The trucking industry is subject to federal regulations that were put in place to protect others on the roadway from becoming injured or killed as a result of an accident involving a commercial truck. These regulations can make proving a Hampton truck accident claim labor-intensive as there can be a lot of federally-required documentation to go through. An experienced Hampton truck accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates understands the type of evidence involved in a truck accident claim and can provide the services needed to assist the claimant in proving their case.
The Type of Evidence Needed to Prove a Hampton Truck Accident Claim
In order to have a successful outcome to a Hampton truck accident claim, the claimant and their attorney must be able to prove liability. If the accident was a result of carelessness or recklessness on the part of the truck driver, they can be found liable for compensating the injuries caused. However, if the truck driver is employed by a trucking company, the company can also be found liable in some cases due to the responsibilities they have for the actions of their employees when they are on the job.
Some evidence a Hampton truck accident attorney will consider when proving their client’s claim, depending on the circumstances of the accident, includes the following.
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Truck Driver Qualification File
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry, requires trucking companies to retain a driver qualification file for all drivers. This file includes a copy of the driver’s driving record, which must be updated annually; proof that the driver has obtained a medical examination every two years and is healthy enough to handle the physical and mental demands of the job; the driver’s application for employment; and proof that they have passed a road test in order to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial truck.
Pre-Trip Inspection Reports
The FMCSA requires all drivers to complete a pre-trip inspection on their vehicle and equipment before every trip to ensure that the vehicle does not have any damages or defects that would impact the ability to safely operate it on Hampton roadways. A truck accident lawyer in Hampton would consider this evidence if there is reason to believe that the accident occurred due to a lack of maintenance or failure to conduct a pre-trip inspection that would have resulted in the discovery of issues that could impair the safety of the truck.
The Black Box
Commercial trucks all contain an event data recorder (EDR), also known as a black box. The black box contains a number of useful pieces of information when investigating liability in a truck accident case, such as when the truck’s brakes were applied, the speed the truck was traveling at the time of the crash, whether cruise control was engaged at the time of the accident, and more.
Unfortunately, the black box data is among the most difficult types of evidence to obtain, as trucking companies can quickly overwrite or destroy the information contained on the black box. Because this data is only available for about 30 days, it is important for those injured in Hampton truck accidents to obtain the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney in Hampton who can send a preservation of evidence letter as soon as possible.
Hours of Service Log
Truck drivers are limited in the amount of hours they can drive before taking an off-duty break, as well as how many hours they can drive in a week before they are required to take at least 34 hours of time off-duty. They are required to electronically log their hours and this information can be helpful if your attorney is attempting to prove a claim involving a fatigued driver.
The Police Report
Truck accidents generally involve investigations by local and state police, and in some cases even by federal authorities. The reports generated from these investigations can provide useful evidence for a truck accident claim, such as the names of witnesses, any citations that were issued or arrests that were made, as well as the investigating officer’s narrative on how the accident occurred.
The narrative is generally not admissible in court, as the police officer likely did not witness the accident. However, it can serve to point the attorney in the direction of the type of evidence that can prove the claim.
Documentation of the Post-Crash Drug and Alcohol Test
The FMCSA has a number of regulations pertaining to the use of drugs and alcohol by CDL-holders. One of those regulations is a required drug and alcohol test after every crash to check for impairment. It should be noted that CDL-holders are subject to a lower blood alcohol content for legal impairment than other types of drivers.
A Hampton truck accident lawyer often relies on the testimony of witnesses to help prove a claim. There are two types of witnesses: eyewitnesses and expert witnesses. Eyewitnesses can offer information about the driver’s behavior before or just after the crash, as well as how the crash took place. Expert witnesses can provide accident reconstruction services or even medical opinions about the impacts the claimant will likely suffer as the result of their injury.
Proof of Expenses and Impacts
In addition to proving liability, a Hampton truck accident lawyer will also collect evidence of expenses and impacts. The type of evidence generally considered includes medical bills, auto repair bills, receipts for home improvements needed to accommodate the injury, documentation of wage loss, testimony of family and friends about the impacts the injury has had on the claimant’s life, and the claimant’s journal of medical appointments and procedures required to treat the injury.
A Hampton Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You with Your Claim
The experienced legal team at John Foy & Associates understands that being injured in a truck accident is a chaotic and overwhelming experience. Let us take some of the burden involved in determining the evidence you need to prove your claim. For your free case evaluation, contact us.