Evidence in Virginia Truck Accident Cases

Accidents involving tractor-trailers can be much more complex than simple personal vehicle crashes. Federal shipping regulations, cargo considerations, and the sheer size of the truck are important factors in establishing liability in a tractor-trailer accident. Since there is more danger, more regulation, and there are more factors involved in general in a trucking crash, there is a lot more for investigators to look at. One of our Virginia truck accident lawyers can help you collect, sort, and organize the evidence relevant to your case.

Physical Evidence from the Accident

This type of evidence collected in truck accident cases is more extensive and often more document-heavy and time sensitive than in normal car accident cases. Some sources of physical evidence include:

  • Pictures of the immediate aftermath of the wreck
  • Documentation of damage to all vehicles involved
  • Recording of any faulty part of the truck that may have led to the accident

These sources are far from the only type of evidence that can be used to prove a claim against a trucking company or driver, but they can be helpful in establishing fault right at the scene.

Evidence from Company or Other Records

Federal regulations place fairly strict record-keeping requirements on anyone who operates a trucking business, so if you are facing fallout from a truck accident in Virginia, any of the following areas can be a good place to look for information to strengthen your case.

Driving time / work status

Federal regulations require drivers to follow strict schedules to ensure they are not fatigued on the road, and they also require those drivers to keep records of their work. If you can find the driver’s logbook, and it shows they were not taking the federally-mandated rest breaks, then that may be valuable for proving negligence in  your case.

Truck inspection, repair, and maintenance

Trucking businesses are also responsible for ensuring the safety of their fleet through regular inspection and repair. If their records show that the truck involved in the accident was not properly maintained, and the poor maintenance was a cause of the accident, this can be used to prove negligence on the part of the driver or business.

Weight and cargo

If a truck is overloaded, or the load is unevenly distributed, that can contribute to dangerous conditions that often may result in an accident. Sources of evidence for this include bills of lading and highway weigh station reports.

Electronic data

More and more commercial trucks and tractor-trailers have an electronic control module or event data recorder that records data relevant to a crash, similar to a “black box” recorder on an airplane or train. This data can also be useful in establishing the cause of an accident.

Evidence of Driver Inexperience or Negligence

Often, one of the main contributing factors to dangerous truck accidents is human error: the drivers themselves. Just as with many other areas of the business, federal regulations require companies to maintain documentation on the suitability of their drivers for the job. Some records that may help your case include:

  • Driver’s training documentation (are they truly qualified to be driving?)
  • Driver’s previous accident record (potential company negligence for hiring someone with a history of driving issues)
  • Post-accident drug and alcohol test (was the driver under the influence at the time of the crash?)

Why Is Evidence Important in Virginia Truck Accident Cases?

Evidence is important in any legal case, but in this type of accident, there can be many different complex sources of information and competing theories of how and why a collision occurred. One of our Virginia truck accident lawyers can work hard to collect this evidence, sift through it diligently, and use the findings to build a strong case to present to a jury. The more information we have that shows driver or company negligence, the more of a chance you may have for a winning verdict and a favorable award.