Gathering and Protecting Evidence After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can be some of the most devastating crashes that happen on our roadways. Being hit by a truck when you’re in a passenger vehicle can be a scary moment since the truck is so much larger and heavier than your car. Naturally, these accidents can bring about major property damage and extensive injuries, and victims will need to pursue compensation. In any semi-truck accident, you’ll need to present substantial evidence to the insurance company or the courts if you end up filing a personal injury claim.
If you’d like to consult with a personal injury attorney about this in either Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, or Overland Park, give us a call at the Denning Law Firm, LLC. Here we can help with gathering and preserving evidence after a truck accident so you can get the compensation you deserve.
The Importance of Gathering Evidence
Presenting clear and convincing evidence is the backbone of any personal injury lawsuit. Without this, you will have nothing to base your story on and your claim could be denied or your lawsuit may not be successful.
When you start working with your truck accident attorney, they’ll begin by listening to your account of events and then examining all the available evidence and this is what they’ll base your case on. Specifically, in an 18-wheeler accident (or any car crash), you’ll need to prove fault because whoever is found legally liable for causing the crash will also be the party who’s responsible for paying damages that occur because of it. And, this can’t be done without sufficient evidence.
Evidence also plays a key role in both Kansas and Missouri due to something called the comparative fault rule. This law states that liability can be shared in the case of an accident and the plaintiff’s final settlement will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found to be 30% liable for an accident and the total settlement amounts to $50,000, your compensation would be reduced to $35,000. Therefore, both sides involved must present substantial evidence to either substantiate or refute each party's degree of liability. Failure to do so can result in a significant reduction in the awarded damages.
It's important to note that Kansas operates as a no-fault insurance state, so be sure to adhere to your insurance company's requirements when initiating an insurance claim.
Evidence That Should Be Gathered
Now that you know how important it is to have good evidence, we can now tackle the question, “What evidence should I gather after a truck accident?” Of course, each case will vary, but in general, you’ll want to consider gathering the following pieces of evidence:
Witness statements and contact information
Medical records and diagnosis
Records of any property damage
Your own account of what happened
Evidence of lost income
A journal of how your injuries and the accident in general are affecting your life
Gathering this evidence soon after the accident is important, as it will help you prove liability and your damages before memories and physical evidence start to fade. Furthermore, having organized records of all your relevant information will make it easier for a lawyer to build your case.
Steps to Take to Preserve Evidence
There are a few different steps you can take to preserve evidence to use later as part of your claim.
Gather evidence from the scene of the accident: It should go without saying, but the more evidence you can obtain from the incident scene, the better. Ideally, this should be done the day of the accident, but if this isn’t possible, you should return as soon as possible. Take photos or videos of the crash site, damage done to the car and truck, and photos of the surrounding area, including traffic signals, any hazards, and what the weather was like at the time.
Preserve any physical evidence: The more physical evidence you can retain in a truck accident, the better. This could be damage to your car, damage to personal belongings that were in the car, clothing that you were wearing at the time of the crash, or photos of your injuries.
Talk to witnesses: If you’re able to talk to eyewitnesses right after the crash, this will be your best opportunity to get their statements and contact info. If not, you may be able to return to the accident scene and ask around if anyone saw the crash happen. Consider visiting businesses or storefronts that may have workers who witnessed the crash or may have even recorded the incident.
Retain all documentation of your injuries: In a serious accident involving a semi-truck, there will likely be extensive injuries and you’ll need to present through evidence of them, the expenses you’ve incurred because of them, and your future expenses. This should include all medical records including diagnosis, visit summaries, treatment plans, medications you’re taking, bills, and any evidence that shows how much longer you’ll be addressing these injuries (for example, if you’ll need to continue with physical therapy for months or years).
The aftermath of a truck accident can be stressful and overwhelming. However, with the proper collection and preservation of evidence, you can build a strong case to support your claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Compassionate Legal Help You Can Trust
If you’ve recently been involved in a truck accident and you’d like to know more about the role evidence will play in your claim, reach out to us at Denning Law Firm, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have years of experience assisting our community through the process.