However obvious a truck accident may seem, the evidence is needed in court to determine fault and ensure the injured party receives compensation for their damages. Therefore, gathering evidence is an essential step during the accident investigation process. The evidence will also be well analyzed to determine what happened, who was at fault, and how much compensation they deserve. Thus, if you have suffered losses in a truck accident, it is crucial to know the evidence needed to prove your case and get your compensation. We at the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney are always ready and willing to help our clients gather the right evidence and on time, so get in touch with us as soon as possible.
Why Evidence is Important
The last thing in an injured person’s mind is to find evidence that someone else has caused their injuries. Again, the law requires everyone involved in an accident first to seek medical help. It ensures that they are well before they can start filing a claim for their damages. The truth is that people should also prioritize gathering proof. Without it, there will be no way to prove that the accident occurred, people got injured, and someone was responsible for its occurrence.
Evidence is the only way the court can understand what happened, how it happened, and whether someone was responsible. Remember that the judge is usually not present at the scene of the accident. He/she only relies on the evidence presented in court to announce the verdict. The only chance the injured have of recovering full compensation is in gathering enough evidence. For that reason, collecting evidence from as early as immediately the accident occurs is essential. Legal experts advise acting immediately before significant evidence is lost. For instance, if the accident happened on a highway, the accident scene will quickly be tampered with because the highway has to resume operation soon after the accident.
But why is the evidence necessary? As mentioned earlier, the judge needs to understand exactly what happened at the accident scene to determine a personal injury case. Evidence brings out the facts of the case, which are the basis on which the judge will make his/her verdict. Remember that when you file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court, it can either be accepted or thrown out. The truth of the case you bring in court will convince the judge to listen to your issue and rule in your favor. If the party on the side of the truth presents insufficient evidence in court, it may cause the judge to rule the case against the facts.
Evidence is crucial in all kinds of cases, both civil or criminal. When something happens, and a judge is required to give a verdict, the evidence presented must be compelling enough to cause him/her to rule in favor of the truth. For instance, in a truck accident case, several people may be involved, and one of them could be at fault. Those injured in the accident must gather evidence to convince the judge that their injuries were due to the accident in which another party was at fault. It is the only way the judge will grant their petition and order the at-fault party to compensate the injured.
The success of one’s case rests in the strength of the evidence presented in court. The good thing is that California civil courts allow various types of pieces of evidence, all of which could help strengthen the plaintiff’s claim. Several people will be called in as witnesses, some on the side of the truth and others on the opposing side. Your evidence will help the judge determine in whose favor he/she will rule. If you are right, and there is enough evidence to show that you indeed suffered damages in the accident, the judge will strive to serve justice.
When a truck hits a person, the at-fault party is not always the truck driver. There are several other possible at-fault parties for which people should be looking. Evidence gathered from and away from the scene of the accident could help determine the actual responsible party. It could be the trucking company, the local government, or even another road user. The legal system’s mandate is always to deliver justice. It could mean granting damages to those injured and ensuring that the actual at-fault party is held responsible for his/her recklessness. Delivering justice could also mean ensuring that an innocent person is not held accountable for an accident they did not cause.
Type of Evidence Needed
Truck accidents are usually devastating, and sometimes catastrophic. If a truck has hit you, you probably ended up in an emergency room and later got hospitalized. Some people suffer catastrophic injuries that change their lives for good. You may also have suffered several other losses, for which you might need compensation. Filing a lawsuit in court against the at-fault party is not enough if you don’t have enough evidence to back your claims. That is why understanding why you need proof, the type of evidence you should gather, and how to collect it is of paramount importance. Let us look at the kind of evidence required:
Documentary pieces of evidence have been in use for very many years in courts. They are mainly in documents as opposed to oral testimony. There are all kinds of documents you can present in court to support your claims, including:
When a truck accident occurs, driver information is needed to establish whether or not he/she was at fault. The court would like to know the driver’s qualifications, his/her level of training, logs, or hours of service, and his inspection records, among others. If there are suspicions that the truck driver caused the accident, his/her information could provide evidence that you could use to support your claims in court.
It could be that the truck driver was tired, he/she is not fully qualified, or he/she has a history of causing similar accidents. Many trucking companies employ less qualified drivers to save on their costs without realizing the danger they are putting other road users. Others overwork their drivers. If any such evidence is spotted, then the court will accept the plaintiff’s claims as genuine.
Truck information is also required to establish whether or not the truck was faulty at the time of the accident. A look at the truck’s operations systems will help show if the truck’s brakes, engine, and other systems were working as they should. If not, the truck manufacturer could be responsible, mostly when the vehicle was new.
The truck’s maintenance records will also help establish whether the trucking company was keen enough to ensure that it was well maintained. Lastly, the truck’s inspection records would reveal any issues the vehicle might have had, based on its previous inspections.
All this information might help determine the cause of the accident, and also the at-fault party.
After every accident, people mostly call the police. Once at the accident scene, they can determine what happened and plan the next course of action. After their investigation, the police make a report, which is a critical piece of evidence. The report can be retrieved and tabled as evidence in a civil court to precisely shed light on what happened and who could be held responsible for the accident.
The police have enough resources to conduct an in-depth investigation into an accident and determine fault. Therefore, police reports are usually handy. The good thing is that a copy of the information gathered by the police can easily be retrieved and used in court to shed more light on what happened at the scene of the accident.
In most cases, people who have suffered injuries in truck accidents do not collect evidence immediately after the accident since they have to seek immediate medical help. For those people, the police report helps them determine what happened and whether or not they have a chance of recovering their losses.
People who were present at the time of the accident are significant during the accident investigation process. They help establish what happened and could help the injured determine the responsible party. The police and attorneys can interview these people, and a signed report is made. Then they can table the report as evidence during the trial.
Some eyewitnesses can come to court to testify in person, and not others. The latter can provide a written and signed testimony presented as documentary evidence in court when the time comes.
It includes all evidence collected, stored, or transmitted electronically. Nowadays, the use of digital evidence is on the rise, thanks to advancements in technology. People use all manner of electronic devices, particularly mobile devices, to collect data.
In the case of a truck accident, the plaintiff can collect digital evidence in pictures and videos of the accident scene and all the damages incurred. After some time, the crash scene will no longer hold any proof. That is why it is vital to collect all data and store it in a digital device to be useful in the trial.
It is advisable to collect digital evidence immediately after the accident before the accident scene is tampered with. If you cannot do it, you can ask someone else to take pictures and preserve them. You can even get in touch with your attorney at that time, so he/she can collect the evidence before it is lost.
Digital evidence can also be in the form of traffic or security camera footage. Suppose there was a traffic camera at the scene of the accident, or an accident occurred in an area covered by a security camera. In that case, it could hold beneficial information that could help the judge understand what happened on that day.
Again, there is the electronic monitoring data, which shows the speed at which the truck was moving, the time it was scheduled to work, and every other information regarding the truck that is usually electronically recorded. If this information shows that the vehicle was moving faster than required, the driver will be held responsible. If, again, the data shows that the truck driver had worked more hours than he/she is legally permitted, the driver or the trucking company could be held responsible for the accident.
Science is also helping a lot these days, to help understand stuff about accident scenes that cannot be easily understood. We have all kinds of specialists who can piece together the crash scene to explain in detail what could have happened and what could have triggered the accident. Your attorney can engage the services of an accident reconstruction expert and other specialists, who could provide an irrefutable theory in court that could help your case.
Some forensic investigators comb the scene of accidents for details that ordinary people cannot spot. These could bring up reliable evidence that could help determine fault. Sometimes a truck accident could occur because of factors such as bad roads or erratic weather. An expert is needed to explain in detail how it happened.
Finally, we have alcohol and drug test results, which could help establish whether or not the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The police will determine the driver’s BAC level, and experts will come forth to explain whether or not the truck driver was responsible for the accident based on the amount of alcohol or drugs in their blood system.
As mentioned earlier, truck accidents are very complicated and may not be easy to solve; however, they seem straightforward. Again, there are usually two sides to every case, one of which is the side of the truth. The plaintiff will try their best to get compensation for their damages. The alleged at-fault party, on the other hand, will try their best to avoid bearing responsibility. Either side could use demonstrative evidence to strengthen their argument and to shed more light on the case.
Demonstrative evidence involves the use of objects and sometimes diagrams to explain an event. It helps create a mental picture of exactly how the accident occurred and factors that could have led to its occurrence.
Evidence Must Be Admissible
The basic rule that applies to all types of evidence is that it must be admissible in court. It means that the evidence must be competent, material, and relevant. For evidence to be considered relevant, it must hold some rational tendency to verify or disapprove the case’s facts. Note that the court will not require the evidence presented to make specific all the facts, but to at least decrease or increase the facts’ possibility. Once one party tables proof in the court, the judge, who is the fact-finder, will have to determine the weight to allocate it. He/she will evaluate every piece of evidence.
Evidence is said to be material if it is presented in court to dispute the facts of the case. On the other hand, the evidence is said to be competent if it fulfills all the requirements of reliability.
Several admissibility issues arise whenever evidence is being tabled in court. These must be considered, too, to ensure that all the evidence gathered is useful to the case. For example, an eyewitness testament can easily be refuted because the person barely remembers the events of that day. The eyewitness is expected to remember what they saw or perceived on the day of the accident. The judge will decide whether or not to admit such evidence, based on the arguments presented by both the plaintiff and the alleged at-fault party.
Other times the evidence can be complicated, especially when an expert is required to explain it to the court. Without expert testimony, the evidence may be inadmissible. The expert must also be reliable and knowledgeable on the subject matter. An experienced attorney will know all about this and engage an expert witness on time.
Remember that the opposing side can suppress any admissible evidence you have. Thus, you need to work with a very competent car accident attorney who understands all these tricks and knows what to do when that happens. They may argue that your evidence was not adequately reserved, or the tests done on the alleged at-fault driver were not properly conducted. A competent attorney will ensure that everything is done to ensure that all the evidence gathered in favor of your case will be admitted in court.
There is a Need to Preserve Evidence
People do not go on trial the same day the accident occurs. The law gives you up to two years after the accident date within which you must file a lawsuit against the responsible party. In that case, it may take several months or up to two years for you to table the evidence you collected on the date of the accident. It means that it is possible to lose or even tamper with evidence. That is why there is a need to preserve evidence to make it admissible in court on trial.
After a truck accident, so much evidence is gathered, including the truck and driver information, data from electronic devices on the truck, eyewitness reports, and items collected from the accident scene. The law requires every piece of evidence to be preserved to enable accident investigators to understand what happened and how the accident occurred. Well-preserved evidence will also help point at the actual at-fault party.
The people who collect evidence and those who will use it in court to strengthen their case are the ones to preserve it. Evidence that can be preserved includes the police report, evidence collected from the accident scene, the recordings, emergency calls, and the witness testaments. If an accident seriously damaged your car, the wreckage might not wait up to two years at the same spot to be used as evidence in court. That is why pictures and videos of the scene after the accident are essential.
Authentication involves demonstrating to the court that the piece of evidence presented is what it claims to be. Just as it is with other types of real evidence, it is essential and possible to authenticate documentary proof. However, this is where the main challenge lies for those who rely on documents to verify their claims. If the other party challenges your evidence’s authenticity, it could cause the court to deny its admissibility.
There are many types of legit documents that you can provide as evidence in a civil court after a truck accident. For example, they signed medical reports, original hospital documents, and copies of documents obtained from government registries. Other ways to authenticate documents are by bringing in a person to swear by the documents’ contents’ reliability.
California has the best evidence rule, which applies when documents are presented in court as evidence. This rule can be used to throw out any evidence that is not admissible in court. It could be used when a party presents copies of certain documents in place of the originals. In most cases, original documents are irrefutable proof of a claim as opposed to replications. However, in circumstances where one cannot obtain an original document, the court may accept a copy of the document.
Find a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Near Me
If a truck has hit you, you may struggle to find enough evidence to file a strong lawsuit in court. It could deny you a chance to recover the damages you may have incurred in the accident. However, it could be different if you engage the services of a competent car accident attorney. At the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we have enough resources to help you gather enough and admissible evidence for your case. Call us at 424-237-3600 and let us guide you through the legal process of collecting and presenting truck accident evidence.