How federal regulations may help you after a truck accident
For drivers who are involved in a vehicle accident in which the other driver may be at fault, the first line of inquiry when it comes to questions of potential liability usually centers on the driver: questions about that person's qualifications as a driver, specific acts behind the wheel, whether he or she was intoxicated, and so on. These kinds of questions apply in any kind of accident.
When the other driver's vehicle is a commercial truck, then the scope of the possible negligence inquiry must expand to include who he or she was working for, especially if the driver is an employee and not a contractor. California law allows for an employer to be found liable for any wrongful acts that its employees commit in the course of their employment.
Seeking to hold an employer of a truck driver additionally liable is one thing; demonstrating that liability can be another matter. The law will require you to present evidence of employer negligence: where might you find it?
One possible source of information can be the records that the truck company must maintain as a requirement under Federal law: specifically, the regulations imposed under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The FMCSA requires trucking companies to comply with and document many legal requirements in connection with the hiring, qualifications, training and working hours of their employees. It also requires these companies to maintain logs and other records of things like vehicle maintenance and repairs. All of these records may become subject to production and inspection in the event of lawsuits being filed against the company for trucking accidents.
If these records indicate that the company was failing to comply with its legal obligations under the FMCSA regulations, or if it was not keeping those records, then you may have available a source of evidence that you can use to support your case.
The legal term that describes the process of accessing these records is, "discovery." Your personal injury attorney will be familiar with it, and how to use it.