If you have ever witnessed a trucking accident, you know the devastation the accident can leave in its wake. There is a very good chance the people in the smaller passenger vehicle suffered serious injury or even death. It is very rare that individuals who are involved in a truck accident walk away unscathed. In fact, over 98% of truck accident fatalities are those in the smaller vehicle. If the trucking accident victims do survive the accident, their lives are rarely the same, and many must now learn to live with a permanent and lifelong disability. In order to protect your rights after a trucking accident, it is important to act quickly.
Statutes of Limitations
It is extremely important to understand the statutes of limitation following a trucking accident. Statutes of limitations restrict the time period under which a person can file a lawsuit. The statutes vary from state to state, as well as by cause of action. In Washington D.C., a wrongful death action must be brought within two years from the date of death and a personal injury action within three years from the date of the accident. While this may sound like a significant length of time, it can pass quickly. The longer the victim of a truck accident waits to contact an attorney, the more difficult it can be for the attorney to properly investigate the accident and prove negligence.
Black Box Data and How That Data Can “Disappear”
While it is not yet mandatory, many large commercial trucks—particularly newer models—do come equipped with a black box. The data gleaned from this device can be crucial when there is conflicting testimony between the truck driver, the trucking company, and the injured party.
The black box can measure such things as: average speed, the speed at the time of the collision, whether airbags deployed, the brake usage five seconds prior to the collision, any malfunction of the engine and the RPMs of the truck prior to the accident. The evidence gathered from the data recorder is generally admissible in court; however, the black box must be subpoenaed to avoid having it mysteriously disappear following the crash. In some cases, trucking companies may even legally be allowed to destroy black box data, after only a few short months.
When Trucker’s Log Books Go Missing
It can also be crucial to have the trucker’s log books in order to determine whether the driver had exceeded his or her allowable hours of service. Many truck drivers routinely maintain two sets of log books—one with the real hours and one to show to DOT. Obtaining these records early on can prove whether the driver was driving while fatigued, but like the black box data, once these records disappear, they are likely gone forever. You can be assured that the trucking company is busy building a defense against your claims of injury after your trucking accident. Therefore, it is important that you also have an advocate in your corner who is just as aggressive in obtaining the necessary information.
Contact Knowledgeable Trucking Accident Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our Washington DC trucking accident lawyers know how serious trucking accidents throughout the Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and the State of Maryland can be. We also know how quickly trucking companies begin building their case and destroying evidence. As such, we work quickly from the very start to establish liability and collect all evidence that is pertinent to winning your case. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.