If a trucking accident has occurred, the immediate concern is usually helping victims at the scene. Unfortunately, since trucks are so large, many collisions involving trucks result in fatalities or serious brain injuries, burn injuries, and other serious injuries. Many trucking accidents also involve significant property damage.
Soon after a trucking accident, however, questions begin to arise about the causes of a trucking accident. Unfortunately for victims, resolving issues of liability can be challenging for a few reasons:
1) Memories fade. Victims and witnesses may start to forget the details of an accident after a time, making it more difficult to recreate exactly what happened. This can increase the possibility that witnesses and victims will have differing or even conflicting accounts of an accident. For this reason, securing witness testimony and evidence quickly is crucial.
2) Evidence is destroyed. Construction in an area – which may have contributed to an accident – will progress and eventually finish, leaving little evidence of its role in an accident. A truck may also destroy evidence by the sheer force of impact. Investigators need to act quickly to secure remaining evidence and need to use modern technology – such as accident reconstruction software – to determine what happened.
3) Evidence is misplaced. With time, important pieces of evidence, such as police records and other evidence, may simply become misplaced. Trucking investigations are complex and often require many professionals. Any one professional may inadvertently lose track of an important piece of the case, affecting the outcome of the investigation.
4) Evidence is erased. Most commercial trucks have an electronic device which records average speeds, maximum speeds, distance traveled, and other vital information. This information can be crucial to an investigation but these devices only hold so much data. If a truck continues to drive after an accident, the data is eventually erased and re-recorded over with new data. Attorneys need to act quickly to subpoena trucking companies in order to preserve these devices and the data they contain.