What Information Do I Need to Request/Preserve After a Truck Accident?
After getting into a truck accident in Florida, there are things you can do that will help your truck injury attorney represent your case. In the minutes, hours, and days after a crash, the steps you take can affect the future of your personal injury claim.
The most important task to remember (aside from caring for your well-being) is the preservation and collection of evidence. Gather the following types of evidence if you can, and keep them organized in a file or folder.
Then, bring the information to your attorney. If you don’t gather evidence of your collision, don’t worry – a lawyer can always help.
Details of the Accident
When it comes to details of your crash, there’s no such thing as too much information. Depending on your state of mind and health after a crash, you may or may not be able to stay on the scene and collect information yourself. If you have to leave in an ambulance, ask a friend or family member to stay and take down details for you, if possible. The information your truck injury attorney will want includes:
- Name of the trucking company
- Trucker’s full name and contact information
- Trucker’s insurance information
- Truck’s registration number and license plate number
- Names and contact info of any eyewitnesses to the accident
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- How and why the crash occurred, from your point of view
Write this information down somewhere safe, or record it in your phone or other mobile device for future use. Call the police to get an official write-up of the accident. The responding officer should collect most of this information for you, but it’s good to collect data on your own as well, just in case.
Photographs of the scene can make all the difference in showing indisputable proof of the devastation the truck caused to you and your vehicle. Use your phone to take photos of both vehicles, other property damage, the roadway, debris from the crash, and any injuries.
Make sure to get a wide-angle shot of the entire scene. Use the timestamp feature on your phone or camera to make the date appear under the photographs. Video footage can also help, but photographs are easier to zoom in on and analyze. Photos can go a long way in generating sympathy for the victim and building your case.
Black Box Information - VERY IMPORTANT!
One of the most important pieces of evidence in a truck accident claim is the data in the truck’s black box recorder, or electronic logging device (ELD). Back in 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandated all commercial trucking companies to install ELDs in their fleet vehicles.
Black boxes and electronic on-board data recorders collect inputs from the trucks’ sensors. After an accident, attorneys and police officers can download black box data to help determine what caused or contributed to the crash. ELDs can hold vital information about the minutes and seconds leading up to the accident, such as:
- How fast the truck was moving
- The trucker’s braking technique or lack of braking
- The trucker’s maneuvering of the vehicle before the crash
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance reports
- Truck repair records
- Number of hours/days the trucker has been on the road
It’s crucial to preserve the evidence in a truck’s black box after a crash. Contact a truck injury attorney right away to make sure this happens before the trucking company destroys the data.
A lawyer can issue a preservation of evidence order to make sure this important data stays intact for the insurance claim or personal injury trial. Black box evidence preservation can arise from filing an immediate protective order or reaching a written agreement with the other party. A lawyer can help with these time-sensitive court orders.
Official Reports and Records
Finally, you will need copies of official records and documents, such as the police report of the crash, insurance claim documents, your medical records, and any bills relating to your crash. Keep any and all documents and correspondence that happen in the hours and days following the accident.
Obtain a copy of your police report, either online or by mailing in a request to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Ask your doctor for copies of tests, scans, x-rays, diagnoses, treatment plans, and other documents to do with your injuries.
Keep a record of your conversations with insurance agents and claims adjusters, as well as any letters they send you.
Get an Attorney’s Help with Evidence Preservation and Gathering
If you suffered injuries in a Florida truck accident, you bear the burden of proving the other party’s fault – whether it was the truck driver, trucking company, or a third party. The evidence you preserve and gather can make a difference in your case, and serve to prove the defendant’s fault and liability.
Retain an experienced Florida truck injury attorney for assistance with the formal side of evidence gathering to optimize your chance of compensation.
To learn more about truck accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Accident Victims.