Trucking Accidents: A Review of Documents and Records
By Shane Kadlec on January 1, 2018
After a truck accident has happened, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible. While crime scene investigations and accident reconstruction are helpful, it’s equally important to look through the trucking company’s records. The company’s documents may reveal poor decisions or practices that may have contributed to an accident occurring.
Our law firm has helped countless clients in the Houston, TX area with their motor vehicle accident lawsuits. We’d like to consider various kinds of trucking company records that would be of value in a large truck/commercial vehicle collision.
Driver Safety Records
When a trucking company hires a driver, they obtain a detailed history of that driver’s safety from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The records obtained may include information on any moving violations, accidents, arrests, and license suspensions. If a trucking company has hired a driver with a record of unsafe driving, they may be held liable for their decisions if that same driver caused an auto collision.
Issues with Driver Performance and Qualifications
In addition to driver safety records, trucking companies will often keep reports with regard to the performance of their truck drivers as well as their work experience and qualifications. If a driver who is inexperienced or who performs their job poorly is kept on the job, the trucking company could be held accountable for this decision when an accident occurs.
Negligent Disciplinary Practices
In addition to driver performance, a trucking company may keep records of punishments issued to drivers who do not perform their job properly or safely. The records may reveal that a driver has a record of safety violations and problems, but that driver may not have been properly disciplined for their actions. Again, these records would point to issues with hiring and continued employment of employees who do their job poorly.
Delivery Schedules for Truck Drivers
Trucking companies will keep records of their delivery schedules, indicating what routes are traveled, how long a delivery takes, and the number of miles traveled. There are regulations on how long truck drivers should be on the road. These records may reveal that a trucking company forced their driver to work beyond the legally allowed hours per day, which increases the risk of an accident occurring.
Fleet/Vehicle Maintenance Records
A trucking company needs to ensure that their fleet of vehicles are regularly serviced and tuned up. This means regular oil and fluid changes as well as checking the tires, brakes, steering systems, and other parts/equipment. Maintenance records could reveal that certain trucks were not properly serviced, making them more dangerous to operate even by skilled and safe truck drivers, and hence and a risk to others on the road.
How an Attorney Can Help Obtain These Records
When seeking a legal action against a trucking company, it’s important that you have an attorney on your side. During the discovery process, they can request the proper records that are pertinent to your case and identify the most important information related to the accident. Your attorney will also help determine whether it’s best to accept a settlement or go to trial given the nature of the accident.
Contact the Law Office Of Shane R. Kadlec
For more information about holding trucking companies and their drivers accountable, be sure to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer. The team at the Law Office Of Shane R. Kadlec is here to help you in your time of legal need.