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September 29, 2015

Evidence in a Commercial Truck Accident Case



Following a commercial truck accident, a negligent truck driver should be held liable for any injuries that you sustained. However, in order to recover, you must present evidence of the driver’s negligence. Evidence comes in many forms and is regulated by state rules. [1] It is important to have an experienced attorney handling your case who understands all of the relevant rules of evidence and litigation procedures. The following are only a few examples of important evidence in a truck accident case.

Logbooks and delivery records

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) [2] enforces many laws and regulations for truck drivers to follow on a regular basis. In order to ensure compliance, a commercial driver is expected to keep careful records of certain activities during work hours. For example, a truck driver should keep a log of all hours on the road and all hours spent resting to ensure they do not violate any hours of service requirements, [3] which limit the number of consecutive hours on the road to prevent overly fatigued drivers. A driver must also keep records of pre-trip inspections to make sure they have properly completed these inspections and did not identify any issues with the truck.

Unfortunately, some truck drivers engage in the dangerous practice of falsifying logbooks so that they can drive for longer hours and complete deliveries in a shorter period of time. For this reason, it is always a good idea to examine delivery receipts so that you can tell how far the driver traveled in a certain period of time, thereby revealing whether they violated FMCSA regulations.

In-truck cameras and data recorders

Other important evidence may demonstrate that a truck driver was engaging in dangerous behavior at the time of the collision. Technology in commercial trucks is very helpful to shed light on the driver’s actions in the time preceding the accident. For example, a truck’s data recorder—commonly known as a “black box”–will record the speed of the truck and whether the brakes were engaged in order to avoid the crash. This data recorder can provide helpful information to show that a driver was in violation of traffic laws when the accident occurred.

In addition to black boxes, many commercial trucking companies have begun installing cameras inside the trucks in their fleet. These cameras record both the road in front of the truck and, often, the driver’s activities in the cab of the truck. Cameras can show if a driver was tailgating, passing in a dangerous manner, or engaging in other aggressive driving. Furthermore, the camera directed at the driver can reveal whether a truck driver was drinking or doing drugs, texting or using a cell phone, engaging in other distractions, or any other negligent behaviors that led to the collision.

Witness and expert testimony

Another important type of evidence in a truck accident case is that statements of witnesses who saw the accident happen. These witnesses can give their version of events to corroborate your claims that the truck driver was acting negligently and was at fault in the crash. After an accident, if you are able to remain on the scene, it is always important to collect as much information as possible from anyone who stopped after witnessing the accident. Your attorney will then interview the witnesses to determine whether they have information that is helpful to your case and to even help identify the negligence that caused the collision and your injuries.

In addition to witnesses, certain experts may testify on your behalf, as well. A medical professional can attest to the nature and severity of your injuries, the long-term effects of your injuries, the treatment required, and the estimated cost of treatment. In addition, an accident reconstruction expert can testify to what they believed caused the crash based on their investigation and analysis.

Consult with an experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorney today

At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, skilled personal injury lawyer Gabriel Levin has the skill and resources needed to pursue a complex commercial truck accident claim. The injuries resulting from truck accidents are often catastrophic and, therefore, victims often sustain extensive losses. Because a trucking company will try to do everything possible to avoid liability in your case, you need a truck accident lawyer who will aggressively protect your rights to recovery as an accident victim. At The Levin Firm, we understand what types of evidence are needed to adequately prove your truck accident claim, so please do not hesitate to call our office at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.
[1] http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/225/225toc.html
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/
[3] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service

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