Accidents that involve large commercial trucks cause incredible destruction, and may leave victims with serious, life-threatening injuries and significant property damage. The process of building a personal injury and property damage claim is complicated and lengthy, and many victims miss out on important forms of compensation because they do not understand the intricacies of the claim process and the rights that they have to protect.
If you or someone you love experiences a commercial truck accident, then it is wise to begin gathering evidence from the scene of the accident as soon as possible, once you are not in any physical danger. Remember, it is always important to receive a full medical examination after any traffic accident, to identify hidden injuries before they cause larger problems.
Gathering evidence from the scene and the vehicles involved gives you more tools to work with while you build your claim. These claims are more complicated to settle than accidents that only involve consumer drivers, because they may involve several other parties who may hold some or all of the liability for the associated losses. The sooner you begin building your claim, the sooner you can keep your rights in New Jersey secure.
Gathering evidence at the scene
Like all car accidents, it is wise to take photos and video footage of the scene as soon as the accident occurs, if possible. The longer you wait to document the accident, the less evidence there is to find. Clean-up crews and weather may wipe away most of the important evidence if you do not document it quickly, making it more difficult to prove who holds liability.
If you can find security footage from nearby homes and businesses, this is also helpful. You may also find that witnesses are willing to give you written or recorded statements, but be mindful to limit what you say to any other party in the accident. They also have claims to build, and may be looking for any reason to shift the liability to you.
Truck driver logs and control module data
Commercial trucks contain two important pieces of evidence that you must request quickly to receive. First, you can ask the driver to provide their drivers' logs, which they must provide. These logs outline how often they stop to rest on a long haul, and may shed light on overworking or sleep deprivation that could have contributed to the accident.
Secondly, you should request the truck's electronic control module data from the owner of the truck. It is important to note that this is not always the driver. The data from the module may show the driver's habits behind the wheel or potentially point to a malfunctioning component within the vehicle that caused the accident. Request this data as soon as you can, so that the owner of the truck does not destroy it.
Building a claim is not simple, but it is well worth the effort. You may have many losses from your accident, including physical injuries, and your rights and well-being deserve protection and compensation.