Herreth Law
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Evidence in Truck Crash Claims

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for civil law.jpegIf you have noticed more large trucks on Interstate 35W lately, you are not alone. Already, over two million trucks a year pass through Laredo, the southernmost point of I35, on their way north. Moreover, Customs and Border Patrol officials have recently taken steps to increase the flow of traffic.

When fully loaded, these large trucks weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Due to the number and size of these vehicles, serious accidents are common. Since these wrecks involve complex factual and legal issues, only highly experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorneys should handle them.

Since the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof, successful damage claims start with effective evidence collection. Many times, that evidence comes from some unexpected places.

Event Data Recorder

Many people do not know that almost all vehicles on the road, including large trucks, have EDRs. These gadgets are like the black box flight recorders in commercial jets. In much the same way, EDRs measure and record things like:

  • Vehicle speed,

  • Engine RPM,

  • Steering angle, and

  • Brake application.

Numbers like these are often critical in truck crash claims. Moreover, it is almost impossible for insurance company lawyers to successfully challenge EDR data. If they are working properly, computers are never wrong and never biased.

An attorney must act quickly to preserve this evidence. After a serious crash, like a fireball wreck, most insurance companies destroy what's left of the truck. If that happens, the EDR, along with any other physical evidence on the truck, is gone.

So, attorneys send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters create a legal duty to preserve any potential evidence, including the EDR.

Safety Measurement System

Quite often, the trucks which cause accidents here have not yet left Texas. But the operators usually have drivers' licenses in several states. That makes it difficult to get a good picture of the operator's driving record.

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association rolled out the SMS database. This information clearinghouse is basically a multistate driving record which focuses on things like:

  • Crash history,

  • HOS (hours of service) compliance,

  • Traffic ticket history, and

  • Substance use.

Once again, this information makes it easier to establish liability and also increase the compensation the victim receives.

And, in a familiar refrain, only a highly-experienced attorney can access this information. Much of it is private. So, attorneys must often obtain the right kind of court order before they can review this valuable data.

Victims need solid evidence to obtain fair compensation in truck wreck claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. Home and hospital visits are available.

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