The Discovery Process and Efforts to Preserve Evidence Can Have a Dramatic impact in Georgia Semi-Truck Accident Cases
One of the key differences between semi-truck accident claims and other types of motor vehicle accident lawsuits involves the discovery process. The ability to prove liability in a tractor-trailer accident case frequently turns on discovering evidence that shows the truck was not being operated in a safe manner or that necessary maintenance or trucking regulations were disregarded. Because trucking companies are frequently involved in litigation arising out of accidents involving their big-rigs, they are prepared for litigation. The trucking industry also has a reputation for many times conveniently altering or “losing” evidence when facing the prospect of a trucking accident legal claim.
The discovery process in a trucking accident lawsuit provides an opportunity to obtain a wide range of evidence including:
- Written or electronic communications, such as emails, text messages and other correspondence between the carrier and the truck driver
- Asking questions (called interrogatories) which the trucking company and/or driver must answer truthfully under penalty of perjury
- Require production of physical evidence
- Serve a request for admissions which direct the defendant to admit that certain facts regarding a trucking accident, conduct of the driver and/or practices of the carrier are true
- Demand the production of documents which include electronic documents, graphics and written documents like driver log books, fuel receipts, crash scene photographs, driver screening policies, drug testing policies and records and the driver’s prior accident record
- Depositions of witnesses like the driver, maintenance workers, trucking company executives and others with knowledge of relevant safety, maintenance and hiring practices
- Information recorded in the semi-truck’s black box data recorder
Our Atlanta trucking accident lawyers aggressively use discovery tools to develop a strong claim for our clients. Because of the risk of evidence being manipulated, altered or destroyed, we frequently take steps prior to formal discovery to ensure that valuable evidence is not lost. We may send correspondence (referred to as a “spoliation letter”) indicating that black box data and semi-truck body damage is the subject of litigation and directing that it not be altered. This early intervention and aggressive discovery often provides evidence regarding negligent operation of the semi-truck; improper hiring, training or supervision by the trucking company; or violations of trucking safety regulations, such as anti-fatigue rules.
If you or your loved one is injured in a Georgia semi-truck accident, our experienced Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.