Accident victims whose losses exceed their own insurance coverage are often forced to file either an insurance claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or both against the person or company responsible for the crash. When it comes to truck accidents, the at-fault party often proves to be not only the truck driver, but also the truck driver’s employer. It is, however, only possible to recover compensation from trucking companies if a plaintiff can provide strong and convincing evidence of the company’s carelessness. Doing so often comes down to a claimant’s ability to dig up business records that support their allegations. Identifying and recovering these records does, however, tend to be complicated, especially for those without legal counsel, which is one of the reasons why it is so important for truck accident victims to work with an attorney who is familiar with the procedures involved in requesting evidence.
Records Related to Fleet Management
All trucking companies that operate commercial vehicle fleets are legally required to keep records of their trucks, as well as their cargoes. This includes a requirement to note when a truck is inspected and to include details of those inspections. If someone is injured in an accident with a commercial truck, these records could end up playing a critical role in proving negligence on the part of the company if they reveal that:
- The company encouraged its drivers to engage in unsafe driving practices;
- The company forced its drivers to violate federal hours of service rules by creating unreasonable deadlines and instituting pay cuts for late deliveries;
- The company failed to inspect, repair, or maintain the trucks in its fleet; or
- The company had a history of committing safety violations or asking drivers to violate federal regulations.
As you may imagine, trucking companies are often extremely hesitant to hand over these kinds of records to attorneys. Fortunately, when companies balk during the discovery process, a plaintiff’s attorney can step in and ask the court to subpoena the records directly.
Records of Email Communications
Most businesses do a lot of their communicating, not only with owners, managers, and investors, but also with their employees via email. Fortunately, federal rules also require companies to keep a record of these communications, which can be extremely helpful when it comes to establishing that a trucking company operated in a negligent or careless manner. Emails can, for instance, reveal both explicit and implicit encouragement of unsafe or illegal business practices. A lack of email communication between managers and employees can even be used as evidence that the company was not fulfilling its obligations regarding maintenance and training.
Records Related to Hiring and Employment
The applications submitted to trucking companies, as well as other hiring and employment records can also be used by accident victims attempting to recover compensation from a negligent trucking company. These records can, for example, show whether a company carefully vetted future employees and upon hiring those drivers, whether it provided those employees with proper training. If it turns out that a company failed to ensure that an applicant had the proper qualifications and credentials to drive a commercial vehicle, then it could be held liable for damages if that driver later caused a crash.
Trucking Company Insurance Policies
While a trucking company’s insurance policies won’t help demonstrate negligence, they can be used in other ways that will help support a plaintiff’s claim. They can, for instance, reveal the type of coverage that a company carries, as well as how much compensation is available under each type of policy. Policies will also state the overall amount that can be paid out per accident claim, all of which can help an accident victim decide how to move forward when submitting a claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today – We Answer 24 Hours a Day
If you were hurt in a truck accident, we know the last thing you’re probably thinking about is filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. The reality, however, is that doing so is often necessary before you can pay off medical bills and supplement your lost wages. To discuss strategies for seeking your rightful compensation, call the dedicated and compassionate Miami truck accident lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today. You can reach us via online message or by calling us at 305-371-2692. And remember, if we take your case, it will be on a contingency fee basis, which means that we won’t get paid unless we are able to successfully secure compensation for your accident-related losses.