Driver Logs & Inspection

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other commercial big rig, you must act quickly to preserve evidence. As this page will explain, you need to contact an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer in your area right away. The Aguirre Law Firm, PLLC is experienced in handling truck accidents.

Determining the Causes of San Antonio 18-Wheeler Accidents

Truck drivers are required by law to maintain a detailed driver’s log that includes amount of hours on the road as well as a record of scheduled rest periods taken. The driver’s log is just as important as the police reports and eye witness accounts in the event of an accident. A driver is permitted to discard the log after a specified period of time, therefore it is crucial to seek an attorney in order to make sure this log is secured. An experienced San Antonio accident attorney will take the steps necessary to obtain and preserve the driver’s logs.

In some states, one out of ten 18-wheeler accidents involves a fatality. Some drivers are driving longer hours than allowed, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or transporting heavier or unbalanced loads that could lead to danger on the road. 30-40% of the trucks on the roadway shouldn’t be there.

The three likely driver problems contributing to accidents are:

  • Driver inattention
  • Inadequate training
  • Not repairing defective equipment

Federal law requires a systematic test of the tractor-trailer’s parts and systems. The test should be completed prior to every trip or at the beginning of the day for the driver. A truck driver is responsible to assess all previous vehicle inspection reports. If there is an item marked for repair, the driver must ensure that it was repaired to avoid a possible 18-wheeler accident. The truck driver is required to verify that the truck is in safe operating condition. All defects or deficiencies detailed by the previous report must be repaired.

When it comes to inspecting any big rig, the truck driver should examine the general condition of the semi truck or tractor trailer for any damage. For instance, the vehicle might be leaning to one side, which could indicate a suspension problem or a flat tire. This could lead to a fatal semi truck accident or injury. The driver should check under the vehicle for signs of fresh oil, coolant, grease or fuel leakage. It’s also a good idea for the truck driver to survey the area around the vehicle for any hazards threatening the movement of the vehicle. Low hanging wires or other obstructions could make a situation unsafe.

Importance of Hiring a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer

If you are involved in an accident with a semi or tractor trailer truck, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney experienced in 18-wheeler accidents will immediately forward a preservation letter requesting the trucking company and driver preserve the following:

  • Driver’s logs from six months prior to the accident;
  • Code driver’s logs from six months prior to the accident;
  • The driver’s qualification file and incident reports involving the driver;
  • Total trip receipts, weight tickets, bills of waiting, statements from Com Data, cash advance services and any other operational documents;
  • Satellite tracking information from six months prior to the accident;
  • Any evidence from on-board data recorders, or electronic control units (ECM units) or black boxes. The information can be rapidly obtained before it is deleted from the black box. Many commercial drivers now have data recorders in their trucks;
  • Email or other communication involving the driver and dispatcher;
  • Maintenance records, inspection reports before and after the trip, annual inspection records; and,
  • Many other records or facts that depend upon the specifics or your case.

Once the preservation letter is sent from your personal injury lawyer to the trucking company or driver, they must not discard the evidence. If they do, they will have a hard time convincing the Judge or jury that the disposal was made in good faith. The act of “discarding” evidence would likely lead to a jury instruction on spoliation of evidence, which is a very strong instruction implying to the Judge or jury that the trucking company or driver has deliberately destroyed the records.

Time is vital when a crash involves a tractor or semi-trailer. Contact us right away. We can promptly take your case and ensure that we take the necessary steps to preserve as much evidence as possible. We offer a free initial consultation and when we take a semi truck accident case, we will not charge a fee unless we obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor.

We provide no-cost, no-pressure consultations regarding personal injury claims. This consultation does not create any obligation on your part. Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys.

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