Truck accidents are more likely to cause horrific injuries and fatalities than any other type of accident in Tennessee. It’s not that truck drivers are any worse drivers than any other road user. It’s just that the vehicles they drive are so much heavier and larger in size than any other vehicles on the road. If a crash occurs, the physics points to a more massive impact with all the more serious consequences that that entails.
Truck drivers are professionals, but the companies they work for are driven by profit. Profits are made when truck drivers get their goods to the destination as fast as possible. Truck driving is also an anti social occupation. Drivers work away from home, mostly alone for hours, sometimes days at a time. Fatigue, boredom, loneliness and stress are factors in many truck accidents. Some truck companies cut corners to enhance profits or keep afloat financially by cutting back on maintenance, using cheaper spare parts when refitting their vehicles and overloading. If an accident occurs, their first priority may be to try and eliminate blame for the accident by covering up or removing evidence.
Victims of truck accidents not only have to contend with their injuries. They have to survive the financial hit any significant accident is going to have on them. There are medical costs, lost wages, potential loss of a vehicle, trauma, emotional and psychological harm. Often, the last concern is working out why the accident happened and wondering whether compensation can be sought from the truck driver or the truck company if the accident should never have happened.
The truck accident victim may eventually be in a position to start legal proceedings against those at fault, but may find that evidence proving who was to blame for the accident is no longer available. In fact, evidence can be sought to establish fault in most truck accidents, but the sooner this is done the better, especially if the truck company tries to remove important evidence before it can be obtained. A successful personal injury lawsuit can help a victim get back on their feet, pay medical bills, buy a new car or at least get it repaired, compensate for lost wages and even compensate financially for emotional and psychological suffering. But no lawsuit will have much chance of succeeding without convincing evidence of negligence.
The value of analyzing the truck’s black box recorder after a crash
The truck’s electronic data recorder or EDR is probably the single most important source of useful evidence, showing exactly what was happening just before the impact. EDRs are like airplane ’black boxes’ and although not mandatory in older tucks, nearly very truck built since the1990s will have them. The EDR records vital information about the physical properties of the truck immediately before and after a crash. It records the speed of the truck, its GPS location, instances of sudden acceleration or deceleration, whether the driver had been on cruise control, average speed, including instances of above legal speed limits, tire pressure, whether the driver was wearing a seat belt or whether an airbag had been deployed. EDRs don’t always clinch a personal injury case, but their evidence is invaluable. Unfortunately, the data that is recorded is normally ‘overwritten’ after 30 days, which means that if the data is to be analyzed for crash insight it has to be accessed quickly. Also, unscrupulous truck companies may attempt to delete any incriminating data unless there is an injunction or other legal method used to prevent them from doing so. The fact that EDRs may help to prove fault means that any truck accident victim should arrange for a truck accident attorney to work on their behalf looking for evidence as soon as possible.
Other evidence that can help establish fault after a truck accident
EDRs are certainly not the only source of evidence after a crash. There are many other ways that negligence can be established, such as:
- The police report after an accident – police should attend any serious accident, if not just because of any injuries, but to deal with traffic hold ups. Police attending will endeavor to establish what happened while recording what they observe at the scene;
- Eye witness reports can be invaluable. Some eye witnesses may respond to pleas for information after the crash, but their accounts are much more valuable if recorded at the scene when memories are fresh.
- Photographic and video evidence can be useful, especially if it includes surveillance camera footage of events before and during the crash.
- Crash investigators can be hired to investigate the damage done to the truck and the victim’s vehicle in an effort to establish the sequence of events leading to the accident. This can be invaluable if there are clear signs of poor maintenance, defects in the truck’s vital equipment or overloading.
A serious truck accident is a nightmare scenario. Truck accidents are often due to more than one causal factor. If you, or a member of your family, have been a victim of a truck accident, you should contact a dedicated and experienced truck accident attorney at the Keith Williams Law Group in Nashville. Call 615-313-3999 today.