When you're involved in a truck accident, securing the right evidence to support your claim for damages will be important to winning your lawsuit. In addition to witness statements and video recordings from any cameras that were in use nearby, you'll want to ensure you secure evidence from these two additional sources.
Commercial trucks are huge mechanical beasts capable of doing a lot of damage to roads, structures, and other vehicles when they are involved in accidents. As such, these vehicles are subjected to federal and state regulations that require them to undergo a number of inspections. Additionally, when a truck is actually involved in an accident, the vehicle is typically looked at by a certified truck inspector before it is removed from the place where the accident occurred.
Therefore, you'll want to contact all the appropriate government agencies to obtain as much information about the condition of the truck before and after it was involved in the accident. These agencies include:
- The state police for whom the certified truck inspector works for
- State Department of Transportation or DMV to obtain weigh station records of how much the truck was carrying at the time
- Commercial Vehicle Inspection offices that some states have which conduct yearly inspections on trucks to ensure they're road worthy.
It's important to contact the government agencies as soon as possible after the accident, as there may be a time limit on how long information about the truck in question will remain on file.
Internal Black Box
Another place to get needed information about a truck is from the truck's Electronic Control Module (ECM). This is a truck's "Black Box" that records a variety of information about the vehicle such as its rate of speed, operation time, and whether the brakes were applied at the time of the accident. The ECM can be invaluable for proving certain aspects of your case. For instance, the truck's operation time can tell you how long the driver was on the road before the accident occurred.
ECM data is typically saved on the internal device for 30 days. Then the information is overwritten with new data, which is a problem if the truck is still being used by the company to transport items. Additionally, some trucking companies will erase the data in an attempt to hurt your case. It's critical that you have an attorney submit a court order requiring the company to hand over the ECM data as soon as possible after the accident.
For more information about where to obtain evidence to support your trucking lawsuit, contact a personal injury lawyer. Contact a lawyer, such as Teresa P Williams, for more information.