If you have recently been involved in a serious Iowa semi-truck accident, or lost someone you love in a semi collision, you may be wondering if the truck driver who hit you was qualified enough to be driving. After all, aren’t truck drivers supposed to be professionals? How could this crash ever have happened in the first place?
An Iowa trucking accident attorney can look into your case and see if there was evidence of negligence, either on the side of the trucking company or the driver themselves. Here are two main things they are looking for:
The Semi-Truck Driver Never Should Have Been Hired
It is up to the trucking companies to do thorough background checks on any applicant they are looking to hire. It is a big responsibility to drive an 80,000 pound semi. Any potential truck driver should be properly vetted to make sure their driving record and previous experience is up to standard.
Unfortunately, some employers will cut corners and hire drivers that shouldn’t be on the road. Good drivers can be expensive. The companies continue to hire drivers that are cheaper, not qualified or have bad records because they need someone to drive their trucks. This negligence can lead to Iowa semi-truck accidents because the wrong people are driving heavy loads on our roads.
Any of the following should be red flags for an employer looking to hire a truck driver:
- Speeding tickets and/or other hits to their driving record
- Failed drug or alcohol tests
- Any medical conditions that could affect their performance while driving
- Previous trucking accidents
If a trucking accident lawyer suspects that the driver was negligently hired, they can do research into that driver’s background. This research can help build the case against the driver and the trucking company who hired them.
Why hire an attorney that specializes in Iowa semi-truck accidents? There are some documents, like the driver’s personnel file, that cannot be accessed until you have filed a lawsuit. If you have questions about how this works, you should contact a personal injury attorney for more information.
Truck Driving Laws Were Not Followed
Driving a semi-truck is not like driving any other vehicle. That is why strict laws and regulations are in place to keep drivers responsible for both themselves and their vehicles.
These regulations include driving time limits. Truck drivers are required by law to rest after driving for a certain number of hours. These hours are recorded in a logbook. Some drivers refer to these logbooks as “comic books” because they can be easily falsified. Not only is this illegal, but it is incredibly hazardous to other drivers on the road.
Fatigue is a real danger in semi-truck accidents; the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) blames driver fatigue as a probable cause in 20-40% of tractor-trailer crashes. If the truck driver has falsified records in order to drive more hours than is legal, and someone was injured or killed because of these actions, that driver will face serious consequences.
Evidence of the Truck Accident Needs to be Preserved
An experienced trucking attorney knows not to trust the driver’s logbook. It is usually necessary to gather GPS tracking records, emails, gas receipts, and other documents to verify the driver’s story. Analyzing these documents can show whether the truck driver violated any rules or regulations that led to the accident.
These logbooks are required to be kept for only six months after the accident. That is why it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney can send a retention of evidence letter to the trucking company, the trucking insurance company, and the driver. This will make sure no evidence is destroyed while your claim is being investigated. If you do not ask an attorney to do this within six months of your accident, it’s possible vital evidence that supports your case could be lost.
A semi-truck accident lawyer can look into your accident claim and determine how exactly the truck driver was at fault. If you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to investigate your Iowa semi-truck accident, please call our office at 1-319-774-1542.