Truck accident lawsuits enter a discovery phase, which is a period of time in which the attorney obtains information critical to building the case.
Once the lawsuit is filed, subpoenas and other requests that are enforced by the court aid in the process of gathering this information. For example, discovery can help attorneys obtain logs that might otherwise be destroyed after a certain period of time.
Truck Driver History
With respect to the truck driver involved, discovery is important in investigating the driver’s background. The plaintiff’s attorney will look at the commercial driver’s license (CDL) and other records to find out about his or her work history and training, and any prior crashes and violations. The CDL also contains a doctor’s certification stating the driver has no medical condition that would inhibit the ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has outlined strict rules regarding truck drivers’ work hours and breaks. During discovery, the attorney can view the driver’s logs to find out if the trucking company and driver were complying with these regulations. Failure to comply is illegal and puts the driver at risk for dangerous and chronic fatigue.
Truck Maintenance and Rule Compliance
In addition to detailed information about the truck driver and trucking company involved, maintenance records are essential to discovery. Certain parts on the tractor trailer could have been failing, or the truck might not have been properly maintained; both scenarios may be factors that contributed to the collision.
Electronic Control Modules
An electronic control module (ECM), also called a black box, is installed in semi-trucks to capture important information related to a crash. ECMs record information including: average speed and highest speed, RPMs, idling time, and data about hard stops. An ECM can record different kinds of information regarding hard stops including the speed beforehand, when and how quickly the braking occurred, and other data.
Attorneys have a huge advantage in proving their case if the ECM’s information can be obtained immediately after a truck accident.
The Importance of an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are complex events that often include severe damage to the vehicles involved. When a motorist is injured or killed in a truck-related accident, the attorney on the case must possess the extensive knowledge necessary to thoroughly investigate the crash during discovery. Failure to gather the right details could ruin a person’s chance of obtaining justice and compensation for his or her injuries.
Acting immediately is critical in preserving all the critical information. If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck crash, contact Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys