As increasing numbers of people move to Eastern Pennsylvania, the public highways and toll roads could become more congested and dangerous. More residents means more shops and a greater need for products and food to be transported over the roads. Sometimes when more trucks pass through an area to transport goods, they seem to take over the roads.
Trucks back up or slow down rush-hour commuters on busy interstates. They make awkward turns into delivery destinations, slowing down traffic. Trucks can be intimidating and can make your commute feel unsafe.
If you’re involved in an accident due to a trucker’s negligence, your attorney will seek records to prove that the trucker was at fault. In the state of Pennsylvania, you’re entitled to sue the employer in a personal-injury case. When you do, your attorney will ask for “discovery” of key evidence to prove your case.
Your Attorney Will Ask for Satellite Data
Most trucks today are outfitted with systems that track the speed of the truck while it’s in operation. These records are often erased after 30 days or so by the companies that keep them, so it’s important to file a truck-related accident as soon as possible. Your attorney needs ample time to request the records.
If the trucker was exceeding the posted speed limit at the time of the accident, the satellite data will prove this beyond a doubt. The satellite system also logs the hours the truck is in operation. If the trucker had exceeded the time allowed by federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, then you have cause to show that driver fatigue was a likely contributing factor in your accident.
Driver fatigue is a leading cause of trucking accidents, so the drivers are expected to keep their own logs. Your attorney will ask for copies of the logs that relate to your accident. An attorney experienced in handling trucking accidents understands how to spot fake logbooks intended to cover up HOS violations.
Your Attorney Will Seek Data on the Accident Site
A federal law known informally as Section 409 allows state courts and governments to hide data about road conditions and safety issues on state highways. Accident data and other important statistics are exempt from public scrutiny. These records are also not permitted to be used as evidence in personal-injury cases.
However, it may be possible for your attorney to find some public data on trucking wrecks with enough digging. Newspaper articles and other public announcements may have data about trucking companies that have been involved in multiple accidents or about known hazards on specific roadways.
Prior lawsuits can be researched to find any patterns of negligent hiring, training, or documentation by the company involved in your case.
If the trucking accident occurred on private property, your attorney will want detailed photographs and blueprints of the road or parking area. Details including the weather on the day of the wreck, the surface condition of the road, the nature of nearby signage, and the posted speed limits will all be noted. Construction firms and others may be found at fault in some trucking cases.
Your Attorney Will Dig Through the Trucking Firm’s Documents
Trucking firms are required to carry adequate liability insurance to cover the increased costs of trucking-related accidents. The trucking company or the insurance company may plead poverty to you as a victim. If you don’t have an attorney, they may convince you that a small settlement is “all you’ll get” from their “family business.”
An experienced attorney knows how to seek additional assets the defendants don’t want included in their financial statements. Your attorney is also skilled in locating additional defendants with interests or ownership in trucking firms found at fault for accidents.
Your Attorney May Ask for Driver Health Records
Life on the road is hard, and many drivers find solace in snacks and sodas to keep up their morale. Driving within tight deadlines, often without adequate rest, truckers may choose fast food for the convenience and the sensory boost.
However, this doesn’t impact truckers’ health positively, and a trucker’s poor health could put you at risk. Recent studies show that truck drivers who suffer from three or more of thirteen specific medical conditions have an increased risk of having a wreck.
These conditions might include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Poor vision
- Spine and musculoskeletal disorder
Divers with three or more conditions are around three times more likely to crash than other truckers.
Having four or more conditions normally disqualifies a driver from working until his or her health improves. The problem is, most employers in the industry don’t have adequate preventative and ongoing health monitoring. If the driver in your accident is shown to be too sick to drive, you have grounds to sue the company that employed the trucker.
When you’ve been injured due to a trucking accident, get immediate medical care, but don’t sign anything or consent to any medical records release. Contact The Law Offices of Gregg Durlofsky immediately, no matter the hour. Your case is important to us.