When an accident involves a tractor-trailer, it is usually a lot more complicated than a crash involving a standard passenger vehicle. Freight considerations, federal shipping regulations, and the immense size of the truck are all essential factors in establishing liability in a truck accident. Due to the fact that truck accidents involve more regulations, more danger, and more variables, there are a lot more factors for investigators to study.
The Virginia truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you gather, organize, and index all evidence relevant to your case.
Physical Evidence from the Accident
In truck accident cases, physical evidence tends to be more comprehensive, time-sensitive, and document-heavy than in a basic car accident case. Some forms of physical evidence include:
- Photos of the immediate injuries
- Documentation of the damage done to any vehicles involved
- Evidence of any defective truck part that could have caused the accident
These are not the only kinds of proof that can be used to establish a claim against a truck driver or their parent company, but they can be extremely useful in establishing fault at the scene.
Evidence from Company or Other Records
Federal trucking regulations place relatively stringent record-keeping demands on anyone who owns a trucking company. If you were injured in a Virginia trucking accident, some good ways to gather details that will support your case include:
- Work Status and Drive Time: Federal laws require truck operators to adhere to strict schedules to make sure they are not overworked and falling asleep behind the wheel. They also require operators to maintain detailed records of their work. Their logbook could be invaluable evidence for proving negligence in your case if it indicates they did not take their federally-mandated breaks.
- Truck Maintenance, Repair, and Inspection: Trucking companies are responsible for making sure their fleet is safe through routine maintenance, repair, and inspection. If company records reveal that a truck involved in a crash was improperly maintained and that insufficient maintenance played a role in the incident, this can also be used to show negligence on the part of the company, operator, or both.
- Cargo and Weight: When a truck’s load is not evenly distributed, or the trailer is overloaded, it can contribute to hazardous conditions that can cause a serious accident. Proof of this can be found in the form of highway weight station reports and bills of lading.
- Electronic Data: These days, nearly all commercial trucks are equipped with an event data recorder or electronic control module that tracks details relevant to an accident. These devices are similar to the black box recorders found on trains and airplanes. This data is also extremely useful in determining the cause of a truck crash.
- Evidence of Driver Negligence or Inexperience: In almost all Virginia truck accident cases, one of the primary contributing factors is a basic human error made by the operator themselves. Just like most other facets of the trucking business, companies are federally obligated to keep records regarding the ability of their operators to do their job. Some records that could help your case include:
- Current documentation, or lack thereof, of the operator’s training and certification
- The operator’s driving record. This could speak to negligence if they employed someone with a history of traffic violations
- Post-crash alcohol and drug tests
Why Is Evidence Important in Virginia Truck Accident Cases?
Evidence is the core of any legal case, but where commercial truck accidents are concerned, there could be multiple sources of hard-to-decipher information and conflicting theories of why and how the crash occurred. Our Virginia truck accident attorneys work diligently to gather evidence, thoroughly examine it, and use our findings to create the strongest case possible to present to the jury. The more proof we can uncover that points to company or driver negligence, the better your chances of getting the settlement or verdict you deserve.
Speak With An Experienced Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer
Reaching out to an experienced legal team that has decades of experience working with Virginia truck accidents can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. If you were injured in a collision involving a commercial truck, contact the Virginia truck accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as possible by calling (833) 997-1774 or through our online contact form.