The Importance of Preserving Evidence in a Maryland Truck Accident Case
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Apr 30, 2019 in Truck Accidents
After a truck accident, the next step after seeking medical care for your injuries is to begin preserving evidence. Evidence can be pivotal to proving fault, determining the extent of your damages, and pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Our Silver Spring truck accident attorneys discuss key evidence that should be preserved and how to do it below. For help with your truck accident injury claim, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation now.
Types of Evidence That Must Be Preserved
There are many types of evidence that are helpful in a truck accident claim. After your accident, your attorney can seek the following information that will be useful to establish fault in your claim:
Black Box Data
Commercial trucks are equipped with a black box device that monitors the vehicle while driving. The black box data provides evidence such as:
- Vehicle speeds
- Tracking system records
- On-board recordings
- GPS records
- Braking information
- Gear shifts
- Operating hours
- Driver reports
The data from the truck’s black box is useful in proving liability for the truck driver as well as the truck company.
Trucking Company Records
Commercial trucking companies and truck drivers are required to keep electronic and paper records on file. The following information may be helpful as evidence in your claim:
- Daily, annual and roadside inspections
- Maintenance records
- Driver’s daily logs
- Driver employment and training records
- Bills of lading
- Dispatch records
- Insurance policy information
- Truck weight records
- Out of Service reports
- Federal and state inspection reports
Your lawyer can also request a copy of the accident report from the responding law enforcement agency. The accident report includes evidence such as:
- Accident location, time of day and conditions
- Officer’s opinion on who is at fault
- Names and contact information for witnesses
- Tickets issued due to the accident
- Any arrests made due to the accident
It is also vital to return to the accident scene to take photos if the victim was unable to do so immediately after the collision. We can photograph possible evidence such as:
- Skid marks on the roadway
- Crash debris
- Roadway conditions
How to Preserve Evidence and Protect Your Case
It is in your best interest to hire a skilled truck accident attorney who has experience with preserving evidence in commercial truck accident cases. Your attorney will take the necessary steps to request evidence from the truck company be preserved, such as sending a spoliation letter.
A spoliation letter is a formal notice that tells the party to keep certain evidence relevant to a legal claim that arose from an event – in this case, the accident. A spoliation letter may also be called a litigation hold or stop destruction letter.
Once a spoliation letter is received, the party is required to keep the evidence. If the truck company then destroys the evidence, it could face criminal charges, fines and punitive damages, as well as a lost case in court. Destroying evidence after a spoliation letter is sent is harmful for the defendant in court, as a judge may rule that the jury can assume the evidence was damaging to the defense’s case.
Federal and state regulations require that truck companies preserve certain data for a set period of time – after that period, the company is free to destroy it. It is critical that spoliation letters be sent to the necessary parties as soon as possible so the evidence is preserved for your claim.
Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help You
If you have been injured in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident lawyers in Silver Spring can help you pursue damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will work to preserve critical evidence to help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available in your case. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.