Weighing considerably more than the average sedan, commercial vehicles can cause serious property damage and catastrophic injuries in a collision. While there are many strict regulations in place to prevent fatigued, reckless and distracted driving, accidents involving 18-wheelers are still commonplace. If you were hurt in such a crash, contact our Las Vegas truck accident attorneys to discuss your case.
You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages by filing a personal injury claim. At Maier Gutierrez & Associates, we can assess your situation as part of a free consultation during which we can weigh the strengths of your case and explain how your claim might unfold. Reach out to us at 702-629-7900 to get started.
What Evidence Can Help Strengthen My Truck Accident Claim?
Trucking companies often have considerable resources at their disposal, so if you’re planning to file a claim, you should expect to face stiff resistance. Ultimately, their goal is to reduce how much they have to pay out and, depending on the amount you are seeking, they may leave no stone unturned in their quest to challenge your case. Our truck accident lawyers in Las Vegas know the tactics used by motor carriers and their insurance companies to devalue claims, and we will use that knowledge to your advantage.
You can mitigate disputes by gathering sufficient evidence to build a strong foundation for your claim. Let’s look at some of the types of evidence our attorneys might use to help prove liability and damages:
- Electronic Logging Device Data: Truck drivers are required to keep logs of the hours they spend on the road to prevent fatigued driving. This data is used to ensure that operators don’t exceed the strict limits imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As such, if the driver was fatigued, the data on this device might help prove that he or she is at fault for causing the accident.
- Expert Witness Testimony: Expert witnesses are individuals who—due to their knowledge and expertise in a given field—are allowed to provide their opinion on the facts of a case as part of their testimony. Examples of expert witnesses can include healthcare providers, accident reconstructionists, vocational experts, and economists. Your Las Vegas truck wreck lawyer may call on expert witnesses to help prove many different aspects of your case. For instance, an accident reconstruction expert could use evidence from the scene to piece together what happened. Alternatively, a medical expert could testify regarding your treatment plan, pain and suffering, and how your condition impedes your ability to engage in certain activities.
- Black Box Data: Most trucks are equipped with an event data recorder (or “black box”) that keeps track of a variety of different metrics such as throttle usage, average and high speeds, voltage regulator performance, and other vehicle data. The information on this device could help your attorney determine what caused the accident. For example, data may show that the driver was speeding in the moments before the collision, helping demonstrate that the truck driver was at fault.
- Surveillance Camera Footage: If you noticed surveillance cameras near the accident scene, these devices may have recorded footage of the collision. As such, it may be in your best interests to obtain these recordings as soon as possible as surveillance camera videos are routinely erased. Alternatively, if your vehicle is outfitted with a dashcam, the files on this device might also help show what happened.
- Eyewitness Statements: Whether it was another driver, passenger, or pedestrian, anyone who saw the accident take place may be able to corroborate your version of events. If you are physically able to do so, you should take down the names and contact details of any eyewitnesses to share with your attorney.
- Repair, Maintenance, and Inspection Records: As truck drivers can cover thousands of miles in just a few weeks, it’s important that these vehicles are maintained regularly. Wear and tear could lead to mechanical failures turning these trucks into wrecking balls on the road. Your truck accident lawyer may want to obtain these records to determine whether the truck that hit you was properly maintained. Signs that the driver or their employer failed to keep their fleet in good condition could help demonstrate that they were negligent.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid While My Claim Is Pending?
On the surface, you might feel like you have an open-and-shut case. After all, if the truck driver was clearly in the wrong, what reason would the insurance company have to dispute what happened? Unfortunately, insurers will always prioritize their bottom line, so the claims adjuster will have a strong incentive to find any reason to reduce your financial award or even deny your claim.
With that in mind, you will need to consider your actions carefully in the aftermath of the wreck. You can be certain that the insurer will latch onto any mistakes you’ve made, putting you on the backfoot before you’ve even filed your claim.
Let’s look at a few common errors you should avoid until your claim has been resolved:
- Deviating from Your Treatment Plan: After an accident, it can be difficult to stay on top of the many unexpected tasks that have suddenly landed in your lap. However, while you may be experiencing considerable pain, it’s important to attend consultations and follow-ups. Signs that you failed to follow your treatment plan could be used against you during proceedings. For example, the insurance company might argue that you failed in your duty to mitigate damages, potentially leaving you to shoulder the cost of some of your damages. Alternatively, if you took any other actions that could’ve aggravated your injuries, you might also face challenges from opposing parties.
- Not Preserving Important Evidence: Whether you took photographs at the accident scene or received invoices for your medical treatment, you should make sure that this evidence is stored in a safe place to share with your lawyer. Losing crucial pieces of evidence could leave you unable to prove aspects of your claim. For instance, without financial documentation such as pay stubs and letters from your employer, you may not be able to recover compensation for lost wages and diminished earning potential.
- Posting about the Accident on Social Media: If you’re stuck at home healing from your injuries, social media might be the only way for you to stay in touch with friends and family. While remaining active on these sites can help you feel connected, anything you post online could hurt your truck accident claim. The insurer may be monitoring your accounts for any evidence that could be used to challenge your credibility. Whether it’s a post about the accident or a seemingly unrelated picture, claims adjusters are adept at leveraging online activity to devastating effect. As such, it may be in your best interests to deactivate your social media profiles for the duration of proceedings.
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney in Las Vegas Today
Were you seriously injured in a collision involving a truck? Turn to the truck accident lawyers at Maier Gutierrez & Associates to discuss your options. Dial 702-629-7900 or click through to our contact page HERE to request a free consultation.