The truck industry is an important sector that fuels the Californian economy. As the consumers' needs grow, so does the demand for the truck drivers and trucks that use the roads in California. The industry is deadline-driven and bustling, putting a great deal of pressure on the drivers to log more miles in a short time.
Professional drivers who operate the trucks work under time constraints and massive pressure. These conditions often leave them stressed, exhausted, and prone to severe accidents that you may find you involved in. Due to the truck's massive weight and size, accidents involving trucks are usually dangerous and terrifying.
When injured in a truck accident while in San Diego, California, you need a professional to help you file for a claim in seeking compensation for the injuries caused, among other losses that you will incur. At San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm, you will get the service you need.
A truck accident claim requires various types of documents that are used as evidence to support your claim. The type of documents needed depends on the accident's nature, damage resulting from the truck accident, and the specific injury inflicted on you.
Type of Evidence Needed When Involved In a Truck Accident
The piece of evidence needed to prove your claim can be challenging to find. It is reason enough to contact an attorney from San Diego Personal Injury Law firm to see you through the process. Its attorney will ensure you have proper evidence that is gathered because they well know the laws and the industry standards.
Driver Information as Evidence in Truck Accident
When a truck accident happens, you need the driver's documents as evidence in the crash. Some of the documents required include:
Proof of the Drivers Qualification File
According to (FMCSR) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, the qualification file contains some specific information about the driver.It is a requirement that every motor career should have a driver qualification file in their employment record.
The report found in the driver qualification file includes the application for the employment, any annual review of driving record, and previous inquiries to an employer for the past three years.
Other driver's information that will help in your compensation claim is the road-test certification, annual certification of violations if any, and a medical report from an examiner for recent medical history.
Evidence of the Drivers Training File
The driver's training file contains information that is similar to the qualification file discussed above. The only difference comes in that the training file has additional documents such as certificates about specialized driving achievements or records. The driver's training file can be a helpful document when filing for your compensation after a truck accident.
Drivers Hours of Service Documentation or Logs
It is a requirement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that all motor careers should have a record that shows they do comply with the safety regulations. Depending on the applicable rules, the documents must be kept the varying length of time.
For alcohol and drug testing information, the record must be kept for at least five years. The tests include verified control substance results, Blood Alcohol Concentration test results of more than 0.02 reading, and controlled substance abuse evaluation reports.
Records for reasonable suspicion testing, medical evaluations for lung and bladder should be kept for at least two years. For any negative drug test or alcohol drug results of below 0.02, the driver should keep the record for at least one year.
The driver's log must be up to date, meaning that it must be updated with the trip's current time and date. The register must also have the total number of miles the driver has driven within the last 24 hours, truck number, name of the carrier, and the date. The driver should indicate the time the journey was started, shipping documents showing what goods are being hauled, and the names of all the co-drivers present during the trip.
The activities that should be updated in the log are the time when the co-driver was at the wheel when they were driving when they were sleeping, or off-duty, among other activities that will be encountered.
The Drivers Vehicle Inspection Record
It is a formal record that confirms that the drivers have completed any inspection necessary on a commercial vehicle. These inspections are a requirement by the State of California and include:
- Windshield wipers
- Tires, wheels, and rims
- Coupling equipment and fifth wheel
- Steering mechanism
- Rearview mirrors
- Light and reflector systems
- Safety and emergency equipment
- Air and brake systems
- Power unit
Truck Information as an Evidence for Truck Accident Claims
When a semi-truck or a commercial truck is involved in an accident, the information that you will be required to have include:
- Trucks maintenance history which should be documented
- Trucks inspection history which should also be documented
- A download of an onboard system related to the brake module, engine control module gives a history of inspection. Any other specific system that relates to the overall system of the truck operation is also essential. Time of travel and the truck's exact location during the accident is also important evidence that will help you receive your compensation.
- Black box information. The box provides information about truck accidents and how fast the truck was moving. It also gives the details of when the truck driver applied the brakes and the time that the truck moved without resting.
- High-Tech Devices. There are other devices found in the trucks and can provide the necessary evidence needed for your claim. The devices include inclinometers that give information about the slope at which the truck was moving, GPS, and computers.
Cargo and Load Information as Evidence to Truck Accidents
Load or cargo information is helpful evidence that should help you get your claim after you are involved in a truck accident. Some of the evidence, especially if involving semi-truck and big rig are:
- The bill of landing
- Trip envelopes, in which a way by which drivers keep track of the expenses incurred during shipment.
- Weight tickets are received by the driver as they pass through different weigh stations.
- Dispatch instructions
- Delivery documents
It is crucial that, immediately you are involved in a truck accident, that you contact your attorney to gather the evidence before the driver involved or the company disposes of ant information that you think will be a piece of crucial evidence while filing for your compensation.
Police Reports as an Evidence in Your Injury Claim
Police reports are usually considered public and are therefore available to all the parties involved in truck accidents. Depending on the number of law enforcement officers or the police who responded after the accident, there may be one police report. Though they are not conclusive, they are a good starting point for your compensation claim.
The police officers' report can lead to the other reports that are prepared by agencies working with the investigating agency. An accident reconstruction report presented by a special division within the police department is of much help.
Statement by the Witnesses as essential evidence for Your Compensation.
These are the statements made by the people who heard or saw the accident happen. Witnesses include the people who have any relevant information about the aspect of the accident. They also include the people who spoke about the reason why the accident happened or the people involved.
Witness statements are gathered using different sources, including law enforcement agencies, investigating police officers. Parties to the accident and any federal oversight agency that has access to the accident scene also provide adequate evidence.
Statement of the Victim as an Evidence
In any accident claim, the victim's statement is the most important document when filing for your claim. Your statement as the victim is taken when you have the best recall of all events during the accident. Therefore, ensure that you only give the information needed for your legal representation to reduce the risk of altering the nature of responsibility of the party at-fault.
Your statement will include the pain and suffering caused, capabilities that have been reduced in your daily life, losses incurred, and any other way that the accident has impacted you.
Medical Report as Strong Evidence for Your Claim
The medical report will include all the doctor care records, emergency room record rehabilitation records, and autopsy reports. The information consists of all the time that you have been under the care of a specialist.
The report will cover the parties involved, especially those who suffered injury or harm resulting from the truck accident. The medical report will help your attorney to claim an amount that will cater to all your bills and expenses that you will have incurred during the recovery process.
Research on Past Violations or Any Safety Complains.
The investigating officer will research the safety records and the reports on inspection for any element involved in the truck accident. For example, the truck's last service and whether the manufacturer had any responsibility concerning the issue. Additional research is on any equipment that has ever been cited for violation of safety rules and is currently in use.
Photography or Video as Evidence
The photos and videos to be used as evidence include the images taken before, during, and after the accident. In San Diego, California, cameras are placed in different locations strategically to capture all the events taking place. The photos taken after the truck accident are essential because they capture the nature and the severity of injuries inflicted on you or any other party involved.
Private Investigation Report from Individuals and Companies
The report can be done in two ways, by any party involved in the accident or by a private company. A company does a private investigation through discovery. Discovery is a civil action process whereby one party of the litigated action is supposed to turn over the relevant information to the other party involved in the lawsuit.
It is done before the decision on your claim is concluded. Both reports are a good source of information to show the other party's liability and hence the success of your request.
Service History of the Truck
The service history of the truck involved in an accident is crucial to any accident claim. The record is compared to similar vehicles, and from there, conclusions are made. The decisions usually establish whether the service history had a role in the accident. You will have high chances for winning in your case if the service history is not updated, meaning it is poorly maintained.
Dispatch Calls to 911
The calls to 911 provide a real-time account of the accident. They also offer evidence or record about you or the witnesses close to the time of the accident. Details of the accident's nature, too, are provided by the dispatch calls and are used as the lead to the investigation process.
Audio Recordings as Evidence to Support Your Injury Claim
As much as there are cameras strategically placed in a different location in Los Angeles, California, there are also sound detection devices. They are posted to capture voices, sounds of accidents, and gunshots in high-crime areas. Audio recording can be strong evidence since they indicate who was at the scene or near the truck accident's vicinity.
Additional Information Needed for Your Truck Accident Injury Claim
Truck accidents can be related to many factors. Some of them include road conditions, fatigue, driver error, and other dangers that the truck driver may face during the trip. Your attorney would use some factors to determine liability if the truck driver had any employment details with the trucking company. The reason being, there are so many dependent contractors in the trucking industry.
Some of contractors do not have a clear employment relationship with their drivers. If the truck driver who caused your injuries during the accident works for a trucking company, then the company becomes liable for the driver's actions. Your attorney will, therefore, work with insurance companies to help resolve your liability and compensation issues.
To win the case and get your compensation, you need to prove your loss by giving information about your losses during and after the truck accident. You will, therefore, provide documents that relate to medical supplies and care. Expenses for alternative transportation that you used and a record to prove that you suffered an injury that required proper care from a physician are also important.
Others include gouge marks and tires on the roads and dispatch instructions.
Why then is Evidence Important for Your Injury Compensation? As the truck accident victim, you need evidence to prove that the defendant or the trucking company is at fault. By gathering all the information regarding the driver and the truck, it will be possible to determine what happened before the accident.
The evidence provides specific reasons that could have played a role in the truck accident. Therefore, it is essential because it builds a complete picture of the accident, increasing your chances of receiving your compensation.
Who is at Fault in the Truck Accident?
Truck accidents are based on the negligence of the driver. A negligent truck driver is therefore liable for any damages caused to you or any other party. The negligence can be shown by the driver failing to drive with due care or violating the traffic rules. In other cases, the trucking company is usually at fault because it may have ignored the truck's maintenance. The elements of negligence that can prove that the driver was at fault include:
- The truck driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver breached the duty of care and
- The breach was a leading factor in causing your injuries.
The duty of care requires that the driver should take caution when driving. The same applies to truck drivers:
- They should use reasonable care when operating the truck.
- They should look out for other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles.
- The driver should control the speed and movement of the vehicle.
The Truck Driver at Fault
Many truck drivers violate traffic rules by driving without reasonable care. Driver’s negligence includes:
- Distracted driving
- Improper changing of lanes
- Texting while driving.
- Not obeying traffic signals and
- Driving under the influence.
The Trucking Company Fault
The trucking company can contribute to truck accidents. The company can voluntarily violate the safety requirements or transport regulations to increase their profits. When you get injured in such a truck accident, the company is held liable and will compensate for your damages. Some trucking company negligence includes:
- Overloading the trailers
- Truck taking an unbalanced load
- The company allowing the driver to operate a truck against the law
- Maintenance failure negligence in training employees
- The company encouraging the driver to violate sleep restrictions
Such intentional violations can expose the trucking company to severe damages in case of an accident.
The Owner of the Truck at Fault
The truck owner is liable for an accident if the truck caused an accident due to poor maintenance. The reason being, the trucking truck owner is responsible for vehicle inspection, tire upkeep, checking of the engine, and the general working of the truck.
The Manufacturer or the Cargo Loader at fault
The cargo loader will be liable for your injuries if a truck accident happens, and you get injured in the process. The loader did not inspect the cargo thoroughly and secure it properly. He or she will also pay for your injuries if the load falls and inflicts injuries on you.
The manufacturer, too, can be liable for your injuries if the truck accident happened due to the defect of some parts. Parts with defects may malfunction and lead to tire blowouts, brake failure, and mechanical failure. Accidents that result from faulty parts can cause serious injuries that can negatively affect your way of life.
Personal Injury Compensation after Truck Accident
Filing for a claim after you are injured during a truck accident can be challenging and tedious. If you are not aware of what you should do and what type of compensation you should receive, it is good that you involve an attorney.
The attorney will help you through the process. Damages that you will be compensated are meant to cover economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those related to finances and include:
- Vehicle repairs
- Medical supplies
- Future medical treatment
- Court costs
- Medical bills
- Loss of partner or spouse
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Lost wages
- prescription drug
Non-economic damages are difficult to determine because they are not usually attached to any dollar value. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Physical disability or disfigurement and
- Emotional distress.
Trucks Using the California Roads
The commercial trucks that use the California roads include various vehicles, each specifically designed to handle unique cargo of the trucking industry. The trucks carry a heavy load that increases the entire weight of the truck. In case of an accident, severe injuries and even death can occur. The trucks include
- Tractor-trailers that include consumer goods.
- Passenger buses that include semi-trailers and tanker trailers.
- Delivery trucks that carry
- commercial bus lines, tour buses, and charter buses
- Working trucks that include furniture truck dump truck and a cement truck
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Truck accidents lead to severe injuries that need compensation to cater to your losses and damages. When you are left with severe injuries after a truck accident, you may wonder where or who to turn to for your compensation claim. The reason being, truck injury is stressful and complicated, especially when semi-trucks are involved, and the person at fault will do all they can to mask the evidence that will help in your claim.
You may end up losing your compensation if you do not well understand the personal injury laws. Therefore, it is important to contact the San Diego Personal Injury Law firm to help you seek your compensation. Our attorneys have a vast knowledge of personal injury laws. They are ready to take up the challenge of fighting for your claim as you continue recovering from your physical and emotional injuries.
Call us on 619-478-4059, and our team will handle your injury claim.