|I am a personal injury attorney who specializes in 18-wheeler crash cases. Large trucks because of their size and weight can cause serious injury and death. It takes an attorney with special experience to handle these complex cases.
The attorney must have a good working knowledge of the federal laws that apply to trucking companies and their drivers and know which documents to request from the trucking company in order to win the case.
In my experience, crashes caused by 18-wheeler drivers, happen because of several reasons. Driver fatigued is a leading reason. Drivers get paid many times by the load they are carrying. The quicker they get the load delivered, the more money they can make.
This payment system created by trucking companies can produce tragic results because the pay system, by its nature, encourages driver fatigue.
Drivers are required by federal law to take rest breaks after so many hours of driving. Log books are supposed to record the amount of time a truck driver drives and rests. Unfortunately, some times these log books are faked so drivers can drive more and rest less. This is a recipe for disaster.
A poorly maintained truck is another cause of 18-wheeler crashes. The tires and brake systems are key safety features of any large truck. If they are not properly maintained, the truck cannot stop in time to avoid a crash.
An unqualified and unfit truck driver is also another cause of 18-wheeler crashes. Sometimes trucking companies fail to conduct a proper background and qualification check on their drivers.
Sometimes, a driver is legal suspended from driving under Federal law, but is allowed to drive anyway.
In order to uncover and discover the causes of a particular 18-wheeler crash, the following documents have to be obtained, reviewed and an analysis made to determine if the truck crash was preventable.
Driver's DOT Qualification and Personnel Files.
Driver's daily hours of service log sheets for at least three months prior to the wreck.
Driver's drug and alcohol test results
Driver's truck mileage, fuel purchase records and expense reports.
Dispatch records and bills of lading for the trip that the driver was on when the wreck occurred.
On-board computer records for the tractor trailer involved in the collision.
The Company Safety/Driving Manual.
We all have to share the road with 18-wheelers. Trucking companies need to make sure their trucks are safe and their drivers are fit and qualified to drive. If not, we all pay the price.