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Fatal Truck Crash Results in $36.3 million Verdict

A tractor-trailer owned by Swift Transportation in April 2004 killing the driver of a Suburban when the truck driver drove 65 mph across three sets of rumble strips which were designed to warn of an approaching stop sign, and then ran the stop sign. Under Federal Regulations all truck drivers and trucking companies are required to keep a log of the number of hours the truck driver has driven to comply with the Federal Hours of Service Regulations. During the discovery phase of this case, the trucking company claimed it could not locate the driver logs .Under the rules of evidence call the adverse inference rule of evidence, this raised the inference that the driver was fatigued. Driver fatigue is the cause of many truck accidents
At trial, the truck driver did not have an explanation why he failed to slow down. The jury apparently apparently did not believe the trucking company regarding why it could not produce the driver logs, and it awarded $23.1 million in compensatory damages and $13.5 million in punitive damages.
This shows when selecting a personal injury lawyer who handles trucking accident cases, it pays to have a lawyer who is knowledgeable about trucking regualtions and asks to right interrogatories and request for production of documents to the trucking company. This discovery should always ask for the truckers logs, any downloads from the truck’s black box if it has one as well as GPS readings that the trucking company maintained. Also you should always investigate the possibility that the trucking company was negligent in hiring the driver. That is why you should always investigate the drivers past employment and driving record.
If you need an experienced trucking accident lawyer, contact Jeff Lowe at the Lowe Law Firm, 877-678-3400.