Truck wrecks are different from wrecks involving just passenger vehicles for many reasons. These reasons include federal regulations governing truckers and trucking companies, the size and weight of the truck, and the severity of injuries victims often suffer. As a result, the issues involved in truck crash claims are more complicated, and the need for a thorough investigation by an experienced truck accident attorney is crucial. In addition, you will need evidence unique to these cases to hold the trucking company and truck driver responsible for compensating you.
What Evidence About the Truck Driver and Trucking Company Should You Preserve That Could Prove Their Negligence in Causing Your Crash?
As with car accidents, there is certain basic evidence that you will want to collect regarding your truck accident. This includes obtaining a copy of the police report, pictures of the accident scene, damages to the vehicles, and your injuries, witness statements, medical records, and wage loss documentation. However, because the issues can be different, you may need much more specific evidence for your claim. This could include the following information:
- Truck driver records. Truck driver records are essential to determining the truck driver’s qualifications and training. In addition, they can show whether he conducted required pre- and post-trip inspections, how many hours he had driven without a break, and whether he was intoxicated at the time of your accident. Some of the documents that you would need include his qualification file, training records, pre-and post-trip inspection reports, daily activity logs, and post-collision alcohol and drug testing results.
- Truck information. Documents regarding the truck can help you discover whether maintenance issues contributed to the crash and whether the truck driver was really doing what he claimed during the time leading up to your accident. Information that is crucial includes downloads of any onboard systems, such as a GPS, communication systems, and engine control modules. In addition, your attorney would want to review the inspection and maintenance records for the truck and may retain an expert to inspect the truck itself before it is repaired.
- Cargo evidence. You will want to gather documentation regarding the load the truck was delivering to determine whether improper loading or securing of cargo contributed to your crash. Bills of loading, weight tickets, shipper instructions, and delivery documents are some of the helpful documents that could establish this. In addition, some of these documents can be compared to the driver’s activity log to determine how long the truck driver was truly driving. Unfortunately, a truck driver or trucking company could falsify daily activity logs.
- Trucking company. The trucking company is required to maintain many of the files you need regarding the truck driver—such as his qualification file— and the condition of the truck. In addition to these documents, you would want your attorney to review their training manuals and policies to determine if the company followed federal regulations governing the company and truck driver.
The trucking company will not voluntarily provide you with this information. However, an experienced truck accident attorney can send the trucking company a spoliation letter and take other steps to ensure that this vital information is not destroyed. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you collect the necessary evidence to hold the trucker and trucking company accountable.