In 2010, nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. However, most impaired truck drivers use stimulants to stay awake; this allows the driver to increase his driving time and also the possibility of a serious accident. If you are the victim of a truck accident it is important to have an experienced truck accident attorney in Clayton County who can get the proper compensation.
Commercial truck drivers who are convicted of operating a truck under the influence of drugs and alcohol face severe criminal consequences. Convictions can lead to the loss of a commercial driver's license (and the driver's livelihood), fines, increased insurance rates, and jail sentences. However, this pales in comparison to the increased likelihood of causing an accident that may lead to injury or death.
Trucking companies are covered by insurance policies that provide experienced truck accident adjusters and investigators. Insurers move quickly to repair damaged trucking equipment which renders it unavailable for inspection by a victim's attorneys.
Trucking companies are only required to keep specific records about cabs, trailers and drivers for limited amounts of time. An attorney can send a spoliation letter to a trucking company after an accident involving an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck. "Spoliation" is the destruction, concealment, loss or alteration of evidence and is illegal. A spoliation letter puts the trucking company on notice that it must preserve evidence related to the accident because an accident victim has a claim against the company. The victim's attorney may subsequently request accident-related evidence. Sending the spoliation letter promptly after an accident can preserve key evidence.
Frequently, evidence contained in Event Data Recorders (EDRs) can be compared to driver-supplied logs to verify key information following an accident. Though Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations require truck drivers to maintain documentation showing specific driving and resting times, truck "black boxes" can prove that drivers have falsified information.
Preserved evidence may be used to prove that a trucking company or the truck driver in the accident did not follow federal mandates about resting times. This may also lead to investigation about the length of time a truck driver was awake and whether an illegal substance was used while driving.
If you or someone you know has been hurt by a distracted truck driver, meet with a Clayton County truck accident lawyer at Shane Smith Law. We can assist you in every stage of your case including obtaining the available evidence. Give us a call at (980) 246-2656 for your free consultation today!