Trucking accidents often result in severe and catastrophic injuries. Often times it is easy to determine if the truck driver is at fault for his or her failure to follow the rules of the road. Sometimes the case is not as clear as the investigating police officer will not be able to make a determination if the other driver did something wrong. At this point, it is important that you and your attorney ensure that certain evidence is preserved regarding your case. Your attorney should put the truck driver, the trucking company and the motor carrier on notice of your claim as well as seek preservation of certain documents maintained by these persons. These documents will help you determine if the driver, company or motor carrier violated any State or Federal Rules.
Documents to Preserve
1) Truck Driver Logs – logs of the hours that a truck driver has been on the road. Federal rules limit the number of hours that a driver can drive.
2) Dispatch Records – these documents will verify where the truck has been, and if it matches with the driver logs. It is important to compare these documents to ensure that the driver logs are not falsified.
3) Maintenance and Inspection Reports of the Truck – ensure that the vehicle was properly maintained and safe to be out on the road. Many accidents occurred where a vehicle should never have been operated.
4) Employment File of Truck Driver – these documents will provide a background on the driver, including driving and criminal history, prior accidents, and the training received. Many times the driver should not have been operating a truck, let alone a passenger vehicle.
5) All Electronic Messages created by the Truck – trucks nowadays are equipped with on board electronic devices which begin recording events prior to an accident. Such events include speed prior to accident, notification of when the vehicle exceeds a certain speed, hard brake events, trucks prior location, and hours that the vehicle has been operated.