Q: How important is preserving evidence after a semi truck accident in Illinois?
- With the large amount of money for damages that is often at stake with semi truck accidents, the trucking company will do everything possible to deflect the blame away from the driver and his employer company. If there’s no realistic way for the trucking company to deny fault for the accident, then they’ll focus all of their attention on minimizing your injuries and damages.
- Trucking companies and their insurance carriers are so sensitive to the potential for large damage awards from a semi truck accident that they often have their investigator on the scene before the vehicles have even been cleared. It is common practice in the trucking industry that immediately after an accident the truck driver call his employer, and in turn that employer instantly calls their insurance company. Many trucking company can have its insurance carrier spring into action with an accident investigation team within 24 hours on any day of the week.
- You’ve probably heard of the “black box” in plane crashes. Modern semi trucks also have “black box” computers that records information about the semi truck itself, when it started, when it stopped, its route traveled, its weight, how fast it was going at the collision, and much more. But it’s not easy for a person injured in a semi truck accident to get access to that “black box” information and it’s even more difficult when the truck driver or his company is not forced to preserve those records. Taking the right steps to get that “black box” information may be crucial to an injured party’s claim for damages.
- “Black box” data is not the only records that are often lost after a semi truck accident. Truck drivers have to keep their logs for only 7 days and trucking companies have to keep their drivers’ logs for only 6 months. Once those time frames have past, it’s very likely that those important driving records will be discarded.
- Sometimes it is legal for records to be destroyed after a semi truck accident, but not always. This illegal destroying and hiding evidence from an accident is called “spoliation”. This spoliation of records and evidence is a trucking company defense tactic and when used it is always going hurt your case and the amount of your damages.
- It seems wrong that trucking companies are not required to preserve as many records as possible from an accident, especially when someone has been seriously injured or even killed. But that’s exactly what happens when there’s a lot of money at stake for the truck driver, his employer trucking company, and both of their insurance companies.
To get more information after you or a family member has been hurt in an accident in Illinois,fill out the form on this website and get your FREE "Illinois Guide Book to Auto Accidents and Injuries" and the "Illinois Guide Book to Semi Truck Accidents." Or better yet, for more direct answers call the Giacoletto Law Firm at 618-346-8841 or toll free at 888-346-8841 to speak today with an experienced Madison or St. Clair County accident attorney centrally located in Collinsville.