Trucking accidents can have devastating consequences. When another driver, passenger or pedestrian is injured in a trucking accident due to the driver or trucking company’s negligence, injured victims can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their losses.
The key to maximizing your compensation in a trucking accident claim is solid evidence of the other parties’ liability. Unfortunately, a proper investigation to gather all crucial evidence in such an accident is time-intensive. That's why it's paramount to engage experienced truck accident lawyers to collect all the trucking log book evidence that the victims can leverage to pursue a claim successfully.
What Is a Truck Log Book?
Transporting goods and materials across different states in the country is a challenging job. Truck drivers put in many lonely hours on the road, and sometimes exhaustion can take a toll on them. The U.S Department of Transportation limits the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel. Drivers are therefore required to maintain logbooks, which offer insight into the hours spent driving.
The law states that commercial truck drivers must rest for at least 10 hours before taking on another shift. It also clearly stipulates that truckers on duty cannot exceed 14 hours, with a capping of 11 actual driving hours.
Federal regulations further limit driving hours to 60 in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days. A 34 hour period must lapse before the truck drivers can begin another driving session.
How Is the Trucker's Log Book Used as Evidence in an Accident?
Getting trucking log evidence after a truck accident is simple, especially if the logbook clearly shows that the driver exceeded the allowed driving hours. All you need is an attorney to help you obtain the logbook and check its contents.
A common challenge with a logbook is the altering of information by the trucking company. However, a seasoned truck accident attorney can evaluate the logs and discover if the numbers have been tampered with. If that's the case, it forms a solid basis for a negligence case.
Trucks are now required to be fitted with an electronic data recorder that performs similar to a plane's black box. Apart from the stopping and driving time, the electronic data recorder also provides other crucial information such as braking, speed, etc. These, too, can be manipulated, so it's essential to contact an attorney as soon as a truck accident happens to preserve all vital evidence.
Liability in a Truck Accident
If it is evident that the driver exceeded the number of hours allowed behind the wheel, that can prove negligence. In such a scenario, both the driver and the employer may be found liable, especially if the employer authorized extra driving time so the driver can meet company targets. This can increase the compensation you are entitled to.
A Truck Log Helps Find Insurance Sources
A truck log will not only furnish the attorney with the driver's information. It also reveals the kind of cargo on transit. Semi-trucks get coverage from the driver's policy, the trucking company, and the company whose cargo is transported. And since third-party cases have liability insurance, your compensation amounts may increase to cover damages resulting from the truck accident.
What Is Other Evidence Used in a Truck Accident Case?
Manipulation of truck logbooks is not new. It's particularly rampant among drivers who violate legal working hours and don't take the mandatory rests between shifts. Fortunately, attorneys have the expertise to discover any log alterations.
Beyond the trucking log evidence, there is other evidence that the attorney can leverage to prepare a watertight negligence case.
Apart from maintaining the truck logs, truckers must keep all the truck's maintenance records. The truck company must routinely take their vehicles for inspection and tune-ups to keep the trucks in top working condition. Maintenance-related negligence puts the trucking company at fault as well.
Cellphone and Driver Records
Obtaining cell phone records proves if the driver was on the phone when the truck accident occurred. It helps determine a driver's liability and prove that they were distracted.
If an accident happens due to a driver's bad driving habits, past driving violations can be used as supporting evidence in a negligence case. Drug and alcohol screenings for the truck driver may also help your case. Essentially, you want any documentation of potential negligence on the driver’s part.
The Truck Wreckage
The wreckage can contain valuable information that can be presented in court as evidence. After a truck accident, most trucking companies rush to the scene to destroy any valuable evidence that can incriminate them. You must move with speed and have the truck checked for any evidence that may prove the trucker's negligence that led to the accident.
We Can Help File Your Truck Accident Claim
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassionate client care and honest, straight-forward approach. We are an experienced, passionate law firm that will seek your best outcome so you can focus on your family and recovery.
When you hire a New Jersey truck accident lawyer from our team at Brandon J. Broderick, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. Without a legal claim, the insurance company can offer you a lowball offer that barely covers your needs and may even refuse to cover some of the damages. You may be left having to pay for the costs of your injuries on your own. Contact us today and let us turn your setback into a comeback.