Vital Documentary Evidence in Trucking Cases

Truck Accident Lawyer

One of the first things a Plaintiff’s attorney should do when working on a trucking accident case is to begin to obtain critical documentary evidence.  There are many reports and records that should be acquired immediately, these include:

  • The operative police report, including any supplementary notes taken from the responding officer, including any witnesses statements and photographs;
  • any special reconstruction reports or supplementary police reports
  • any ECM, SDM and/or ABS electronic data downloads from the tractor-trailer or any other motor vehicle involved in the accident;
  • any traffic citation or documentation regarding any criminal charges filed;
  • any DOT Commercial Driver Vehicle Inspection Report pursuant to 49 CFR 396.9;
  • trucking company accident report and/or report to liability or other insurer;
  • truck driver statement provided to his or her employer and/or insurer;

While a trucking company report or truck driver statement may be privileged and not

subject to discovery, you should attempt to become involved as soon as possible so the chances are maximized that these statements will be discoverable. 

Photographs and witness statements taken by the truck driver, any eyewitnesses, insurance

adjusters, or any other potential persons with discoverable information should be obtained post-haste.  Although the driver or trucking company may have to turn over several records or documents to an investigating police officer, the following records should also be obtained as soon as possible: the truck driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL); driver’s drug and alcohol test results; bill of lading, weight ticket or other shipping and cargo documents; current log book and previous 6 -12 months of log books; recent driver post-trip inspection· reports; periodic (annual) inspection reports ( 49 CFR 396.17 & Appendix G); recent inspection, repair and maintenance records including random roadside inspections (49 CFR 396.3); driver’s cell phone records.

You should also consider obtaining additional material including any GPS Monitoring Records; motor carrier’s dispatch logs or other records detailing driver travel history, trip packets for the driver, results of log audits; towing, wrecker or recovery service receipts and photographs; relevant news coverage of the subject incident, any coroner’s records in any death case (including a copy of the death certificate) and, of course, all relevant medical records, in particular those regarding the injured party’s initial hospital visit. 

While time-consuming, a thorough and well-conceived early effort to obtain all relevant documentary evidence will pay off handsomely down the road, whether in the settlement or litigation phases of the case.  Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Arlington, VA, like the Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC, as part of that process.