Preservation of Evidence in Truck Accident Case

Date: July 9, 2008

Ward and June were on their way back to Pleasant Mount after visiting their son at Lockhaven University. It was a sunny, warm afternoon and visibility was excellent as they were traveling east on Route 80.

Ward noticed a large tractor trailer in his rearview mirror coming up behind him in the passing lane going extremely fast. Ward would later testify that the truck had to be going at least 85 miles per hour.

Just as the truck was approximately three-quarters of the way past Ward, for some inexplicable reason, the truck started to come into Ward\’s lane. Ward started to move over but the truck came over too quickly causing an impact. Both the tractor trailer and Ward\’s vehicle were out of control.

The next thing Ward realized was that he woke up in the hospital. Both Ward and June would sustain extremely serious injuries with June having incurred permanent brain damage.

The truck driver would later claim that a deer or some animal began to enter his lane of travel, and he was trying to veer out of the way so as not to kill the animal. Other non-involved witnesses, though, would deny ever seeing any animal anywhere in the roadway or near the road at or around the time of the accident. One witness to the accident claimed that before the investigators arrived, the truck driver stated he might have dozed off for a second.

The U. S. Department of Transportation\’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets forth strict rules about keeping log books that apply to trucks and trucking companies. The acquisition of copies of all these log books as soon as possible after the injury is imperative. There are strict safety rules about the number of hours that truck drivers can drive per day and per week. However, the regulations on interstate truckers only require that these log books be kept for a certain period of time.

The best lawyers who handle trucking accident cases know that this is one piece of evidence among many that must be preserved as soon as possible. Too often when diligence is not followed, these records are discarded by trucking companies.

One of the main reasons that truckers have collisions with other vehicles is because of driver fatigue. The log books often show just how tired or overworked the person was behind the wheel at the time of the wreck.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with a personal injury attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.