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01/10/2014
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Preserving Evidence in Commercial Trucking Collisions

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Personal Injury

Assignment of fault is a necessary precondition to obtaining compensation for injury or loss resulting in an accident. In order to determine fault, the claimant must demonstrate, through the use of evidence, that the party alleged to have caused an accident breached a duty owed to another, and as a result of such negligent or intentional actions, the victim suffered an injury or loss. Consequently, ensuring that evidence is properly preserved following a trucking collision is critical to recovering financial compensation for injuries and losses sustained as a result of a crash.

Accidents involving a collision with a commercial truck vary greatly in comparison to other types of accidents, because there is often much more evidence available that can be used to establish liability. With over 30 years of experience, the Trucking Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. know which sources to obtain evidence from, and will work on your behalf to ensure that such evidence is preserved in the appropriate manner.

Pursuant to Florida Statutes, the term commercial motor vehicle refers to a vehicle that is used in the furtherance of business to transport passenger or cargo, and meets one of more of the following criteria: (1) Vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs or more; (2) Designed to transport more than 15 passengers; (3) Used to transport hazardous materials. With the exception to certain passenger buses, this definition is substantially the same as the definition of commercial vehicles provided under federal law. Most commercial vehicles are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, depending on the type of vehicle, cargo being carried, and whether the vehicle is traveling interstate or intrastate

The continuous operation of a commercial truck must not exceed the maximum period proscribed by law. In addition, many commercial trucks, such as those subject to federal regulation, are required to maintain daily status records which document each 24-hour period in one-hour increments. These records can provide valuable evidence used in establishing fault. For example, status records can provide evidence that a driver exceeded time limitations, and therefore was in violation of operating standards. In addition, status records can support allegations that a driver was travelling at an excessive speed at the time of the accident, or in some cases, demonstrate that a driver regularly or previously operated a commercial vehicle in an unreasonable manner.

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Technological advances have also contributed to the availability of evidence in trucking accidents. Many commercial vehicles are equipped with GPS-monitoring systems, or other computerized devices installed within the vehicle. Data retrieved from these devices can often provide detailed information such as the speed a vehicle was traveling in a precise location at a specific time. In addition, this data can be used to verify whether the contents of status records were accurately recorded. Motor carriers found to have engaged in an act involving falsification of records can be held criminally liable, in addition to civil liabilities for injury, loss, or damages extending from a violation that results in an accident.

Given the multiple forms of evidence often available in commercial trucking collisions, it is important that you safeguard your legal rights to recovery, by consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. However, because trucking collisions often involve unique evidentiary matters, as well as provisions of both state and federal law, seeking advice from an attorney experienced specifically in trucking accidents can serve to protect your legal interests in the best manner possible. With more than three decades of practice experience, we know the importance of ensuring all necessary measures are taken to prevent the spoliation of valuable evidence that may be used to establish liability. Let us help you obtain the compensation you deserve.