After a serious truck accident resulting in injuries, a complete and extensive investigation should be conducted as quickly as possible. Time is not on the side of an individual injured by a big rig tractor trailer. It is crucial to determine what caused the crash with numerous potential factors coming into play.
An experienced truck accident lawyer must promptly investigate the following issues:
A trucking company defendant may be found negligent in a lawsuit by using its own documents and files against it. For example, a trucking company may be negligent if it:
Step 1: Obtain the truck driver qualification file (DQF) from the trucking company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) requires that every trucking company keep a driver qualification file for all of their truck drivers. The information in this file can be very helpful in identifying factors that caused the crash especially if driver inattention, fatigue, or error played a role in causing the truck accident. A complete driver qualification file (DQF) should include:
Step 2: Make certain that the truck driver involved in the accident meets the minimum legal standard for driving a truck under federal law
A qualified truck driver must:
Trucking companies may refuse to send a DQF file knowing that it contains potentially damaging information that may be used against them. For this reason, it is vital to retain a truck accident attorney quickly so that a prompt written demand for the DQF file and other important discovery is sent. If the trucking company fails to respond or refuses to provide the needed evidence, a truck accident lawyer can file a lawsuit along with a motion or order to show cause to turn over the pre-action discovery. Alternatively, an experienced truck accident lawyer can serve a subpoena to obtain this discovery forcing the trucking company to turn over their records without delay.