Anyone who has been injured in a truck accident knows the fear, pain, and loss that it brings into your life. If you’ve been hurt in this type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation. One of your first steps will be obtaining evidence to support your case.
An accident involving a large commercial carrier differs in many ways from other types of vehicle accidents. The most obvious difference is due to the size of the truck compared to the other vehicle involved in the wreck. The sheer size of the truck can cause major damage to a smaller vehicle and to the passengers inside. The injuries incurred can be life-changing and cause the victim to suffer loss of income, require long-term care, and go through long periods of physical therapy.
There are also other differences that have an impact on the legal process of filing your accident claim. Obtaining evidence when you’ve been injured in a crash with a commercial truck is important and may include:
- pictures from the accident scene;
- copies of medical records and photo documentation of your injuries;
- accident reports;
- testimony from expert medical witnesses;
- testimony from a certified safety expert,
- driver’s record of duty status (or logbook); and
- automatic on-board recording device.
The last 2 items listed are unique to commercial truck accident cases; they are excellent sources of evidence that can sometimes be difficult to obtain.
Utilizing the types of evidence listed is useful when proving negligence when you are injured in a truck accident, which is the aim of any personal injury case. Negligence simply means being at fault for the accident. In order for your case to be considered valid, there needs to be evidence that points to the crash being at the fault of the truck driver (or trucking company).
When it comes to the details of obtaining evidence, there are many sources available. When you were injured in a truck accident, you likely were cared for by quite a few people at the scene and afterward, and there was documentation involved. There may also be evidence that proves not just your injuries but the truck driver’s negligence.
The drivers logbook is one of the pieces of evidence that might be of help to you. The logbook, also known as the record of duty, is a book that keeps track of truckers’ trips. It records their itinerary and rest stops and shows their total hours driving for each trip. Federal law requires truckers to keep log books so that they will follow a manageable work schedule and avoid dangerous sleep deprivation that can lead to accidents.
When you’re injured in a truck accident, time is of the essence if you want the logbook as evidence. Trucking companies have their own legal teams and, for the obvious reasons, they are not quick to hand over the log book to the injured party.
Logbooks can be falsified in the days or weeks following an accident, and trucking companies can dispose of logbooks after six months have passed; therefore, it’s imperative that these pieces of evidence are obtained and thoroughly studied as soon as possible after a truck accident in New York.
As time goes on, lawmakers are realizing the need for more reliable record keeping in the trucking industry. With the number of trucks on the road increasing, and the number of truck accidents on the rise as well, the federal government is considering implementing the use of Automatic On-board Recording Devices (AOBRD’s) in all commercial trucks.
AOBRDs are devices that serve the same function as paper log books, and have replaced log books at some trucking companies in the U.S. AOBRDs keep track of a trucker’s rest stops, mileage, and other information. These are more difficult to falsify than logbooks in the event of an accident, so they make an excellent item for a lawyer to think about when obtaining evidence.