If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, your first call after you get in contact with your insurance company should be to an attorney that specializes in truck accidents. This is because there is much more to a truck accident case than there is for a normal car crash. An attorney will need to act quickly to make sure they can gather all the documentation necessary to build the case. The following guide can help you better understand the process. 

Who Is Responsible?

There can be multiple people or entities considered at fault, even assuming that you aren't at fault for the accident. The most obvious responsible party is the truck driver, but they may not be the only ones considered at fault, or they may be considered a victim in their own right. In some cases the truck owner or the trucking company that is employing the driver is found to be at fault. This is usually because laws governing the driver or truck were broken at the corporate level. Your lawyer can help determine who needs to be named on any suit so that all responsible parties are brought to justice.

What Driver Documentation Is Needed?

The truck driver or their employer will need to provide proper documentation following the accident. If you aren't familiar with truck accidents, it can be easy to overlook some of this documentation. Generally, documentation needs include the following:

  • Driver licensing and certification file. This includes all their training and license allowances. For example, if they were carrying hazardous items, they will need to have a HAZMAT license or certificate in their file.

  • Driver service hour log. This log verifies how many continuous hours they have been behind the wheel.

  • Driver inspection record. Truck drivers are required to perform pre-trip and on-the-road inspections to help ensure problems with the truck don't cause an accident.

  • Drug and alcohol screening report. This document will be produced after the accident and should be included with any document folder your lawyer receives following the accident.

Are There Other Documentation Needs?

When a company is trying to pin an accident on the driver, they may forget to include some of the documentation that could incriminate them. This where a truck accident attorney can help. The company will need to provide any information from the truck that could be used as evidence. This includes bills of lading, weight checks, dispatch and delivery instructions, truck maintenance and inspection histories, and any data from the onboard GPS and communications systems.

Knowing who is responsible and getting the proper documentation is only part of the issue with a truck lawsuit. You also need to know how to read the information and find any inconsistencies or breaches of the law that can indicate responsibility. This is why it's important to have an attorney (such as Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C.) on your side.