Gathering and Protecting Evidence After a Truck Accident

By Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers
Collision between car and truck

Truck accidents can be significantly more devastating than other vehicular incidents due to the size and weight of the vehicles involved. For those affected, the aftermath can be overwhelmingly challenging, not only physically and emotionally but also legally. For any truck accident claim, the importance of gathering and protecting evidence cannot be overstated. It’s the foundation upon which a strong legal claim is built.  

Whether it’s to establish fault, understand the series of events that led to the accident, or quantify the damages incurred, your evidence is your unwavering ally when seeking justice and compensation. At Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers, we know how important it is to gather and protect evidence after a harrowing truck accident. We can gladly take steps toward claiming the compensation you deserve.  

Why You Need to Gather Evidence

In the aftermath of a truck accident, evidence can often be overlooked. However, gathering evidence is crucial as it provides a foundation for building a strong claim. Whether it's dash-cam footage, eyewitness statements, or details from the scene, evidence serves as a factual record of the incident for several compelling reasons: 

  • Accuracy and reliability of the information: Evidence can be easily lost, distorted, or forgotten over time. Memories can fade, and physical evidence at the scene, such as skid marks or debris, can be cleared away. Having concrete evidence strengthens your case significantly by providing clear facts that support your claim. 

  • Identifying the responsible parties: In truck accidents, there are often multiple parties involved, including the driver, trucking company, maintenance providers, and even vehicle manufacturers. Solid evidence helps pinpoint liability, ensuring that justice is served properly. 

  • Accurately assessing damages: This includes not only the immediate physical damages to your vehicle and personal injuries but also long-term impacts such as lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional distress. By meticulously documenting evidence, you bolster your ability to receive fair compensation that fully reflects the extent of your losses and suffering. 

  • Protection against counterclaims: In many cases, the trucking company and its insurers will act quickly to undervalue your claims. With detailed evidence, you can build a barrier against any counterclaims.  

What Evidence Should You Gather?

The type of evidence you should collect after a truck accident can vary depending on the severity, location, and parties involved. However, every detail, no matter how seemingly minor, can potentially help strengthen your case: 

  • Pictures: Take photographs of the accident scene that show the conditions that caused the incident. It is also essential to preserve the scene and avoid any alterations that could affect its appearance or functionality as evidence.  

  • Vehicle Records and Signage: Details about the truck itself, such as the driver's logs, the black box data, or the vehicle's maintenance records, can help explain what happened during a collision. Additionally, provide details about any signs at the scene that might have contributed to the accident.  

  • Eyewitness Testimony and Contact Information: The accounts of any witnesses who saw the accident can greatly bolster your case. Collect their contact details to ensure they can be reached during the legal proceedings.  

  • Personal Injuries Documentation: Your health should be your top priority. Documenting your injuries soon after the accident is important, as medical records and photos of your injuries can be used to directly link them to the truck accident.  

How to Preserve Evidence

Knowing what evidence to gather is one thing; knowing how to preserve it is another. When evidence is carefully preserved, it helps maintain the integrity and reliability of your claim, serving as irrefutable proof of the events as they happened, the damages incurred, and the impact on your life. This is especially crucial in truck accident cases where opposing parties, often backed by powerful legal teams, may attempt to dispute your claims or diminish their liability.  

Preserved evidence acts as your safeguard, ensuring that the truth of your experience stands strong against any challenges. It reinforces your position, compellingly illustrating the extent of your injuries, the negligence that caused them, and the justice you are entitled to. Some steps you can take to preserve evidence include: 

  • Secure Electronic Data: Immediately back up any electronic evidence, such as dash-cam videos or GPS data, on external storage devices or cloud services. This ensures that vital information is not lost due to technical failures or manipulations. 

  • Document Everything in Writing: Write down every detail you recall about the accident as soon as possible. The time, weather conditions, traffic signs, police reports, and personal sentiments can provide a comprehensive picture of the event. 

  • Keep a Detailed Medical Record: Save all medical reports, prescriptions, and receipts related to treatments for injuries sustained in the accident. Consistent documentation of your medical care is crucial for substantiating your claims. 

  • Track Your Expenses and Losses: Keep a detailed record of any expenses incurred due to the accident, including loss of income, repair costs, and any other related expenditures. These documents serve as tangible proof of the financial impact of the accident. 

  • Limit Public Statements: Be cautious about discussing the accident on social media or with insurance adjusters. Unintentional statements might be taken out of context and used against your claim. 

  • Contact a Legal Professional: Consulting with an experienced truck accident attorney can guide you on preserving evidence that is critical to your case. They can also help secure evidence that is beyond your reach, such as surveillance footage from nearby businesses. 

Specific Personal Injury Laws in Missouri and Kansas

Following a truck accident, the specific personal injury laws in Missouri and Kansas come into play. Both states have unique legal frameworks and statutes of limitations that could significantly influence the outcome of your case. Here's an overview to guide you: 

Missouri Personal Injury Laws

In Missouri, personal injury claims must be filed within five years from the date of the accident. This statute of limitations is more generous than in many states, offering you ample time to gather evidence and build a robust case. However, Missouri follows a "pure comparative fault" rule. This means that if you are found partially responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but found to be 20% at fault, you will receive $80,000. It's essential to gather strong evidence to minimize your fault percentage and maximize your compensation. 

Kansas Personal Injury Laws

Unlike Missouri, Kansas has a shorter statute of limitations for personal injury claims—just two years from the date of the accident. Kansas also operates under a modified comparative fault system with a 50% rule. This means that if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any damages. If you are less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but are 30% at fault, your compensation would be reduced to $70,000. 

Both Missouri and Kansas allow for the recovery of various types of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. A knowledgeable attorney can help you gather and preserve the necessary evidence, file a strong personal injury claim, and make sure you adhere to state-specific requirements. Whether in Missouri or Kansas, legal expertise is invaluable when seeking fair compensation. 

Legal Assistance When You Need It

The aftermath of a truck accident can be overwhelming, but by understanding the importance of evidence, what to gather, and how to preserve it, you can set off on the path toward recovery. Remember, the laws in Missouri and Kansas are on your side when it comes to seeking justice.  

At Hinrichs & Scott Injury Trial Lawyers, located in Kansas City, Missouri, we will take swift and determined action to make sure the evidence you collect tells the authentic story of your incident. Contact us for a free consultation and let us help you build a claim that is as robust and comprehensive as the evidence you've gathered.