Building a claim after a traffic accident is often a complicated, lengthy process. For many victims, it is difficult to know where to start, or how to build a personal injury claim. Additionally, if the accident resulted in serious injuries, an individual needs to focus their time and energy on recovery.
If you or someone close to you needs to build an injury claim after a truck accident, it is important to understand how truck accidents differ from other traffic accidents. Not only do truck accidents often involve more than two parties, they also feature unique forms of evidence victims should gather as they reconstruct how their accident occurred.
Many potential defendants
Commercial trucks typically involve at least three parties when they are on the road. These include the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck and the party that hired the driver to make a haul. In many instances, the owner of the truck is also the driver or the driver's employer, but not always.
After any truck accident, victims must consider the employment status of the driver. If the driver works as an independent contractor, then they may hold liability for the accident personally, but if some third party employs the driver, then the employer may hold the liability.
If the accident occurred because of poorly performed repairs or a failed component within the truck, then the party that performed the repairs or the manufacturer of the failed component may hold the share in the liability in the accident. Likewise, a loading crew that did not secure a load of cargo properly may hold have liability if shifting cargo caused the accident.
Clearly, there are many potential defendants to consider, and they each may try to blame each other to avoid liability for your losses and suffering.
Important evidence to gather
As soon as possible, it is smart to begin gathering evidence to build a strong claim. Two kinds of evidence are particularly important, the driver's logs and the electronic control module data. The driver's logs indicate how often the driver rested during their route, which may play a part in the accident.
The electronic control module data is similar to flight recorder data used to identify the causes of plane crashes, and most trucks built after the mid-90s include them. However, the owner of the truck owns the data and may legally delete it until you formally request that they hand it over. It is important to request this data as quickly as possible so that it does not disappear.
Protecting your rights after an accident takes time and effort, so make sure that you use high quality legal resources and guidance as you progress, to keep yourself secure.