How To Preserve Evidence After a Truck Accident in Iowa – and Why Not Doing So Can Cost You Money

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Posted by Tim Semelroth

There are many pieces of evidence that need to be preserved after a serious Iowa semi-truck crash. Without this crucial evidence, you may be left with a mountain of medical debt and no way to pay these bills.

But what is the best way to preserve this evidence?

What Evidence Needs to Be Preserved after a Truck Accident?

Often the best way to have evidence preserved is for a skilled Iowa truck accident lawyer to send an official evidence preservation letter. This letter is sent by certified mail to the truck driver, the trucking company, and the trucking company’s insurance carrier.

An effective evidence preservation letter must name as specifically as possible all evidence that should not be destroyed or tampered with. This evidence can include:

  • Paper documents – including inspection, repair, and maintenance records
  • Electronic records – including video, radar, and other data from the truck engine’s “black box;” this data can include the truck’s speed and braking history leading up to the crash
  • Phone records – including voicemails, text messages, call logs, and other truck driver cell phone data
  • Freight and loading information from the time of the crash.

This evidence can be crucial to proving who was at fault for the crash. Without this evidence, it may be difficult for even a skilled Iowa truck crash lawyer to get you a fair settlement.

Taking Photos of the Truck Crash Scene

If you are able to take pictures after the accident, photos of the crash scene can be crucial evidence for your claim. If you are not seriously injured, try to get pictures of:

o   The damaged vehicles, including any trailer damage on the semi-truck

o   Weather conditions, which could include the road if it is wet or slippery

o   Any debris on the road that may have played a part in the accident

Even if you are not able to take pictures because of your injuries, you can arrange to have photos taken of important things afterward. An attorney can arrange to have the photos taken on your behalf, or you can have them taken yourself.

All photos should be taken up close and at a distance. These pictures should include:

  • Photos of the crash scene – this should include pictures of the direction where you approached and from the direction of the truck driver’s approach. Photos of skid marks and any debris left over from the crash should be included as well.
  • Photos of your injuries – these pictures should include photos of all your visible injuries – including bruises, scrapes, and cuts. It should also include pictures of medical treatment, including you in casts or bandages. If you must use a wheelchair or crutches, get photos of that as well.
  • Photos of your vehicle – before you have your vehicle repaired, make sure pictures are taken of the damage. Take photos of both the outside and inside of the vehicle, as well as the undercarriage.

Other Pieces of Evidence You May Need for Your Iowa Truck Accident Claim

If there are witnesses to your crash, it is important to get their full names and contact details so you can reach them later regarding what they saw and heard. They may need to give a deposition, or even testify on your behalf at trial.

If there were any law enforcement officers that responded to the crash scene, they will need to be interviewed as well.

A police report can be obtained from the department that responded to your accident. This can be helpful in determining what happened during the crash, but it may not tell the whole story. An experienced Iowa truck accident attorney can review the police report for you and see if there are any unclear parts of the report.

What Types of Damages You Can Collect

There are potentially three types of damages you can receive if you are seriously injured in an Iowa semi-truck crash: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

  • Economic damages are typically proved by documents like medical bills, employment records, and tax returns.
  • Non-economic damages – things like loss of full function of the body and/or mind, physical and/or mental pain and suffering, and disfigurement – often need to be proved through a combination of medical records and witness testimony.
  • Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer for obviously reckless or intentional behavior.

It is highly unlikely that a settlement will fairly compensate you for your non-economic damages or for punitive damages without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation case evaluations for Iowa semi-truck accident victims. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.

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