Commercial truck accidents can cause massive damage and injuries, making them some of the most dangerous accidents that commonly occur. If you recently experienced a truck accident, you may have serious injuries and significant property losses and may need to build a legal claim to protect your rights and seek fair compensation for your losses.
Building a claim after a truck accident is not always a simple process. In many cases, it is not clear which party caused the accident, even if you are not at fault. Commercial trucks involve many parties, including the driver, the owner of the truck, the party preparing and securing the truck’s cargo, and potentially others. To build a strong claim that keeps you secure, it is important to gather as much evidence as you can as quickly as possible, to help determine who holds liability for your losses.
Electronic event recorders
The technology that helps keep us safe on the road continues to evolve, and commercial trucks manufactured in the last 25 years should all include some form of an electronic event recorder, sometimes also called an electronic control unit. These devices record data from various components in a truck, similar to a black box in an aircraft. As soon as you can, it is wise to request the device’s data from the owner of the truck (who may not be the driver). It is important to note that the owner of the vehicle owns the data, and retains the legal right to delete this data until they receive your formal request.
Drivers must maintain logs indicating how often they rest while out on the road. In many instances, the parties that hire drivers pressure them to work unsafe hours, often leading to drowsiness behind the wheel. Make sure to request these logs from the driver of the truck as soon as you can.
Other liable parties
Truck drivers are not always responsible for accidents, even if the vehicle itself causes a collision. For instance, if a component of the truck malfunctions, the performance of the truck may change, leading to an accident. Similarly, drivers are not typically the individuals maintaining and repairing a truck, and an accident may occur because of a bad repair or poor maintenance. In these instances, the parties responsible for the repairs or the manufacturer of the component may hold liability.
It is also possible that the truck’s cargo shifted during transit, which can quickly create dangerous circumstances beyond a driver’s control. In these cases, the party that loaded and secured the cargo may hold liability.
Finally, it is important to determine if the driver was operating as an independent contractor or as an employee of a company. If the driver acted as an employee, the company may hold liability. It is not always easy to establish this relationship, so be sure to research the issue.
As you build your claim, use high quality legal resources and guidance as needed. The legal issues at hand are not simple, and seeking full compensation for your losses takes time. With a strong legal strategy, you can focus on your recovery and use the strength of the law to protect your rights.