How Evidence in DC Truck Accident Cases Differs From Other Injury Cases

The following is taken from a transcript with a DC truck accident lawyer as they discuss the types of evidence typically used in truck accident cases. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.

Requirements For Truck Drivers

There are very specific requirements for truck drivers, and one of the most important requirements is that individuals who operate commercial vehicles must have a commercial driver’s license.  This documentation certifies that he or she has gone through specialized safety training and has passed a background check that vets individuals for prior accidents, prior violations, and prior criminal history. All of those are very important considerations in terms of a truck accident case, and it is the role of the truck accident attorney to conduct his or her investigation to evaluate whether the driver involved was properly trained in order to operate that vehicle.

As to the equipment itself or the vehicle itself, there are specific requirements for regular maintenance or inspections of the mechanical and safety equipment of those vehicles, and maintenance and inspection records must be maintained. Those records are very important to obtain in an accident case investigation. There’s also the load and cargo evidence that can reveal who the parties were that were responsible for loading the cargo, what those requirements were (there are separate and very explicit instructions and detail on proper loading and securement of different sorts of cargo), and if they were followed correctly.

Other documentation, such as bills of lading, delivery documents, weight tickets, and dispatch instructions are very important evidence to obtain as part of an investigation of an accident, as well as the personnel file of the driver. In addition to this personnel file, there are not only the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, but also manuals, policies, and procedures from the company itself that specify how they train their drivers and what policies they implement to keep the roads safe.

So How Do Trucking Regulations Affect the Evidence Used in Truck Accident Cases?

Well, one of the main purposes of the federal motor safety regulations is to delineate what needs to be kept by way of documentation. Companies and drivers have to adhere to the documentation requirements as they pertain to the driver (including background and training), the maintenance of the equipment, and the loading and operation of the vehicle. These regulations set a standard by which the drivers and companies have to operate in terms of maintaining documentation. An experienced trucking accident attorney is familiar with these laws and therefore knows what the requirements are as to what needs to be kept and what information can and should be obtained through an investigation.

What About The Trucking Companies Themselves?

The trucking companies have an obligation to hire well-trained and qualified drivers to operate their trucks.  It’s important that the company properly investigates the background of a driver to ensure they have the skill and qualifications to operate a commercial vehicle safely. Many times companies hire unqualified drivers, perhaps they didn’t do a proper background check or didn’t check for previous accidents and prior traffic violations or license suspensions.

So, trucking companies have a responsibility to hire well-trained and qualified operators, and they can be held liable if they failed to do so both in the hiring process and after hiring and supervising the drivers. If it leads to putting unsafe drivers on the roadways causing collisions, they can be held responsible for that.