Commercial truck accidents are often very destructive, frightening experiences, leaving victims unsure what to do and worried that they may harm themselves further if they do the wrong things. If you’ve ever experienced a truck accident, or just seen one shut down a road or highway, then you understand just how difficult it is to think clearly and act wisely after such an accident.
In very simple terms, victims of truck accidents should have two main priorities immediately following the collision. First, it is always important to receive proper medical attention if you have any injuries. Even if you do not feel any pain, you may have delayed onset injuries that do not cause pain until hours or even days later. If you think that you got away from the accident without injuries or only with minor scrapes, bruises, and soreness, be sure to go to a doctor as soon as you can for a full medical examination. This ensures that you do not suffer needlessly from injuries a medical can identify and treat.
Second, it is very important to gather as much evidence about the accident as possible at the scene, before the cleanup crews arrive to remove the debris. Large truck accidents can cost the liable party hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the owner of the truck or employer of the driver will do everything they can to avoid payment. The more evidence you gather at the scene of the accident, the stronger and more compelling your claim, giving you the tools you need to recover from any injuries as thoroughly as possible and compensating you for your other losses, like missed income and related pain and suffering.
What type of evidence should you gather?
It is not always easy to know where to start gathering evidence, especially if you are shaken by the accident and full of adrenaline. Be sure to gather as much evidence as you can in the moment, including:
- Pictures and video of the accident scene
- Security footage of the accident from nearby businesses or homes
- Recorded or written statements by witnesses
- Driver’s logs
These pieces of evidence serve a strong base for a claim, particularly the driver’s logs, which may shed light on how long the driver drove before the accident and whether or not they followed the laws that limit continuous drive time.
Electronic control module data
Commercial trucks also contain an electronic control module, or ECM, that records driving data from the vehicle, much like an airplane’s black box records flight data. This information may make or break a claim, but you must act quickly to obtain it. The owner of the truck retains the legal right to delete this data at any time unless they receive a formal request for it.
Make sure to formally request the ECM data as soon as you can, within 24 hours if possible. Otherwise, this evidence may get lost forever.
Protecting your rights and recovery is no easy task, but if you don’t take action to keep yourself secure, you may face enormous medical bills and other expenses without a strong claim to fair compensation. A strong legal strategy protects your safety while you recover from injuries and helps ensure that you receive all the compensation that you deserve while you work towards full recovery and entry to your regular life.