While nearly any sort of traffic collision can potentially result in serious
injury, crashes involving commercial trucks are often particularly devastating
due to their immense size and weight. For this reason,
personal injury claims stemming from
truck accidents are frequently far more complex and involve a lengthy investigation to
determine who is financially liable for the crash. But what exactly do
these investigations involve, and what evidence will influence the outcome
of your claim?
Driver Qualification Files
While the vast majority of evidence influencing your claim will be found
at the scene of your accident, such as witness testimonies, tire tracks,
and the resulting damage, one of the most important sources of evidence
is known as the Driver Qualification File (DQF). This file contains important
information about a driver’s employment and driving history and
must be held and maintained by every trucking company under regulations
established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
A driver’s DQF must have a record of the following:
- Accident records involving a particular driver or truck
- Copies of each driver’s commercial driver’s license
- Results of road aptitude tests
- Yearly performance reviews
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Driver hours of service records
- Results of alcohol and drug tests for drivers
Likewise, all commercial drivers in the United States must be at least
21 years old, be in good health, be able to read and speak English, be
able to operate their vehicle safely, and be able to properly secure their
vehicle’s cargo. Trucking companies who employ drivers who do not
meet any of these requirements or who have missing or incomplete DQFs
can be held liable for negligence. Since actually obtaining this file
can be an uphill battle, it is important you retain the services of a
knowledgeable attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action.
Truck “Black Boxes”
All commercial trucks are required to be equipped with an electronic on-board
recorder (EOBR) or “black box” which keeps track of the events
before, during, and after a crash. The information in these devices is
used by law enforcement, insurance providers, and employers in the event
of a collision and can be invaluable in revealing what really happened.
Black box data can potentially reveal the following:
- The truck’s velocity at impact
- The time when the brakes were applied
- Whether the truck suddenly came to a halt
- When gears were shifted
- Fluctuations in engine revolutions
Contact Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor Today
Given the fact that truck accidents can potentially involve multiple parties
and involve numerous different contributing factors, it is vital injured
parties retain trusted legal counsel to maximize their chances of securing
a favorable outcome. At Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor, our award-winning
Kingston personal injury attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of
truck accident victims and can provide the powerful advocacy you need
to ensure your rights are protected.
We serve clients throughout New York with offices in Kingston, Ellenville,
Poughkeepsie, and New York City.
Get in touch with us online or call (845) 340-HURT today to discuss your claim.