By Andrew R. Bronsnick
If you’ve been hurt in a crash involving a commercial truck, you may believe that it’s just like any other motor vehicle accident and that a skilled car accident lawyer can handle your case. But truck accident claims are very different. You need an attorney who understands the many different potential causes of a truck wreck and knows how to gather the necessary information and prepare an effective case.
Truckers and trucking companies understand the potential consequences of an accident and will work closely with their insurance companies in the aftermath of a collision. You can expect that the insurer will have an adjuster at the scene of the accident, often before vehicles are hauled away. For that reason, it’s critical that you have a lawyer who will move quickly to gather and safeguard all relevant evidence. You’ll want pictures of everything related to the crash, as well as witness statements, but your attorney will also want to obtain:
- Copies of the truck driver’s log, indicating how much time was spent on the road immediately prior to the accident, as well as when the driver last took a break, so that you can determine whether driver fatigue was a factor—it’s one of the most common causes of truck accidents
- Information from the truck’s so-called “black box,” an on-board data recorder that tracks speed, steering, braking and other statistics
- Copies of the vehicle’s maintenance log to verify that ongoing and necessary repairs and maintenance were completed
- Weigh station documentation to determine whether the trailer exceeded legal weight limits
- Cell phone records showing use before and at the time of the accident