The legal standard of negligence involves proving a duty of care, a violation of that duty and a causation of injury. Commercial trucking companies are required to keep many records that could help establish this in court. That includes maintenance records for the vehicles as well as records of drug and alcohol abuse by drivers.
Under federal law, positive drug tests and tests that indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or greater must be retained for five years, while negative test results need to be stored for one year. Government agencies such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may have records on the truck, driver and company. Records can be obtained by an attorney through the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
It is critical to document as much as possible from the moment the accident occurs. Law enforcement reports can be crucial, and you also can take your own photographs and record your own statement for record-keeping purposes. Surveillance cameras near the crash site also could provide useful evidence.