Preserving truck accident evidence soon after being involved in a crash with a commercial truck is critical, especially if you plan to file a truck accident claim against the responsible party. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation's 2008 Crash Analysis report, approximately 23,366 accidents involving large trucks -- such as tractor trailers, truck tractors and single-unit trucks -- occurred in 2006. Make sure you understand the types of evidence you should aim to collect if you find yourself in this situation.
Some evidence only remains on the scene for a short time; therefore, you must act quickly if you’re capable of doing so. For help collecting or preserving evidence, a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA, at the Law Offices of Shane Smith can be of assistance.
Request Data from the Trucking Company
Be sure to request important data from the trucking company with the help of a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA, when you file a truck accident claim. Because fatigue is a factor in some commercial vehicle collisions, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict guidelines on the number of hours a driver can operate a large truck each day. To prove that drivers abide by these federal regulations, they either must keep an accurate logbook or drive with an electronic onboard recorder in vehicles to keep track of their hours of service.
If your attorney can prove that the driver was not in accordance with the laws, this can be a valuable piece of truck accident evidence. But the trucking company may destroy or alter some records, so act quickly to preserve them. Notice may be given to the company not to destroy any records, so a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA, can request the truck operator's driving record to uncover more facts about the driver.
Company and driving records aren’t the only types of evidence you should aim to collect, however.
Call the Police
Right after your accident, contact the police. An officer will come to the scene of the collision and begin documenting what happened in a police report. This report is an important piece of truck accident evidence and can be used to strengthen your claim when negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement.
Collect Contact Information
While waiting for the police, ask the commercial vehicle operator for his or her phone number as well as employer and insurance coverage information. If there were any individuals who witnessed the accident, ask for their contact information as well.
Whether you have a camera feature on your cell phone or need to ask a friend to bring a disposable camera to the scene of the collision, it is important to take a lot of pictures to use as truck accident evidence. Be sure to capture the following in your photos:
- different angles of the collision;
- damage to the vehicles;
- skid marks; and
- any injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
In order for your injury claim to be successful, you must prove that the other party injured you. Seek medical attention right after your collision, even if you don't feel badly injured at the time. Some injuries -- such as a concussion or internal bleeding -- may not be noticeable at first, so it is better to be safe and get checked out at a hospital or doctor’s office shortly after the collision.
Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta, GA, Today
When you or a loved one has been the victim of a collision involving a commercial vehicle, filing a truck accident claim is necessary to collect damages for medical treatment, lost wages and much more. A personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, GA, at the Law Offices of Shane Smith can help you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. Read our free eBook, 10 Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Georgia Car Wreck Case and call (888) 927-6955 today to learn more about preserving truck accident evidence.