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Proving Fault in Truck Accidents: Key Evidence to Collect

by Jun 16, 2024Mike Miller, Personal Injury, Semi Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can result in devastating injuries, significant property damage, and even fatalities due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks. Proving fault in truck accidents is crucial for victims seeking compensation for their losses. To build a strong case, it is essential to collect key evidence that demonstrates the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence. This blog will guide you through the process of gathering critical evidence to prove fault in truck accidents and explain how a Minnesota truck lawyer can assist you. 

Understanding Fault in Truck Accidents 

In truck accidents, determining fault involves identifying the party or parties responsible for causing the collision. Fault can lie with the truck driver, the trucking company, the vehicle manufacturer, or other entities involved in the truck’s operation or maintenance. To establish liability, you must demonstrate that the responsible party breached their duty of care, directly causing the accident and resulting in damages. 

Key Evidence to Collect in Truck Accidents 

1) Police Reports

One of the first pieces of evidence to collect after a truck accident is the police report. Law enforcement officers who respond to the scene will document their observations, interview witnesses, and provide an initial assessment of fault. The police report can include crucial information such as: 

  • Details of the accident scene 
  • Statements from drivers and witnesses 
  • Citations or violations issued to the truck driver 
  • Preliminary determination of fault 

Obtaining a copy of the police report can provide a foundational piece of evidence to support your claim.

2) Photographic and Video Evidence

Photographic and video evidence can be compelling in proving fault in truck accidents. Capture images and videos of the accident scene, including: 

  • Vehicle positions and damage 
  • Road conditions and weather 
  • Traffic signals and signs 
  • Skid marks and debris 
  • Injuries sustained by victims 

Dashcam footage, if available, can also provide a real-time account of the accident, showing the truck driver’s actions leading up to the collision.

3) Eyewitness Testimonies

Eyewitness testimonies can provide valuable insights into how the accident occurred. Collect contact information from witnesses at the scene and ask them to provide written or recorded statements. Eyewitnesses can corroborate your account of the accident and help establish the truck driver’s negligence.

4) Truck Driver’s Logs and Records

Federal regulations require truck drivers to maintain detailed logs of their driving hours, rest breaks, and inspections. These logs can be critical in proving fault if the truck driver violated hours-of-service regulations or failed to conduct proper inspections. Your attorney can request these records to determine if fatigue or non-compliance contributed to the accident.

5) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Data

Modern commercial trucks are equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that automatically record driving hours, vehicle speed, and other operational data. ELD data can provide a precise timeline of the truck driver’s activities, helping to identify any irregularities or violations that may have led to the accident.

6) Black Box Data

Commercial trucks often have event data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes,” which capture critical information about the truck’s operation before and during a crash. Black box data can include: 

  • Vehicle speed 
  • Brake application 
  • Engine performance 
  • Steering inputs 
  • Hours driven 

This data can help reconstruct the accident and determine if the truck driver took appropriate actions to avoid the collision.

7) Maintenance and Inspection Records

Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their vehicles in safe working condition. Maintenance and inspection records can reveal whether the truck involved in the accident received regular upkeep and if any mechanical issues were overlooked. Failure to maintain the truck properly can establish the trucking company’s liability.

8) Driver’s Employment and Training Records

The truck driver’s employment and training records can provide insight into their qualifications and driving history. Evidence of inadequate training, a history of traffic violations, or a poor safety record can support your claim that the truck driver was unfit to operate the vehicle safely.

9) Expert Testimony

Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, can play a crucial role in proving fault. These experts analyze the evidence, reconstruct the accident, and provide professional opinions on how the collision occurred. Their testimony can help clarify complex technical details and strengthen your case. 

How a Minnesota Truck Lawyer Can Help 

Proving fault in a truck accident requires a thorough understanding of the law, meticulous evidence collection, and expert analysis. A Minnesota truck lawyer can provide invaluable assistance throughout the process by: 

  • Investigating the Accident: Your attorney will conduct a comprehensive investigation, gathering all relevant evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting experts to build a strong case. 
  • Preserving Evidence: Trucking companies and insurance providers may attempt to hide or destroy evidence. Your lawyer can take legal steps to preserve crucial records and data, ensuring that no vital information is lost. 
  • Navigating Complex Regulations: Truck accident cases involve federal and state regulations that govern the trucking industry. An experienced lawyer understands these regulations and can identify any violations that contributed to the accident. 
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts or deny claims. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf, advocating for fair compensation that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. 
  • Litigating in Court: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will represent you in court, presenting a compelling case to the judge and jury. 

Seek Support After A Semi Accident 

Proving fault in truck accidents is a complex process that requires collecting and analyzing various types of evidence. From police reports and photographic evidence to driver logs and black box data, each piece of evidence plays a crucial role in establishing liability. Working with a skilled Minnesota truck lawyer can significantly enhance your ability to prove fault and secure the compensation you deserve. 

At Sieben Edmunds Miller, our experienced truck accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims navigate the legal complexities of truck accident claims. We understand the challenges you face and are committed to providing compassionate, effective legal representation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact us today for a free consultation. 

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