs to be done as soon as possible after your crash is to collect evidence that will help prove your claim.
Common Evidence Needed in Accident Cases
There are certain types of evidence a victim of a motorcycle, car, or truck collision must obtain to establish their right to compensation for their injuries. Some of this evidence should be collected at the crash scene. Evidence needed includes:
- Police report. A police report can include important information, such as details of how the crash occurred, driver statements, officer’s conclusions regarding who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued. This can help establish the truck driver’s and trucking company’s negligence in causing the collision.
- Photographs. You need to take photos of the damage to the truck and your vehicle, tread marks, the crash scene, weather and road conditions, your injuries, and anything else that might be helpful. This can be powerful evidence to show at a jury trial. It could also help an accident reconstruction expert re-enact your crash if the insurance company disputes the cause of the wreck.
- Witness statements. It is crucial to obtain the contact information for any eyewitnesses who saw how the accident occurred. If you do not take this vital step immediately, you may not be able to locate any witnesses to obtain a written statement from them. A witness statement can help you convince the insurance company of their responsibility to compensate you.
- Phone records. The trucker’s cellphone records can help establish that the trucker was talking on the phone or texting at the time of the crash.
- Medical records and bills. You will need to collect your medical records and bills to prove how serious your injuries are, the medical treatments you need, and the amount of compensation you should recover for your medical expenses.
- Paystubs. You are entitled to compensation for the wages, sick and vacation time, and other perks of your job that you lost while you were off work recovering. You will need to save your paystubs and other documents proving the amount of damages you should receive in your settlement for this portion of your claim.
- Expert witnesses. You may need to hire an accident reconstructionist or a medical or economic expert witness to resolve a dispute with the insurance company or prove an element of your case.
Unique Evidence You Must Obtain in a Truck Crash Claim
There is also evidence that is unique to truck collision cases that you will need to collect. This can help you prove that violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations or other negligent actions caused your wreck. Here are types of evidence to obtain:
- Black box data and in-cab camera. The truck’s black box data can help establish how fast the truck was going, whether the trucker applied their brakes, how long they drove without a break, and more. Many trucks also have cameras in their cab, either facing inward or outward, that can help show what the truck driver was doing right before the accident occurred.
- Logbook. The trucker’s logbook will contain vital information about how long a truck driver drove before taking a rest break and the length of their breaks. This can help you prove that the FMCA hours of service regulations were violated.
- Receipts. Unfortunately, the trucker could have falsified the logbook. It must be compared to gas, food, and lodging receipts to determine when they really took rest breaks.
- Maintenance records. Trucking companies are required to maintain their trucks and repair them when necessary. They must also comply with FMCSA rules on truck maintenance. You will need to review their maintenance records to see if they complied with these requirements.
- Trucker inspection records. Truck drivers must conduct a pre-trip, daily, and post-trip inspection of their trucks. You will need these records to determine if there were any problems with the truck that should have been fixed before the truck was driven again.
- Emails. Emails between the truck driver and trucking company could provide you with a wealth of information about whether the company was encouraging the trucker to drive more hours than allowed before taking a break, to drive while the truck needed repairs, and more.
- Trucker’s personnel file. The truck driver’s personnel file at the trucking company can help you determine whether they were qualified to drive a commercial truck, had any medical conditions that made it unsafe for them to drive, and had been involved in any truck accidents in the past.
- Alcohol and drug testing. You will need alcohol and drug testing records to determine if the trucker had a substance or alcohol abuse problem and if they were intoxicated when your collision occurred.
- Shipper documents. The shipping company could face liability if improper loading of the cargo were a reason your truck collision occurred. You need their records to determine if you should file a claim with their insurance company.
Collecting the evidence you need after a truck accident is complicated, and much of it could be in possession of the trucking company. You need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to identify what documents will help you and obtain them from the trucking company. To learn how we can assist you, contact our Flagstaff office to schedule a free case evaluation today.