Being involved in any sort of accident on the road can be frightening. Being involved in an accident with a large semi-truck can be absolutely terrifying. It can also be life-threatening. When you are bringing a lawsuit against a truck driver or trucking company, one of the best pieces of evidence to help your case can be the trucker’s logbook. All truck drivers are required to keep a logbook, recording the hours that they spent on the road and the time they were resting.
This record is used to ensure that all truck drivers are following the Federal hours-of-service rules, which are in place to keep drivers safe on the roads. If the logbook shows that the driver violated these laws, your case against them will likely be very strong.
What’s in a Logbook?
A truck driver must record all of the time that they spent on the road, as well as the time they spent resting. They must also record the route they took while driving. There are strict laws that govern how long a driver can be on the road before taking a rest and how long they need to rest before they are allowed to get back on the road.
These laws are in place because drivers are often tempted to spend more hours on the road due to incentive programs offered by trucking companies. These incentives often include potential bonuses for earlier delivery of their payload.
How Can the Logbook Help My Case?
For victims of a trucking accident, a driver’s logbook, combined with the black box from the truck, can quickly become your best friend. The black box from the truck can provide vital information about what happened just before the crash. When a logbook shows an overworked and under-rested driver, and the black box reveals that they did not apply the brake before the crash, these are pretty clear indications of fatigue.
A driver will usually hit the breaks before a collision unless they are distracted, fatigued, or in some other way impaired. The combination of proof that a driver had not been properly resting, and signs of fatigue before the crash, will go a long way in convincing a jury that the driver was negligent in their duty.
The records regarding the route the driver took could also come into play in proving fault. If a driver runs the same route, over and over again, but on the occasion of your crash was, for some reason, on a road with which they were unfamiliar, this deviation from their normal activity could help your case.
A driver who sticks to a standard route may grow accustomed to certain conditions. Imagine that the road they usually take has a speed limit of 70 miles per hour, but the road they were on when the crash occurred had a speed limit of 55 mph.
If you state in your claim that the driver of the semi was speeding and that caused the accident, the jury will have reason to believe that the driver’s familiarity with the higher speeds led them to speed and inevitably to the crash.
Filing a Lawsuit
When involved in a truck accident, you are likely going to have serious medical bills, as well as almost certainly needing a new vehicle. After all, semi-trucks are massive vehicles that can do a lot of damage.
Determining liability for truck accidents can be tricky. It can be unclear whether you should bring a lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company, both, or a third party. A qualified truck accident lawyer can help you cut through the maze and figure out where to bring legal action.
When you are bringing a case against the trucking company itself, you are definitely going to need a lawyer with a proven record of winning cases against trucking companies on your side. Any large trucking company has faced numerous lawsuits and has a legal team who knows all of the tricks to fight these cases.
Representing yourself in any legal case is never advised. Representing yourself against a team of highly paid, highly qualified lawyers is like trying to fight a forest fire with a squirt gun. Make sure to even the playing field by bringing on competent representation to help ensure that you get the financial compensation to which you are entitled.