When tractor-trailers are involved in collisions with other vehicle on Louisville roadways, the risk of serious injury and wrongful death is magnified for the occupants of passenger vehicles because of the massive disparity in the size and weight of the vehicles. This threat of serious injury or loss of a loved one means that commercial trucking accident victims and their families may face staggering medical bills, substantial lost earnings and even permanent disability so that the injured party cannot continue in his chosen occupation. The financial hardships created by these types of serious injury or loss of a loved one makes obtaining financial compensation especially important for trucking accident victims.
Trucking accident lawsuits are particularly challenging because they pose unique evidentiary challenges. Although commercial carriers and truck drivers are required to keep records regarding tractor-trailer maintenance and inspections, hours of service, pre-employment investigations and a range of other safety issues, these records are frequently misleading or falsified. Driver logbooks that track hours of service for commercial drivers are so routinely manipulated that they are commonly referred to in the trucking industry as “lie books.”
When a Kentucky Trucking Accident Attorney investigates a potential claim, these records need to be cross-referenced against other evidence which may expose false or distorted entries. One of the most critical sources of evidence in a trucking accident is the “event data recorder” installed on many big-rigs. These computer systems are similar to the “black box” on commercial flights. They can be used to verify a wealth of relevant facts in truck collision civil actions for damages, such as:
- Sudden braking or acceleration
- Speed prior to impact
- Mechanical problems
- Email communications between the truck driver and commercial carrier
- Hours behind the wheel and off duty periods
- Location during the time of the collision
- Vehicle maintenance issues
When a large commercial truck is rushed back into service following a collision, damage to the body of the tractor-trailer might be repaired, and critical information stored by the black box deleted. Because a trucking company that suspects that its driver was negligent has little incentive to preserve damaging evidence, our Louisville trucking accident attorneys routinely intervene to protect such evidence. We may send a “spoliation letter” to the trucking company informing the commercial carrier that the truck and its black box are the subject of litigation and must be preserved unaltered. If the trucking company disregards this warning, the judge can impose sanctions that favor the injury victim.
The discovery process is also important in a Kentucky trucking accident lawsuit to verify official maintenance and logbook records. Some of the types of documents that may provide insight into attempts to misrepresent or destroy evidence might include:
- Fuel receipts
- Invoices for tires
- Lodging records
- Payment records for other driving team members
- Hiring and pre-employment screening records
- Vehicle maintenance receipts
If you or a loved one is injured in a Kentucky trucking accident, our Louisville Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorneys at Murphy & Associates are committed to obtaining compensation for those who are injured because of negligent truck drivers and commercial carriers that turn a blind eye to unsafe drivers. If you or a family member suffers personal injury or a loved one dies in a semi-truck crash in Kentucky, we invite you to call us for a free initial consultation at (502) 203-0167 to learn how we can help!