Whether you are a trucking company with 2 power units or 600 tractor-trailers, chances are, if you are in business long enough, one of your drivers will be involved in a catastrophic accident. When that happens, you need to already have a plan in place setting forth how you will respond.
After 30 years of representing trucking companies, I have narrowed it down to 8 things that you need to gather within hours after being notified of the catastrophic accident.
Here is the list.
1. Driver's Logs and Supporting Documents. With the advent of electronic logs, this is easier than ever.
2. Repair Records. Plaintiff's attorneys love to be able to tell juries that a trucking company put crappy equipment out on the road. Don't be one of those companies.
3. Maintenance Records. Again, Plaintiff's attorneys salivate at the opportunity to portray your trucking company as one who does not properly maintain its equipment and, as a result, endangers another in public.
4. Bills of Lading. We need to know where the driver was coming from, where he or she was going, and what he or she was carrying.
5. All Electronic Data. There are dozens of separate computers on the average late model Class 8 tractor. All of them contain valuable data. Get it while it's hot. And don't forget any positioning data and dash cam videos.
6. DQ File. Because having a qualified driver on the road is pretty darn important.
7. Personnel File. Every document you have on that driver needs to be secured immediately.
8. Safety and Training Documents. Because if you cannot document the safety training you gave your driver, if it's not in writing, if it's not dated, and if it's not signed, IT NEVER HAPPENED.
Eight boxes to check. Do it right and do it quickly and you will save yourself headaches down the road. Failing to plan today for tomorrow's accident? Well that's just catastrophic