The first steps your truck accident lawyer should take
What you should expect from a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney
It’s important that you hire a truck accident lawyer who can win your case. From the first day you hire your trucking accident attorney, there are steps he or she should take and questions that need to be asked.
Make sure you hire a trucking accident law firm that understands the importance of timing in a semi-truck crash and hits the ground running.
Questions your truck accident lawyer should ask immediately
The first questions that should be addressed by an accident attorney immediately upon being retained:
- What evidence do I have the power to preserve?
- What steps do I need to take to preserve the above?
- What other evidence might there be out there that the defense may have and like to destroy?
- What steps do I need to take immediately in regards to that evidence?
Finding and preserving available evidence from your trucking accident
The answers to the above questions depend in part on the nature of the case and how soon after the collision you retain an attorney. Your truck accident lawyer should try to get:
- Evidence that may be available from the scene (skid marks, debris, roadway problems, gouge marks in the roadway, visual obstructions, character of roadway, etc.) The vehicles involved in the crash and look for damage patterns and severity, black box information, etc.
- Witness statements including what was seen and not seen
- Statement from emergency personnel to determine what was observed and heard
The process will usually include a number of investigators and experts in collaboration with a good solid legal team.
Accessing trucking-specific documentation
In addition to investigating what is available from the scene, the vehicles and people involved, there are very important trucking-specific documentation that will be important for the case. These documents include:
- The hours of service logbooks and supporting materials
- Vehicle inspections and maintenance documentation
- Driver qualification documentation
All of these materials are in the possession of the trucking company and usually the materials are not available for the injured party’s lawyers to examine before litigation. Many of these documents are required by the federal and state trucking safety regulations, but these regulations only require the documents to be kept for relatively short time periods (the exact time period varies depending upon the document type).
Since the injured party’s lawyer can’t take possession of these documents, your truck accident attorney should take steps to ensure that the documents are retained. This is typically done by sending what is called a spoliation letter. This letter puts the other side on notice of an injury claim and specifically delineates what documents should be maintained. If the documents are destroyed after this letter is received, the law of many states says that a presumption arises against the party that destroyed the records that the records would have been negative for that party.
Get an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible
The sooner evidence can be examined, documentation can be preserved and witnesses can be questioned, the stronger your truck accident lawsuit can be. Don’t wait. Speak to one of our experienced truck accident lawyers today for a no-obligation initial consultation. Call 877-877-999-8227 or complete our online contact form now.