Determining the Strength of Your Case
Every step in the process of building your case takes time. If and when you do finally decide to seek the assistance of a lawyer after your trucking accident, finding the right lawyer is going to take some time. You want an experienced trucking accident attorney who is familiar and experienced with trucking accidents similar to yours, and who you trust to do a good job on your case. But doing this research and finding this particular lawyer isn’t an instant process.
Once you do find a personal injury attorney or two that you wish to meet with, there’s no guarantee that the lawyer will agree to take on your case. They are going to need to spend time sitting down with you, hearing about what happened, learning about your injuries, and reviewing any evidence you may already have. Though lawyers understand the importance of moving quickly, they also know how important it is to make sure your case is strong enough to fight with insurance companies over or potentially take to a court of law. And once again, that process of review and determination takes time.
Gathering Fact Evidence
Once you’ve found the lawyer for you and they’ve agreed to take on your case, the next major step in the process is to gather evidence. And this step is one of the most time-sensitive elements throughout this whole ordeal.
Fact evidence is what your case will be largely built upon. It includes the tangible, factual pieces of information revolving around how your accident occurred, what the outcome of the accident was, and what your resulting injuries are. Later in the process will come a review and compilation of the bills to be expected from those injuries or other damages.
The first and perhaps most important pieces of fact evidence to gather are specific to the accident site. But of course, this type of evidence doesn’t stick around forever. Crime scenes get cleaned up, vehicles are towed away, and witnesses disappear. Thankfully, if your accident was thoroughly reported to the police after it occurred (as it should have been), then it’s likely that records of these things still exist somewhere. But they, too, require acting fast.
The types of evidence that your legal team will be seeking to obtain are:
- Witness statements
- Videos from surrounding businesses
- Videos from driver dashboard cameras
- Videos from police officer body cameras
- Videos from police offer dashboard cameras
- Crash report documents
- Crash report data from the involved vehicles’ internal data recorders
Though it may be easier to believe that the above types of evidence are safely stored away somewhere indefinitely, the reality is that these items tend to disappear after the passage of time. Witness statements become less reliable as more time passes between when they saw the accident and when they are interviewed. Video files get overwritten or erased. Physical evidence gets thrown away. For those reasons, it’s much easier for your lawyers to build a strong case for you when they can obtain these useful pieces of evidence as early in the process as possible.
Preserving Fact Evidence
Even in cases when your legal representatives begin their work early enough to obtain fact evidence that does still exist, sometimes there are certain laws, regulations, and operations that might make it so they cannot access all that fact evidence right away.
In these cases, your lawyers must do everything in their power to make sure that fact evidence is somehow adequately preserved until the time when they can access it. Whether it’s making sure the right entities record and store the evidence correctly, or seeing that the proper legal requests and documents get filed to help ensure such evidence stays top of mind, it’s important for your lawyer to do what they can to make sure that evidence is still useful when the time finally comes that they can get their hands on it.
Naturally, the longer delay there is in discovering what necessary fact evidence there is available, the more chance that the proper preservation of said evidence isn’t adhered to in the meantime. And when evidence is incorrectly preserved or disappears altogether, there’s unfortunately not much you or your legal team can do to recover it.
Convincing the Insurance Company
The next step after preserving and eventually reviewing any and all fact evidence available is for your lawyer to put together an early liability determination. Assuming that all the evidence gathered points to the semi-truck, driver, larger trucking company, or other related party as directly responsible for your accident, you want to make an official statement that says so.
The usefulness in having an early liability determination is many-fold. Primarily, it puts the defendant and their involved insurance company on the defensive, rather than giving them time to create an offensive plan against you. Once this liability has been established can the process of your legal team convincing said insurance company of their client’s liability finally begin.
But it may not always be smooth sailing. During this process, new or previously unknown scenarios and evidence may come to light, meaning your legal team might need to go back and gather additional evidence or run new tests that will be useful to the progression of your case. That then puts your legal team back in the position of possibly having gather new fact evidence before it has disappeared.
The steps involved in seeking justice after you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident are all dependent upon one another. These types of step-by-step processes are always time-sensitive, and largely can’t begin until the very first step is taken. And that step is for you, the victim, to realize just how much the right trucking accident injury team can help with your accident case.