It is wise after any accident to take photo and video evidence of the scene. Also, seek security footage from nearby businesses and homes that may depict the collision and gather written or recorded statements from witnesses, whether the collision involves commercial vehicles or not.
However, unlike consumer car accidents, collisions involving commercial trucks often affect many parties and generate several additional layers of legal complexity a victim must deal with when building an injury or property damage claim. Because of the massive amount of damage that such a vehicle can create, lawsuits around commercial truck accidents often take a significant amount of time to resolve. Building the strongest case possible is important for any victim.
Fortunately, commercial trucks and drivers also provide a few different types of information that consumer vehicles or drivers do not. It is very important to pay attention to these and make it a priority to seek them out. If you find yourself recovering from a truck accident and need to build a strong claim to secure fair compensation, look for two other kinds of evidence in addition to those mentioned above:
- The driver’s logs
- Data from the truck’s electronic control module
What are a driver’s logs?
The law requires commercial drivers to keep detailed records of how long they drive and how often they rest, among other things. These logs may provide some very important insight into factors that potentially caused the accident, especially if the driver had already driven for many hours on the day that the accident occurred.
While drivers should take regular breaks while out on the road, the practical pressures of the job motivate them to bend these rules to make better time. This is certainly an understandable motivation, but it creates a scenario that encourages devastating accidents. It is always wise to see what the logs have to say about the hours leading up to collision.
What is the truck’s electronic control module?
The electronic control module, or ECM, is a device that records certain kinds of data about the operation of the vehicle and keeps it stored for a specific amount of time, typically about 30 days.
This information generally includes things like:
- Top speed in a given amount of time
- Average speed
- Seat belt use
- Number of hours driven
- Number of hours driven over 65 miles per hour
However, in some cases, the owner of the truck may have the right to destroy this data after the accident unless a court order restricts doing so. This means that it is crucial to request such an order as soon as possible to preserve your opportunities for a strong claim.
Building a strong claim takes time, but must begin immediately to ensure that valuable information like the driver’s logs and ECM does not “disappear.” Protect yourself by using the highest quality legal resources you have available and acting quickly to preserve your rights and your own best interests.