Promptly initiating a thorough investigation after a truck accident can be instrumental in the success of a case or claim. An experienced Clayton County truck accident attorney can preserve the essential evidence for truck accident victims.
Frequently, evidence contained in Event Data Recorders (EDRs) can be compared to driver-supplied logs to verify key information following an accident. Though Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations require truck drivers to maintain documentation showing specific driving and resting times, truck "black boxes" can prove that drivers have falsified information.
Trucking companies are only required to keep specific records about cabs, trailers and drivers for limited amounts of time. An attorney can send a spoliation letter to a trucking company after an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck. "Spoliation" is the destruction, concealment, loss or alteration of evidence and is illegal. A spoliation letter puts the trucking company on notice that it must preserve evidence related to the accident because an accident victim has a claim against the company. The victim's attorney may subsequently request accident-related evidence. Sending the spoliation letter promptly after an accident can preserve key evidence.
Preserved evidence may be used to prove that a trucking company or the truck driver in the accident did not follow federal mandates about resting times. Paperwork may indicate that a trucking company neglected warning signs about hazardous cab or trailer conditions. Accident investigators may also determine that some physical quality of the cab or trailer was the proximate cause of the accident.
Trucking companies may quickly repair a damaged cab or trailer after an accident. The company may argue that this is done to render the equipment functional again for its intended use. However, key evidence may be destroyed by repairing the cab and trailer before an accident inspector or reconstructionist examines them. If a truck accident victim does not retain the services of a capable attorney promptly after an accident the vehicles may be repaired and placed back in service, thus destroying important evidence.