First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply and provide great guidance as to what is or isn’t proper within truck driving. If you just analyze a crash the same way you would look at an automobile collision, many of the safeguards that the federal and state governments have put into place are ignored. We’ve been in court before when attorneys and experts evaluating a truck crash with a car failed to understand what Motor Carrier Regulations applied and used the wrong analysis to try to determine who was at fault. This mistake can be catastrophic for injured parties.
Second, safety manuals and other guidelines from the really good trucking companies in the industry provide further guidance as to how a truck driver should handle his rig. Again, this can be pivotal in determining who is at fault for a crash.
Third, the regulations even affect the amount of insurance carried and by whom (e.g., trailer owner, cargo owner, shipping company, driver, etc.) and whether the other parties involved in the transportation of the shipment might be responsible. Volumes upon volumes of analysis have been written on the subject matter by the best trucking law attorneys in the country. If you have an attorney who doesn’t know of or understand this analysis, you might be doing a huge disservice to your case.
Four, many trucking lines have rapid response teams that go to truck crash sites immediately. Ethical teams gather information and help to determine how the crash occurred and who is responsible. However, unethical teams destroy or distort or hide information, in an attempt to escape responsibility. Your truck attorney should have a rapid response team which includes an accident reconstructionist and ensures the materials needed from the crash (e.g., dash camera footage, driver logs, photographs of the scene and vehicles, etc.) are secured as soon as possible.
Five, good truck attorneys will quickly get the driver qualification file (DQF) from the driver's company. The DQF provides vital information about the driver's driving history, medical test results, how many hours he/she has been on the road, as well as other key facts. Good truck attorneys will also get “black box” information downloaded and analyzed with the help of a qualified expert. This will provide detailed information as to how the truck was being operated prior to and during the collision.