How To Win A Tractor-Trailer Crash Case In Court

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 3.35.19 PMTruck crash cases are difficult high-stakes litigation that involve complicated liability issues and massive damage. Finding out what happened and who is responsible is the first step in filing a claim. Meticulously gathering evidence and presenting it in a way that jurors can understand are key to winning a tractor-trailer claim.

Since I’ve handled car and commercial truck crash cases for the past 36 years, This is a photo in a case I am about to file suit on where my client was seriously injured and her boyfriend was tragically killed.

I have refined investigative techniques and trial preparation to help my clients win the compensation they deserve. Here are a few things I do.

Preserve key evidence

Trucking companies often “lose” the evidence quickly. First, law enforcement clears the accident as soon as possible so traffic can move again. Then, the trucking company is likely to destroy, hide, or repair the truck unless the victim demands otherwise. Failure to act decisively means crucial evidence is lost forever.

Here are some of the steps I take to preserve the evidence:

  • Investigate the scene of the crash to gather evidence.
  • Send a preservation of evidence letter to the company.
  • Secure the truck, logbooks, electronic control module, and other evidence from inside the truck tractor.
  • Retain experts to examine the truck for evidence of improper speed, braking, evasive action, and maintenance.
  • File a lawsuit, including a restraining order if necessary.
  • Depose witnesses as soon as permissible while memories are fresh.
  • Conduct extensive discovery to obtain all evidence needed.

Investigate thoroughly

To get to the bottom of what happened requires perseverance and meticulous investigation. Steps a personal injury lawyer takes to determine who is liable for a truck crash include:

  • Consulting with safety and truck industry experts.
  • Reviewing the black box event data recorder information thoroughly.
  • Obtaining video from area businesses that might have recorded the crash.
  • Subpoenaing phone records, employee handbook, company safety manuals, training videos, and other relevant documents.

Pursue the company

The trucking company is often found liable for a tractor-trailer crash, even if it was the driver who made serious errors. To combat this, trucking companies typically try to deflect responsibility by blaming the driver. But since it hired him, trained him, and supervised him, the trucking company should not be let off the hook.

I focus on the trucking corporation liability during these trial preparations. Here are some effective steps to take:

  • Emphasize the company’s willful violation of federal and Texas regulations.
  • Depose the trucking safety director, the driver’s supervisors and corporate executives.
  • Ask the driver questions about corporate policy and working environment that may point to improper hiring, training, supervision, and retention.

Never agree to a waiver of action against the trucking corporation in exchange for an admission of liability from the negligent driver.

Go to court 

I file suit, subpoena the trucking company’s files, read the driver’s application and driving history files, take key depositions, and take the case to a jury if necessary.  When the insurance company for the trucking company knows I am ready and willing to try the case, they often pay my client a substantial amount of money and the case can be settled out of court at a mediation.

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