If you intend to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a truck accident, the outcome of your case will ultimately hinge on the strength of your evidence. Unfortunately, much of the evidence needed to support your case might be time-sensitive, and it’s not unheard-of for trucking companies to withhold or even cover up evidence of negligence.
A seasoned truck accident lawyer can help you compile essential evidence while it is still available. If the defendant refuses to hand over evidence voluntarily, your attorney can work to obtain it by filing a subpoena.
At the end of the day, the kinds of evidence needed to support your case will depend on the circumstances; however, the following evidence often plays an important role in truck accident lawsuits.
Evidence of Liability
Liability will most likely be established by proving negligence, meaning that the defendant or one of its employees breached the duty of care owed to you or to your deceased family member. There are many ways that the negligence of a truck driver, motor carrier, or another party could lead to an accident. Examples include:
- Failing to perform reasonable maintenance on the truck;
- Improperly securing the cargo;
- Overloading the cargo;
- Failing to adequately screen truck drivers before hiring them;
- Violating the Hours of Service Regulations; or
- Breaking another traffic law such as speeding or making an illegal turn.
Depending on the cause of the accident, evidence of negligence may include:
- The police report;
- Bills of landing and other cargo manifests;
- Black box data;
- Cellphone records;
- Surveillance and dashcam footage;
- The motor carrier’s hiring, training, and operating procedures;
- Toll booth records;
- The truck driver’s receipts from gas stations and restaurants;
- Truck maintenance records;
- The deposition of an accident reconstruction expert; and
- Eyewitness deposition.
Evidence of Causation
You must be able to prove that your damages would not have been incurred but for the accident. In some cases, proving causation is fairly straightforward, but if you had a pre-existing condition, the defense might say that your damages would have occurred even if the accident had not happened. You might also face a causation dispute if the injuries were aggravated by your own negligence—for example, if you returned to work or strenuous activities against your doctor’s orders. This is called a “failure to mitigate damages.”
To counter these defenses, your lawyer might use the following evidence:
- Deposition from your treating physician;
- Deposition from other medical experts;
- Your medical records from before and after the accident; and
- Any evidence to demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to facilitate your recovery, such as documentation of medical visits, time off work, etc.
Evidence of Damages
Depending on the types of damages you intend to pursue, valuable evidence may include:
- Your medical records;
- Your financial records such as paystubs and income tax returns;
- Deposition from your treating physician and other medical experts;
- Deposition from a vocational expert and an economist;
- Deposition from friends, family, and caregivers;
- The content of your personal injury journal;
- Contractor estimates or receipts for property repairs; and
- Receipts for other necessary expenses arising from the accident.
Discuss Your Case with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Spartanburg
The attorneys at Hodge & Langley Law Firm have many years of experience helping truck accident victims fight for the compensation they deserve. We have the resources to take on even the largest motor carriers and their insurance companies. Send us a message or call 864-585-3873 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.