Legal Discovery: The Truck
Michigan Truck Lawyer Outlines 7 Steps to Comprehensive Truck Discovery
When conducting legal discovery, it’s important for truck lawyers to look into the following areas:
Truck driver log books contain a lot of information about each trip a trucker makes, such as total miles driven in a day. But most importantly, the log book contains information about the 24-hour period before the truck accident, such as driver’s starting time, remarks, names of additional drivers, shipping document numbers and duty status. Log books can often be used to prove service violations, speeding and other violations critical to establishing liability in a truck accident case. Because log books are often tampered with, altered or contain obviously misleading entries, it’s best to have an attorney who is very familiar with truck fatality and injury cases closely inspect the log books. Here’s information about legal discovery involving the truck driver.
Truck electronic on-board recorders are capable of capturing many forms of operational data through a truck’s electronic network. When a truck is involved in a serious accident, or when the truck driver or his lawyers refuse to admit fault, these recorders can confirm facts, like whether the driver was speeding immediately before the accident occurred. Unfortunately, truck companies are not required to maintain these recorders, and they can be erased or lost if a Michigan truck lawyer does not take immediate efforts to secure them after a crash.
Usually equipped with global positioning systems, black boxes show where the truck was before the accident. They contain e-mail exchanges between the truck driver and the trucking company, which in many of our truck crash cases, have led to astounding discoveries of mechanical problems, driver fatigue and admissions by the truck driver immediately after the accident.
Commercial truck companies must keep truck accident reports for one year. But attorneys in Michigan who are unfamiliar with truck accident cases often let these important reports get lost or destroyed. In turn, they lose the ability to document admissions of fault, negligent entrustment and negligent supervision of truckers who causes crashes.
Commercial truck bills of lading show when and where a load was dropped off or picked up. They can serve as valuable evidence of impairment, speeding and violations of state and federal law. If they are not secured by a lawyer soon after a truck accident, they can also be destroyed.
When truckers are committing hours of service violations that lead to serious accidents, their gas and meal receipts can be used to uncover the truth. Did the trucker just eat a large meal that made him drowsy? Was stopping for coffee in attempt to stay awake? Again, the receipts can be destroyed if not secured by a lawyer soon after a truck accident.
Cell phone records of the truck driver are always important for a lawyer to have as evidence that the trucker was not paying attention. By law, truckers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving, period. In truck accident injury cases, cell phone records can also be used to expose the time of a call or text and thus that the truck driver was not where he said he was or was speeding.
Here’s a list of discovery documents you can request.
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