In 18-wheeler or semi-truck accident cases, some of the most important witnesses lurk behind the scenes at the trucking company. You should know some of these major players, as their evidence and testimony can be critical in potentially securing additional much-needed compensation for your injuries by proving fault by the trucking company. That often involves proving the company turned a blind eye to safety by the way it operated the company and handled its employees, especially the truck drivers.
Trucking companies can be notoriously hard to deal with when they hurt someone. That extends to the maze of officers they often create, who handle various responsibilities, making it harder to figure out who’s responsible for what. That’s where a sharp, experienced attorney can help you by figuring out who has the answers you need.
Below are important trucking company executives, who may have different names in your case or even do more than one of these jobs. The titles below reflect the basic responsibilities we need to know about in most cases.
The Safety Director
This officer basically oversees safety training of company truckers and company compliance with federal trucking regulations. This evidence can be vital to qualifying your case for punitive damages by showing the crash was caused by violations of federal safety regulations. The safety director can be a valuable witness who can potentially provide:
- Key admissions the company or trucker—or both—was at fault in the crash.
- The trucker’s driving logs to prove he didn’t exceed federal maximum driving limitations. That includes documents to verify those logs.
- The company safety manual, which can provide powerful evidence that the company, the trucker, or both, violated its own policies in causing the crash. This can also lead to punitive damages.
- Evidence of monthly safety meetings, allowing an evaluation of the importance of safety to the company.
- Evidence produced about your crash by an “accident review committee,” showing how the company responded and whether it found fault with itself and/or its trucker.
This officer handles the hiring and firing of truckers. Their evidence can include:
- The all-important driver qualification file, revealing whether the trucker was qualified under federal law to drive in the first place.
- Any disciplinary problems with the trucker.
- Prior crashes, including careless or reckless driving by the trucker. This should also include the company’s response, which could prove the company knew the trucker was a menace but chose to put a ticking time bomb on the road anyway. That can also be important evidence for potential punitive damages.
- Training records to show if the company trained its truckers properly and whether it invested the time and money to help its drivers keep the road safe.
Maintenance Supervisor/Chief Mechanic
This department should hold vital records including:
- Vehicle inspection reports required by federal law to confirm the semi-truck was fit to drive on the day of the accident.
- Repair records to determine if the wreck was potentially caused by an ignored or improper repair.
The Trucker’s Supervisor
These witnesses can provide direct evidence of the quality and ability of the driver. They can also testify how they dealt with prior driving mistakes, including other crashes. The supervisor should also know both the trucker’s and the company’s response to these.
These employees are often at the home office and relay messages between the trucking company and the truckers. A major part of the “brain center” of day-to-day operations, these witnesses can have vital information surrounding the immediate situation before the crash. Evidence from them can include:
- Because they are in constant contact with drivers, they may have taped conversations from the trucker in the cab that could reveal extremely important information. They might have an explanation for the crash, such as the trucker was in a hurry, speeding, distracted, or sleepy.
- They can explain how the trucker and company responded right after the crash occurred. That can include whether they had any regard for you as an injured victim, or just went to work immediately to cover their tracks.
- They may provide evidence the company pressured drivers to get loads delivered fast, encouraging speeding or dangerous driving.
Don’t Take Them on Alone
Trucking companies don’t voluntarily give away any information, especially to injured victims. To get the information, you’ve got to know how to ask for it. Even then, it can be a real struggle to get it. Often, the worse you’re hurt, the harder they fight you.
Don’t put unneeded, unjustified strain and frustration on yourself when you can hire an experienced tractor-trailer accident attorney. To get answers to your questions and slice through all of the confusion, call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.
You can also read our FREE REPORT on crash cases, which includes a chapter on tractor-trailer accidents.
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