In the United States, over 130,000 people are injured each year it big rig truck accidents. These accidents can result in death or can cause serious injuries due to the weight and size of the trucks. If you have been injured as the result of a big rig colliding with your vehicle, hiring an attorney to handle your claim can be a smart move.
A truck accident lawyer can obtain evidence regarding your case before the evidence can no longer be found or obtained, eliminating headaches down the road. If you have never been involved in this type of case before, you may wonder what evidence an attorney can help you obtain. Here are some of the common pieces of evidence a truck accident attorney can help you obtain after an accident.
Truck Driver Logs
By law, every big rig driver is required to keep a log when they are operating the big rig. This log needs to show when the driver started driving for the day, when they took breaks throughout the day, how many hours of sleep they got and how many miles per day they drove. If the driver was not getting enough sleep or not taking breaks as required by law, exhaustion may have contributed to the accident. An attorney may have to subpoena the courts to get ahold of the truck driver log book. This book may help to show how tired the driver may have been and whether they were following state and federal laws when operating the big rig.
The Big Rig Maintenance Records
Another common cause of big rig accidents is maintenance problems. Brake issues on a big rig can cause accidents to occur. It already takes a big rig more time to stop than passenger cars due to their size and weight. But if the brakes are worn out, it can take them even longer to stop, which may result in a collision. Big rigs maintenance records are important as they show whether the big rig was being properly maintained and cared for. The maintenance records will include routine maintenance, such as brake changes and oil changes, as well as major repairs, such as engine repairs. If the big rig was not being properly maintained, these maintenance issues could have been the cause of or the contributing factor in the collision that left you injured. An attorney can obtain the records to help show that lack of maintenance may have been the cause of the accident.
By law, all big rig truck drivers are required to pass a DOT physical. They are also required to report specific medical changes that can interfere with their ability to operate a truck. These things may include having high blood pressure, having recently had a heart attack, or taking prescription medication that can affect awareness. Unfortunately, though, not every driver reports their medical conditions because they do not want to lose their job or their income. Truck accident lawyers can subpoena the court to obtain a copy of the driver’s recent medical records if there is a reason to believe a medical event or medication may have been the cause of or a contributing factor for the accident that occurred.
The Police Report
Following a big rig accident, the police will arrive and write a report. The police report is a key piece of evidence. The report typically states who they believe was at fault for the accident, why they think that and what factors either caused or contributed to the accident. Most people think that obtaining this police report is simple enough, but it can be challenging to get your hands on. A lawyer will figure out which law enforcement agency wrote the report when it will be ready, where and how to pick it up and then obtain the report. This report can then be presented if your case goes to trial to help show who was at fault for the accident and why.
The last key piece of evidence that an attorney can help you to obtain after truck accidents is witness statements. Immediately following a car accident, those who saw the accident happen may stop to help or to talk to the police. When possible, get those witnesses name, phone number, and address. Once you have this information, pass it on to your attorney. The attorney can then contact these witnesses and ask them what they saw and what they feel caused the accident. If needed, they may need to be deposed if they are unwilling to provide the information voluntarily. If the attorney feels that the witness is reliable and the information they say can help your case, that witness can be called to testify at your trial. Having witnesses helps to paint the story of how your accident occurred and who was at fault for the accident.
Big rig truck accidents can result in a multitude of injuries. This means that your medical expenses can quickly add up and you may be unable to work. An experienced attorney can help you file a personal injury claim and win by presenting evidence that helps to show the other party was at fault and why.