I was involved in a Trucking Accident and the driver of the truck is claiming it’s my fault. What can I do to prove it wasn’t?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Commercial truck drivers clearly spend a great deal of time on the road. Because many truckers have the financial incentive to deliver their loads in a timely manner, they may be willing to sacrifice sleep and nourishment in order to get the job done as quickly as possible. The combination of lack of sleep, coupled with poor nourishment and a need for speed, makes truck driving a dangerous, if not deadly profession.
Because we share the road with truck drivers, we certainly need to be on heightened alert when driving. Defensive driving is a must. Minimizing distractions may help avoid an accident but one may not be able to do anything to avoid being rear-ended by an errant truck driver. Even if you are rear-ended by a truck, it is possible that the truck driver may not admit fault. He or she may claim that you violated traffic rules, causing the accident.
The truck driver may even be able to convince a police officer that the accident was your fault even if it clearly was not. Because most people struck by a large truck suffer serious injuries that require hospitalization, you may not be physically able to describe your side of the story to the arriving officer. If the officer doesn’t bother to travel to the hospital to speak with you then the police report will be written with only one side of the story. This is a potentially devastating issue that must be addressed with legal action. A good trucking accident attorney will know how to help.
Many commercial trucks carry devices that record information about the status of the truck at any time throughout the day. Electronic control modules (ECM), also known as black boxes, are typically found in the majority of commercial trucks. The ECM will record data regarding the overall speed, time of travel, RPMs and drive time of a particular vehicle. All of this information may be used to determine the driving pattern of a truck driver leading up to an accident and even may show whether the truck driver is honest about drive times.
Some commercial trucks are equipped with dashboard cameras or “dashcams.” These cameras are similar to what may be found in a police vehicle. The dashcam will typically record images captured from the dashboard of the truck and are typically pointed out to the road in front of the vehicle. These dashcams may also capture images of the truck driver or even other parts of the truck as well. Though the data is typically stored electronically and not saved for long periods, the device itself may capture and store footage for a short time period both before and after impact. A dashcam can be extremely valuable in determining exactly what occurred at the time of impact.
An experienced trucking accident attorney will not only know how to preserve and obtain evidence from an ECM or a dashcam but will also know how to decipher this evidence. One this type of evidence is obtained, the case is no longer a “he said, she said” type of situation. Instead, data may be analyzed or video may be reviewed in order to determine exactly what occurred at the time of the accident. While these tools are not the only forms of evidence that will help your case, they certainly may provide the smoking gun. Anyone injured in a trucking accident should be sure to contact an experienced trucking accident lawyer immediately. It may make the difference between getting compensated for your injuries as opposed to taking blame for an accident that was not your fault.