When a large 18-wheeler crashes into a smaller passenger vehicle the consequences are often catastrophic. Trucking companies keep very talented attorneys on quick response teams to immediately respond to crashes. In many instances, the trucking company attorneys show up to the crash scene while first responders and emergency personnel are still present. They are hired only to protect the trucking company. And they immediately begin building excuses to prepare their defense.
But who will help the victims? Often the victims are stuck in hospitals, fighting for their lives, or even grieving lost loved ones. Important evidence too often disappears. Preserving critical evidence is the main reason people injured in truck wrecks need to hire lawyers immediately after a crash.
As soon as we are hired on an 18-wheeler or big truck crash, we work to preserve everything that may possibly be evidence in the case. The list includes the truck/tractor itself, the trailer, dash-cam or surveillance video, cellphones in the driver’s possession, cellphone records, the driver’s employee files, the driver’s logbooks/timesheets, and GPS and other tracking information. We immediately contact the trucking company’s managers or attorneys to inspect the 18-wheeler and download its Engine Control Module or “black box.” The black box records data immediately preceding the crash and can tell us the speed, braking information, and other very important information about the 18-wheeler in the seconds before the crash and at impact.
At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP, we work with highly trained experts around the country. Our experts can examine the vehicles and the crash scene for critical information. The condition of the 18-wheeler often tells an important story about the cause of the crash. The type of evidence we look for at the crash scene includes skid marks, gouge marks (damage to road), and the debris pattern. We can take measurements, make a 3D map of the crash scene, and video the crash scene with a drone. With this evidence, we can get to the truth about why the crash occurred – instead of relying on a trucking company’s excuses.
If the trucking company or its lawyers are not responsive to our evidence preservation and inspection requests, we often seek court orders that prohibit the trucking company from altering, modifying, or in any way destroying any evidence in its possession. These are called Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs). In cases involving 18-wheelers or big trucks, the most common TROs we obtain deal with the preservation of the trucks, logbooks, videos, and cellphones. If the trucking company violates the TRO, anyone with notice of the TRO could be held in contempt of court and subject to substantial penalties.
Other important things that we do when hired soon after a truck wreck include locating and talking to any witnesses, looking for any surveillance videos that could have recorded the crash, and requesting all investigation materials from governmental agencies including surveillance, dash-cam, and body-cam videos.
A truck wreck is an emergency in many ways. When we are hired on an 18-wheeler truck crash, we consider it an emergency to preserve all valuable evidence. This allows the victims to focus on their health and family while being assured that someone is working for them to find the truth. At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP, we respond quickly to gather all the evidence necessary to not only understand how the crash happened but also why it happened.
Litigation Managing Partner
Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP