Almost from the very moment a semi-truck accident occurs, the process of collecting evidence begins as well. Law enforcement and accident ‘reconstructionists’ collect accounts from eyewitnesses, video proof from any cameras in the area; and other data in any formats that are available. Some of the most important data comes from the accident scene and the vehicles. Black box or onboard computers for both big rigs and passenger cars can give important information regarding speed, and breaking activity prior to and at impact.
In addition, those employed in accident reconstruction are trained to gather statistics that will inform the cause of the collision – both prior to and at the time of impact. Yet, despite the best efforts of law enforcement, there is a problem of ‘disappearing evidence’.
How is that possible? Well, one must begin by accepting the fact that semi-truck accidents are extremely complex. Trucking companies are permitted to send representatives and investigators to an accident scene to collect evidence alongside the law enforcement officials – and they are often there within the same time frame as police.
As the accident is attended to – movement and actions are ‘fluid’ – and vehicles and people are often moved before an accounting of the original accident scene can be recorded. Needless to say, this makes it more difficult to uncover the authentic pivotal events that led to the accident.
In addition witnesses may ‘forget’ what they saw or the trucking company may have ‘inadvertently’ destroyed driver logs, inspection records, scale tickets or other written documents that may help a case. Trucking companies are only required to keep documents for a certain period of time pursuant to the regulations. If you wait too long to ask for them, you can be risking getting them at all.
But there is evidence outside the immediate accident scene that is vulnerable to tampering as well. For instance, driver logbooks that truckers are required to use to track their time and even data recorders themselves are prone to manipulation. Both provide information that can prove negligence on the part of a driver or the company he (or she) represents.
After a very serious accident, prudent trucking companies and their insurance carriers will preserve the evidence. There are however, some less than scrupulous interests who are interested in defending the claim more than they are the truth and for that reason after a very serious truck accident is important that you retain a Houston truck accident law firm as soon as possible after an accident.