Proving liability in a crash with a commercial semi-truck is much more complicated than determining fault with another passenger vehicle. This is because the trucker likely has a large corporation behind him ready to defend him against charges of negligence. Attorneys for the truck driver will visit the scene to collect evidence and likely do their best to withhold this evidence from the victim. When you secure the services of an experienced truck crash attorney, he will know what evidence to collect and how. This is important, because both the truck driver and the trucking company can be found to be liable for injuries resulting from a crash.
Key Evidence to Collect to Prove Driver Negligence
Commercial truck drivers are subject to strict federal legislation regarding their qualifications to drive, how much they may drive, and their state of mind while driving. Breaking any of these regulations could prove the driver’s liability in a crash. Obtaining these records could be pivotal in proving liability:
All commercial drivers are required to keep track of their driving hours in a logbook. Examining this book could provide proof such as the driver exceeded hours of service rules and was driving while fatigued.
Evidence of driver qualification or lack of qualification.
Truck drivers must meet avariety of standards in order to obtain and keep a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Checking the status of a driver’s CDL could show that he's not currently qualified to drive.
Driver background checks.
All drivers must undergo a criminal background check before being hired. Reviewing these records could reveal that the employer failed to run a check or a driver shouldn't have been hired due to something in his past.
Driver’s last medical certificate.
Truck drivers must have medical exams every two years and submit a medical report to their employers following each exam. Failing to do so could indicate driver or trucking company liability a medical condition should keep the trucker off the road.
Results of driver drug and alcohol screenings.
Alcohol and drug screenings are routinely given to truck drivers following a crash. A positive result on either of these reports would be strong evidence of driver fault.
If any of these reports are incomplete or missing, the driver may be held accountable for the crash.
Key Evidence to Collect to Prove Truck Failure
Drivers and trucking companies are required to keep their rigs in good working order and must retain records of all inspections and maintenance performed. Your attorney will seek the following evidence:
Maintenance and inspection records.
If an inspection report reveals a mechanical issue that was not repaired, liability could lie with the trucker, the trucking company, or both.
Records showing that no repairs were recently completed, or revealing the truck has a recurring mechanical problem, could help place blame on the trucking company for lack of maintenance.
Driver’s pre- and post-trip inspection reports.
Drivers are required by law to perform safety inspections of their trucks before and after every trip. Failing to do so could make the driver liable for a crash caused by preventable mechanical failure.
Annual inspection reports.
Each truck in a fleet must be inspected annually and the inspection reports must be kept by the trucking company. Examining these reports could indicate poor performance by a particular truck, making it a known risk on the road.
The truck’s “black box.”
The truck’s data recorder will reveal what happened immediately before the accident, such as a lack of braking, which could prove driver distraction, or excessive speed, which could prove driver carelessness.
Other Important Evidence
Along with reports and records related to the driver and the truck, a truck accident attorney will collect additional information from the scene of the crash, including the following:
Information taken at the scene of the accident by the police will be vital in proving your case. If a traffic ticket was issued to the truck driver, the police report will show that.
Eye witness accounts.
An attorney will interview any witnesses to the crash to support your claim that you were the victim of a truck driver’s mistake or negligence.
Photographs of the scene can go a long way to show an insurance adjuster or a jury the devastation created by the truck and build sympathy for the accident victims.
Have You Been Injured In A Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a tractor trailer accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.