With about 77,500 truck drivers, who estimate 9 in every 1,000 jobs, Florida is the fourth-biggest trucking state in the United States after Texas, California, and Pennsylvania. Although trucking is one of the most lucrative industries, having so many of these trucks on Florida highways and interstates often poses a danger to other cars on the road. Crashes with trucks have been cited to be far more devastating and complicated than crashing with a standard passenger car.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Florida, you are legally permitted to file a claim against the at-fault party. Therefore, you must understand how to preserve crucial evidence after the crash to help maximize your claim. You can contact a truck accident attorney in Florida who’ll guide you through the process.
What Evidence Should Be Preserved After a Truck Accident in Florida?
1. Truck Maintenance Records
This refers to all electronic and paper records indicating whether there were any mechanical problems with the truck that may have led to the collision. You can use the records to prove that the driver and/or trucking company acted negligently.
They may likely destroy those records, which will minimize your chances of recovering the full compensation you are entitled to. To preserve this evidence, speak to a Florida truck accident attorney to draft a Demand for Preservation of Evidence and serve the trucking company.
The demand for the preservation of evidence should include the following:
- The driver’s qualification documents and training materials
- The driver’s and co-drivers daily logbooks
- Daily, roadside, and annual inspection reports of the vehicle and its equipment
- The truck’s maintenance records
- The driver’s and co-drivers phone records
- Complaints lodged against the driver
- The driver’s drug or alcohol tests
Most commercial trucks have a data recording and storage device that provides in-depth information about what was going on in the truck just before the collision. This will include the following:
- Speed or relevant variations in speed
- Gear shifts
- When the truck driver engaged the brakes
- Duration the truck driver was behind the wheel
- The truck’s GPS location
- Any communication that may have occurred between the trucker and the trucking company
This information will be essential in determining whether the accident was preventable or non-preventable.
2. Medical Records
After being involved in an accident, you may have sustained both superficial and internal injuries. Therefore, you must seek medical attention immediately and document all accident-related injuries you’ve sustained or have a nurse list them in your medical records. These records will be crucial evidence of damages in the lawsuit.
3. Request a Copy of the Police Accident Report
Once you’ve been in an accident, contact 911 or have a witness call the law enforcement officers to come to the scene. The accident report they’ll generate will contain vital information:
- Names, contact details, and key statements made by any witnesses
- Citations issued after the accident
- Arrests made in connection with the accident
Your Florida truck accident attorney can always request a copy of the police report to help with your compensation claim.
4. Take Detailed Photographs and Gather Information
When there are conflicting accounts of how the accident happened, photographs of the immediate accident scene, road signs, and skid marks can provide a clearer picture of how the accident occurred.
Be sure to exchange contact information with any onlookers to track them down later. Their testimony/statement can be vital in strengthening your case.
5. Be Careful With What You Say
A simple apology can be misconstrued as an admission of liability. Therefore, be careful what you say to anyone, as it can resurface and affect your case later.
6. Do Not Sign Anything
The insurance company representing the at-fault party may try to reach out to you before your lawyer, so they can offer you a settlement less than what you deserve. Before speaking to a truck accident lawyer for legal guidance, don’t sign anything.
7. Seek the Help of a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney
All the steps you take after you’ve been involved in a truck accident can make or break your case. A personal injury attorney’s job is to dissect your case and preserve relevant evidence to fight for your rights. You don’t have to bear the cost of another person’s negligence. Enlist the help of a truck accident attorney to get you started with your claim.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Florida
Over the past few decades, a reported 4,000 to 5,000 individuals have lost their lives due to truck accidents each year in the United States, which is a 30 percent increase in just over a decade. Common causes of truck-related accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions from late braking by truck drivers
- Underside crashes resulting from the mismatched height between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles
- Overworked and exhausted truck drivers
- Driving while intoxicated
- Reckless driving and speeding
- Poorly maintained trucks
- Dangerous road conditions
- Trucks ferrying unsecured cargo
- Inexperienced truck drivers
As a truck accident victim, to proceed with any legal claim, you must prove that the at-fault party was negligent, reckless, or intentionally caused the accident.
Contact a Skilled Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
Suppose you’ve been involved in a truck accident in or around Florida. In that case, our skilled and experienced attorneys at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis have over 100 years of combined experience helping victims hold negligent parties responsible for the damage they’ve caused.
The best-in-class truck accident lawyers are ready to do the work for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us for a free consultation at (407) 843-7060 or complete our contact form today.