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How Evidence Is Preserved in a Truck Accident Case

Published on Sep 23, 2022 at 5:03 pm in Truck Accidents.

accident report

After an accident involving a commercial truck, an injured passenger vehicle occupant may be entitled to take legal action against the negligent driver or trucking company. If this happened to you or a loved one, you understand the seriousness of large truck collisions. An accident victim may be facing years of medical expenses and rehabilitative care for the debilitating injuries they suffered in the crash.  

In order to recover compensation for the losses caused by the negligent party, victims can file a truck accident claim against the responsible company. This ensures that an innocent victim is not forced to bear financial responsibility for another party’s negligence.  

However, truck accident claims are highly complex. The trucking company’s insurer will make recovering compensation as difficult as possible, demanding substantial evidence to support the claim. In many cases, the truck company itself will alter or destroy evidence to evade liability and the penalties associated with safety violations. Preserving evidence thus becomes a central part of many truck accident lawsuits.   

In the following article, our truck accident lawyers will examine how evidence is preserved in a truck accident case. If you have questions about your own legal matter, please reach out to The Solomon Law Group in Columbia, SC to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.        

What Evidence Can Be Used in a Truck Accident Case? 

A truck accident case is different from other types of personal injury claims. An accident like a slip and fall may depend on evidence such as eyewitness reports or security camera footage. In a vehicular crash involving a commercial truck, however, evidence is much more involved—and often much more difficult to come by. Your truck accident lawyer will likely need to acquire and analyze:   

  • Company logbooks 
  • Electronic logging device (ELD) data showing a trucker’s hours of service and records of duty 
  • Drug and alcohol test results 
  • Truck “black box” or event data recorder (EDR) data 
  • Truck inspection reports 
  • Records of a driver or trucking company’s past violations 
  • Reports from a mechanic’s post-accident evaluation of the vehicle 
  • Photos of the accident scene 
  • Analysis from experts like traffic reconstructionists and forensic investigators 
  • The police report made at the scene of the crash 
  • Truck driver medical certification records 
  • Records of driver training and education 
  • Other driver documentation like commercial driver’s license (CDL) information or road tests 
  • Any complaints filed against the driver 
  • Company business records
  • Bills of lading 
  • Communication records between drivers and dispatchers 
  • The truck or truck parts involved in the collision before they are repaired 

If a trucking company successfully alters or destroys any of the evidence listed above, it may be able to avoid liability for an accident. Lawyers must act quickly to ensure evidence is preserved in a truck accident case.  

How Can Evidence Be Preserved After a Truck Accident? 

Time is of the essence when it comes to preserving evidence in a truck accident case. This is one of the reasons we recommend speaking with a trusted attorney as soon as possible following a tractor-trailer collision. If your lawyer isn’t given the opportunity to begin investigating your case right away, essential evidence may be destroyed before the legal proceedings can even begin.  

Two primary legal tools your truck accident lawyer can use to preserve evidence are a spoliation letter and a court order. 

What Is a Spoliation Letter in a Truck Accident Case? 

A spoliation letter is a legal document notifying the recipient to preserve all relevant evidence, including physical documents, electronic data, vehicles, and equipment. Truck accident attorneys typically send spoliation letters to drivers, trucking companies, and their insurers. The spoliation letter will provide details about the nature of the case, the documents and equipment to be preserved, and the investigation being conducted by the attorney’s office. If the recipient of the letter violates the terms of the notice, further legal action may need to be taken. 

What Is a Court Order in a Truck Accident Case? 

A court-ordered mandate that the defendant preserves evidence is sometimes used in a truck accident case. The court order may be in the form of a temporary restraining order or protective order. If the trucking company or other named defendant continues to tamper with evidence relevant to the case, they will be in violation of the law. By filing a motion for a court order, your truck accident attorney can alert any potential defendant that they are seriously pursuing the case and will not accept the destruction of pertinent evidence.     

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Commercial Trucking Accident? 

Multiple parties may be held liable in a trucking accident case. By the time a truck is loaded and begins its journey to deliver cargo, it has already passed through the hands of many people responsible for trucking safety. A failure to properly inspect, maintain, load, secure cargo, fuel, or follow traffic laws can all result in a devastating road accident. One negligent person’s actions can cause another’s fatality, even weeks or months later. 

When it comes to big rig accidents, South Carolina law allows injured victims to file a claim against one or more negligent parties. This may involve legal action against:   

  • Truck drivers 
  • Trucking companies 
  • Shipping and loading companies 
  • Parties responsible for repairing or maintaining vehicles 
  • Truck owners (when different from the driver or company) 
  • Truck parts manufacturing companies 

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help After a Semi-Truck Crash? 

After learning more about how evidence is preserved in a truck accident case, it’s easy to see why handling an injury claim without legal representation is so difficult. Litigating a truck accident case is a full-time job. That’s why attorneys undergo years of training and practice before they can effectively pursue compensation for injured clients. 

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an 18-wheeler accident, it’s unlikely that you have the time, energy, and resources to give your case what it deserves. Let a lawyer fight for justice on your behalf. At The Solomon Law Group, we do the hard work so you can focus on what’s most important to you.  

Call or schedule a free consultation online. An attorney from our team will be in touch soon to set up a meeting to discuss your truck accident case. 

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