Truck accidents can be complicated as truck drivers often are working for a company at the time the accident occurs. Trucking companies may use various tactics to hide evidence or they may be less than forthcoming in an accident involving serious injuries or fatalities. It is essential to have an accident attorney in Clayton County to protect your rights.
Event Data Recorders (EDRs) may help show if there were traffic violations or if drivers' actions contributed to an accident. The recorders can also help identify automobile defects, showing that the accident liability may belong to a truck's manufacturer. EDRs can be compared to a truck driver's personal log to determine if the driver's personally documented driving time corresponds to the computer-recorded data.
Only 13 states have passed laws governing how EDR data can be used; Georgia has no legislation which makes it even more important to have a truck accident attorney in Clayton County. An attorney will 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 accident-related evidence may subsequently be requested by the victim's attorney. Failure to promptly submit a spoliation letter to the trucking company may result in the destruction of the damaged tractor trailer's EDR.
A spoliation letter from a truck accident attorney might specify the following evidence from the trucking company and its insurance carrier:
- Information from the truck's EDR;
- The truck driver's daily log (a legally mandated accounting of each hour spent driving and resting);
- Vehicle inspection reports for the truck's cab and trailer;
- Maintenance records for the truck's cab and trailer;
- Permits, licenses and insurance for the truck and/or the freight carried at the time of the accident;
- The truck driver's alcohol or drug testing results from the trucking company;
- The damaged cab and trailer involved in the accident.