Driver and Company Records as Evidence in a 18-Wheeler Lawsuit

by Amber Cortez | August 25th, 2016 | 18 Wheelers, Blog

We all feel a little nervous when that behemoth of an 18-wheeler comes barreling down the expressway.  We’ve all seen these juggernauts in the news for causing some sort of major, and tragic, accident.

Because commercial trucks consistently weigh up to 80,000 pounds, their involvement in any sort of accident often tend to be serious, and frequently result in life-threatening injuries.  In fact, there were over 34,00 Commercial Motor Vehicle crashes for 2015 in the state of Texas with thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities occurring as a result.  If you or your loved ones have been negatively affected by a 18-wheeler accident, then it’s vital that you immediately contact a competent and experienced legal representative, like J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys, to begin the process of procuring you the justice and judgment you deserve.

In a previous installment, we provided readers with a few tips on how to successfully prepare for your 18-wheeler lawsuit should your situation require arbitration.

Now we’ll be offering you some additional advice on how to utilize driver and company records as evidence in an 18-wheeler lawsuit.

Employee Records

So to begin, just as our employers maintain records about our work history and job performance, so do the companies who employ commercial truck drivers.  These records should contain evaluation reviews, any instances of write-ups as a result of breaking company policies, driving records, and any history of tickets for speeding or other traffic violations.  Employer records are a critical element in an 18-wheeler accident investigation and can provide substantial evidence to prove that the driver was in the wrong.  By reviewing employee records, your lawyer can help you to get a better understanding of the individual responsible for the accident.  Alongside the previously mentioned information, employee records can also show:

  • Drug/alcohol test results.
  • Whether they had been reprimanded or terminated elsewhere.
  • History of prior accidents.
  • Complaints received from other drivers on the road.

If any noticeable issues can be found in these files, then it can be concluded that the trucking company already knew they had employed a dangerous driver, and thus bear responsibility as well.

Employer Records

Furthermore, the employer’s records should be examined as well.  Trucking companies will likely combat you on this particular subject, but with the support of a legal team like J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys, we’ll be able to help you obtain these documents.

Routinely, commercial trucking companies will provide handbooks and training manual to their new employees (drivers) so as to provide them with up-to-date company policies and expectancies.  Often times, these companies will also require employees to take additional training courses and sign a form proving they attended the class, or at the very least, that they thoroughly read through the training guides and have accepted the responsibilities written therein.

As these courses will traditionally cover everything about the particular job, as well as the safety requirements, being able to obtain this documentation can help to reveal a plethora of information including:

  • The type of training the driver received.
  • If they were properly utilizing the training taught to them during the time of the accident.
  • When the driver received safety training.
  • If the safety training was sufficient to address the issue at hand.

Looking at the training manuals given to the employee can help you lawyer to decide whether or not sufficient training and tools were given to the employee to conduct their work in a safe manner.  The reality is that employers essentially send off their drivers hoping that they driver will be responsible, but sadly, there is no guarantee.

Another great tool that can be utilized for these investigations is the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER), which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  This particular database can provide valuable information, especially about a company who has a history of unsafe practices, and includes data about crash information, safety ratings, and the company’s safety record.

Truck Records

Alongside state and federal laws that require Commercial Motor Vehicles inspection, truck companies should also be keeping record of maintenance on their trucks.  Regular maintenance and repair should also be handled appropriately to prevent equipment failure that can lead to accidents.  If this is occurring on a consistent basis, then the companies should have records of the efforts.

If there is a lack of maintenance records, then this can help to demonstrate that there was a lack of adequate care and repair.  Naturally, all automobiles require maintenance on a fairly consistent basis, and a deficit of this nature can show that this may have played a part in causing the accident, which will help to build your case.

We understand that after a brutal accident with a massive commercial vehicle, the last thing you may have is energy to fight. Your primary focus should undoubtedly be on getting back to your healthy-self.  But while you are regaining your strength and recovering let J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys fight your legal battles.  Together we can win the compensation your pain merits.

Call us at (956) 630-6700.


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