In order to prevail in a lawsuit concerning a Maryland eighteen wheeler accident, an attorney must employ certain special investigatory tactics. Truckers typically create a paper trial that, if followed correctly, may uncover the cause of an accident. A Maryland truck accident attorney’s investigation should pay careful attention to two information sources, the truck involved in the accident, and the truck driver.
1. The physical investigation of the truck
Information within the truck’s cab and engine could be essential in discovering whether the truck driver was at fault for the accident. When a big rig is involved in an accident on one of Maryland’s highways, the truck should be treated as a crime scene. Federal law requires trucking companies to keep a copy of the truck’s maintenance and inspection records in the big rig’s cab. Investigating these records could uncover a company’s failure to properly inspect or maintain the eighteen wheeler, and this failure may be a contributing factor in an accident.
Today, most big rigs carry black boxes in their engine compartments. Similar to airplane flight data recorders, black boxes in big rigs record engine conditions, vehicle speed, and other relevant information. Maryland truck accident attorneys must act quickly to recover the information contained within a truck’s black box. In many cases, a truck’s black box will tell an investigator when the truck driver applied the brakes, the engine RPM, clutch position, and the truck’s speed at the time of the accident.
Information found inside the cabin and sleeping compartment of the big rig involved in an accident may also prove crucial to a truck accident attorney. All truckers carry “trip envelopes” where they record their expenses for reimbursement and tax purposes. These payments tell the story of where a driver traveled preceding an accident, what he ate or drank, and most importantly, how long the driver spent on the road. Trip envelopes can highlight a violation of federal hours of service regulations and provide evidence of a driver’s negligence.
2. Investigation of the truck driver
A truck accident attorney should seek information concerning the driver of an eighteen wheeler involved in an accident in Maryland. A truck driver’s criminal record, driving record, and medical records might reveal evidence of the driver’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely.
A truck driver with a criminal history involving drug or alcohol violations will be a red flag to a lawyer. A truck driver’s prior traffic violations may demonstrate a pattern of driving behavior indicative of the driver’s negligence. Prescription medications and their dosage instructions may be another vital piece of information indicating the driver’s sobriety (or lack thereof) at the time of the accident.
The Maryland truck accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC are experienced in investigating the facts surrounding truck accidents. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident with a big rig in Maryland, please contact us for a free consultation.