In a commercial truck accident in Southern California, you could suffer long-term injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or internal organ damage. You might be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you were not at fault for causing your crash.
However, you will need evidence if you want to convince the trucking company's insurance company to pay you the maximum recovery you deserve in your settlement. It is best to retain an experienced truck accident attorney to help obtain the evidence you need to win your case.
Basic Types of Evidence You Need in a Truck Crash Case
As in a car, pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle collision claim, you need to prove the trucker's negligence in causing the accident, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of compensation you are entitled to under California law. There are many types of evidence needed in all motor vehicle crash cases that can help you build a winning case:
- Police report
- Photos and video footage
- Eyewitness statements and testimony
- Expert witness reports
- Medical records and bills
- Paystubs and other documentation of wage losses
- Repair or replacement receipts for property damaged in the wreck
Unique Evidence Needed in Truck Accident Cases
In addition, the truck driver and trucking company are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They must follow stringent rules designed to promote safety and avoid truck accidents. Violations of FMCSA rules are often one of the causes of truck accidents in San Diego and Southern California.
You might need unique evidence to prove the trucker's and trucking company's negligence in causing your crash. Helpful evidence that can be helpful includes the following.
The 18-wheeler's black box can provide information on the truck's speed, whether the trucker applied their brakes, and how long the trucker had been driving without taking a break. You must preserve the black box data quickly before it is taped over or destroyed.
Many commercial trucks are equipped with a front-facing or rear-facing camera. An outward-facing camera would record what was directly in front of the truck before the collision and show if the trucker was driving too close to the vehicle in front of them or otherwise driving unsafely.
An inward-facing camera can help show if the trucker was talking on a cellphone, texting, or otherwise distracted, driving while drowsy, or engaging in other unsafe behaviors. Like black box data, this footage must be obtained immediately after the truck collision.
Truck drivers are only permitted to drive a certain number of hours without taking a break under federal hours of service regulations. They must record their rest breaks in a logbook. Reviewing the logbook can help prove that the trucker violated the FMCSA regulations and was too drowsy to drive safely.
Unfortunately, the truck driver could falsify the information in their logbook. You must obtain their food, gas, and other receipts to determine when the trucker really took rest breaks.
Under federal regulations, trucking companies are required to perform regular inspections and maintenance of their trucks. You will need to review their maintenance records to determine if they complied with this requirement and whether a lack of repairs caused your truck crash.
Emails and Cellphone Records
Cellphone records can help you show whether the trucker was texting or talking on the phone when your truck accident occurred. Emails between the trucking company and the trucker can provide helpful information to show whether the trucking company was encouraging them to violate the hours of service rules or drive their truck when they knew it needed repairs.
Truck Driver Personal File
You will need to review the trucker's personal file to determine if they were qualified to drive a truck, had medical issues that impacted their ability to drive a truck, had been involved in other truck accidents, and more.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Reviewing the trucker's alcohol and drug testing results can help determine if they had a substance abuse problem. The trucker may have been required to under alcohol and drug testing after your crash, which can help prove their intoxication caused your collision.