Preserving Truck Accident Evidence

October 14, 2019

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision involving a commercial truck, it is important that you immediately hire an attorney to start an investigation and begin to obtain and protect truck accident evidence.

How Trucking Company’s Attorneys Operate

In severe crashes, the trucking company will have an attorney and an entire investigation team on the scene of a collision before the police complete their investigation. By the time you make it to the hospital or to see a doctor, the trucking company and its investigation team have already taken numerous steps to make it difficult for anyone injured in the truck accident to seek full and fair compensation.

HPS Law has attorneys that worked exclusively for trucking companies and their insurers for 20+ years combined.

During that time, our firms regularly received phone calls at all hours of the day and night from trucking company managers or owners reporting a wreck and hiring us to travel to the scene to speak with the driver and begin an investigation. That telephone call usually happened when the collision resulted in catastrophic injuries or even the loss of life.

Our defense firms would send us to the scene of the crash to oversee the investigation, to speak with the driver, to speak with the safety director, and to coordinate with an accident reconstructionist. We began shaping the trucking company defense before the injured party would leave the hospital.

What a Trucking Company Does After an Accident

When a truck driver is involved in a collision, he or she makes two phone calls – probably before stepping down from the truck. First, to 911. Second, to a manager or safety director.

If the collision happens anywhere near one of the trucking company’s offices, then a manager will drive straight to the scene. The manager will make sure an accident reconstructionist takes measurements, photographs and documents the scene, inspects the tractor-trailer, gathers the driver’s logs, and downloads the engine information.

Gathering and preserving that information gives the trucking company’s team a head start on building a defense.

Truck Accident Evidence

The crash investigation leads to a lot of important evidence.

Electronic Control Module

An engine download from the electronic control module (ECM) shows how fast a truck driver was traveling in the seconds before a crash, when the truck driver hit the brakes before a crash, and other important data.

Truck Inspection

A truck inspection shows whether the tractor-trailer had any defects that may have caused or contributed to the cause of a crash.

The inspection may show the driver’s headlights (in a rear-end collision) were not on or working because there is no “hot shock” evidence in the light bulb.

Or it may show the underride bar – aka the Mansfield bar – on the back of the trailer was too low or too high, which led to improper distribution of forces in the crash (if a vehicle hits the back of a trailer).

Driver Logs

An inspection of the driver’s logs may show the driver was fatigued or driving in violation of the federal hours of service laws.

Interior Cab Photos

And photographs of the interior of the tractor may show the driver was relying on an energy drink or caffeine pills (suggesting fatigue) or even had drugs or alcohol in the cab.

These are just a few examples of evidence gathered by the defense in the hours after a crash.

Hiring an Attorney to Preserve Truck Accident Evidence

Most trucking cases require a lawsuit and do not settle quickly. It’s difficult to truly evaluate a trucking case without having access to all of the information already in the defense team’s hands.

An injured party will never get this information from the defense if they fail to hire an aggressive attorney who knows where this evidence is preserved. Knowing what is available in a trucking case and where to find it is what separates HPS Lawyers from others.

Reach out to someone at the HPS Law team if you’ve been injured in a truck accident. You can fill out a form or reach us directly at 404-400-1175

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