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The importance of exploring regulatory noncompliance in truck accident cases, P.2

In our previous post, we pointed out that the trucking industry is heavily regulated. One set of truck safety regulations that has received a great deal of attention in recent years is the hours of service rules. These rules are intended to address the problem of truck driver fatigue. Although driver fatigue is not exclusively a problem among truck drivers, it is a particular concern in the trucking industry due to the long hours trucker drivers spend on the road and the pressure to maximize productivity.

The hours of service rules have increasingly come into public discussion, partly due to high profile truck accidents involving driver fatigue such as the one involving actor-comedian Tracy Morgan in 2014. Morgan’s vehicle was struck from behind by a WalMart truck operated by a driver who had been awake for 28 hours straight prior to the crash. Technically, he was in compliance with the federal hours of service rules, but he was nevertheless not in a condition to be driving. 

Using evidence of regulatory noncompliance to prove a personal injury claim

In many truck accident cases worth pursuing, there will be evidence of multiple types of legal violations at play, and it is important for plaintiffs in these cases to make good use of the whole breadth of evidence available to build the strongest possible case.

Gathering evidence of regulatory noncompliance and other violations is not always an easy matter. Accident victims are often not in possession of documentation that would demonstrate noncompliance with safety requirements, and much of this information has to be obtained from trucking companies and drivers in the initial stages of litigation. Lack of cooperation in providing that information can be an issue for plaintiffs in some cases, and it is important to use the discovery process to effectively gather the evidence necessary to build a solid claim. Success in having evidence admitted at trial can present its own challenges, as well, as can proving that violations of law contributed to causing the accident.

Work with experienced legal counsel to build a strong case

In any truck accident case, it is important to have the guidance and advocacy of an experienced attorney to ensure an accident victim not only has the evidence he or she needs to build a strong case, but also to effectively navigate the legal process in seeking fair compensation for injuries. 

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