Preserving Evidence in a Truck Accident Case
Assignment of fault is perhaps the most arduous task involved in causes of action involving motor vehicles. This is because when two motorists collide, one driver is likely to direct blame for the accident upon the other; this occurs even in cases of seemingly clear-cut rear-end collisions. With conflicting evidence, and available evidence often lacking, assignments of fault are often left to jury determination. Accidents involving heavy trucks or tractor trailers, on the other hand, have the availability of documented evidence, which can often provide undisputable evidence supporting claims of fault and liability. The Chicago trucking accident and injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. represent the victims and family members of those injured or killed in trucking accidents, and through such experience, have gained a full and complete understanding as to the importance of preserving valuable evidence.
Motor carriers, which includes the trucking companies that operate heavy commercial trucks and tractor trailers, which are often called ‘big-rigs,’ are regulated by the federal government. Pursuant to such regulation, motor carriers, must require all truck and tractor trailer drivers to maintain duty status records for each 24-hour period. However, motor carriers are only required to keep such records for a period of six months following receipt of such documents. As, such, the injury lawyers and accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., advise victims of trucking accidents to seek legal consultation as soon as is practical following an accident, to ensure that any and all available evidence is preserved.
Daily status records are required to account for every one-hour increment. These reports must document the driver’s status in one of four categories:
- “Off Duty” of “OFF”
- “Sleeper berth” or “SB”
- “Driving” or “D”
- “On-duty not driving” or “ON”
Often times, these reports can be used in conjunction with GPS-monitoring systems, or other computerized records installed within the truck or tractor trailer. For example, if a truck driver entered a log record reflecting that he was either “off duty” or “sleeping,” and it is later discovered, upon comparison with GPS obtained coordinates, that the driver’s position changed during this time, the driver and/or carrier could be liable for prosecution for falsification of such record, in addition to civil liabilities. Even if no accident or injury has occurred, a driver and/or motor carrier can still be liable for prosecution as a result of such falsification. In other cases, heavy truck and tractor trailer drivers have been found to be in possession of multiple reports, which provide conflicting records, and therefore also are considered to be a falsification of duty status records. Our Chicago personal injury and wrongful death attorneys have the experience necessary to perform a comprehensive investigation of your trucking accident. With Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., you can rest assured that any records which are available and relevant to your claim will be obtained.
Our Illinois licensed trucking accident attorneys remind the victims and loved ones of those injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck or tractor trailer that ‘Time is of the Essence.’ By consulting with a legal profession experienced in trucking accidents, you can ensure preservation of valuable evidence, and therefore protect your legal rights. For a free personal injury consultation, contact the Motor Vehicle vs. Truck Accident Attorneys of the Chicago Law Firm Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. today, at 773-516-4100, or through our website.