Technology has also created an opportunity to obtain valuable evidence in truck accident cases. This evidence includes onboard data recorders, electronic control module, engine control system, rollover prediction systems, vehicle event monitors, collision warning systems, and other monitoring systems.
Unfortunately, much of this data can be lost if not downloaded right away from the devices that collect this information. In addition to the information available onboard the truck, most trucking companies have an extensive communication and tracking system for their trucks. This information can be used to recreate the truck’s trip.
As part of our representation of truck accident injury victims, we seek to obtain this evidence, often through a court order.
Separate from the information from the truck and the trucking company, other entities may have information about the trucker’s trip. Weigh stations, the gates that trucks go through at company sites (which require that they be “signed in”), toll booths (through electronic “speed pass” toll-paying gadgets inside trucks and through toll booth receipts), and truck stop lots also may keep records. To ensure that this data is not lost, evidence from these different entities also should be sought as quickly as possible.
Examining Truck Load and Retention Devices
In order to further your case, it is important that we have the tractor, trailer, load, and load retention devices examined promptly after an accident. This is another reason that you should act quickly in hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer. Many times trucking companies have the cargo unloaded and reshipped in a very short period of time. Once the truck is unloaded and the truck is put back into service, black box data is often lost.
To prevent important evidence from being lost, destroyed, or altered by a trucking company, we must promptly inform them of your injury claim, and advise them that all evidence must be retained.
Many trucking companies have a short retention schedule for data that they are not required to keep under FMCSR (the Federal regulations for truck drivers and truck companies). Once the retention period has expired, unless they are otherwise notified that specific records must be kept (such as in a lawsuit), truck companies are free to destroy certain records.
To ensure that this evidence is not destroyed, we will often seek to have a temporary restraining order issued that would prevent evidence destruction. If we are not retained until after the retention period, even though the trucking company may have destroyed certain information, we nonetheless may be able to get the information from the truck driver, as some drivers keep separate information.
The Concern for Preserving Evidence
The preservation of evidence is a primary concern in all trucking cases. This evidence may establish over-driving, unsafe equipment, improper truck loading, and other FMCSR violations that may be the difference between winning and losing the case. However, in order for evidence to be useful to your case, we must act promptly before it is destroyed.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, please call us now.
We will need to take action immediately to preserve the evidence that may be critical to your case.
We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe us any fees, even for the initial consult, unless and until we recover damages for you. If we are retained, we will do our utmost to recover for you the full measure of damages to which you deserve