Truck Accidents: Left Turn Cases

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Information for lawyers in truck accident cases. Joe Fried of Fried Rogers Goldberg in Atlanta, Georgia offers insights on left-turn cases.

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Truck Accidents: Left Turn Cases

  1. 1. What  are  we  going  to  cover?  •  Big  picture    •  Defensive  Driving  and  Safe  Driving  Rules  •  Adjunct  issues  (night,  weather,  load)  •  Accident  Reconstruc?on  Issues  •  Approach  to  Driver  Depo/Examina?on  •  Approach  to  Safety  Director  Depo/Examina?on  •  Approach  to  Accident  Inves?gator/Reconstruc?onist   –  Direct  and  Cross  Deposi?on  •  What  about  compara?ve  fault?     FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  2. 2. Big  Picture  –  Kind  of  LeR  Turn  Cases  •  Intersec?on    •  Driveway/Street  Pull  Out  or  In   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  3. 3. •  Rules  of  the  Road  •  Society  is  rules-­‐based  •  The  more  conserva?ve,  the  more  rules  based  •  Jurors  want  to  know  what  rules  apply  to  case  •  Easier  for  jurors  to  find  against  a  rules  breaker  •  Also  think  Breach  of  Contract  
  4. 4. •  Rules  should  be:   –  Easy  for  jurors  to  understand   –  Hard  to  credibly  refute   –  Violated  by  defendant   –  Important  enough  to  be  significant   –  JOE’s  Rules   •  Preferably  comes  from  source  other  than  ME   •  Not  Nitpicky  (If  you  nitpick,  you  lose)   •  Fair    (if  not  fair,  jurors  will  excuse  viola?on)   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  5. 5. •  Carrier  contracts  w/Govt  to  be  allowed  to  operate   –  Agrees  to  follow  the  FMCSR  and  State  Regs  •  Carrier  requires  driver  to  sign  onto  above  contract  •  Driver   contracts  to  follow  FMCSR/law  to  get  CDL  •  Driver   contracts  to  follow  policies  of  carrier  •  Policy  manual  as  contract  •  Employee  manual  as  contract  •  Training  manuals  as  contracts  •  You  get  the  point   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  6. 6. Where  to  Find  Rules?  •  State  Statutes  and  Cases  •  Federal  and  State  Regula?ons  •  Jury  Charges   –  A  statement  of  law  read  to  jury   –  Creates  the  language  of  a  case   –  Liability,  causa?on  and  damages  –  Policy  Manuals  –  Schneider,  UPS  –  JJ  Keller  Training  Videos,  Books,  Pamphlets   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  7. 7. Focus  Today   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  8. 8. •  Driver   –  What  are  the  rules   –  Did  he  or  she  do  it  right   –  What  excuses  are  they  pu`ng  forward   –  How  can  I  use  rules  to  nail  liability,  make  case  bigger  than   crash,  add  to  my  credibility,  detract  from  their  credibility,   negate  compara?ve  fault,  etc     FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  9. 9. •  Company   –  What  are  their  rules   –  Did  they  do  it  right   –  How  is  this  case  about  COMPANY  failing  to  follow  rules   –  What  should  they  (we)  be  able  to  expect  from  them/driver?   –  What  excuses  are  they  pu`ng  forward   –  How  can  I  use  rules  to  nail  liability,  make  case  bigger  than   crash,  add  to  my  credibility,  detract  from  their  credibility,   negate  compara?ve  fault,  etc     FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  10. 10. CDL  –  A  LiNle  Background  •  Each  State  Publishes  –  95+%  content  mandated  FHA  •  Purpose  is  to  set  out  what  State  expects  from  CDL   driver  –  Trucking  101  •  Its  not  me  saying  it  –  by  govt  for  industry  •  TIP  –  Get  CDL  Manual  for:   –  State  where  Driver  resides   –  State  where  collision  occurs   –  State  where  Defendant  Company  resides   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  11. 11. GA  CDL  REVIEW  
  12. 12. INTRO  TO  SECTION  2  
  13. 13. GA  CDL  REVIEW  –  SECTION  2   DRIVING  SAFELY  •  Vehicle  Inspec?on   •  Railroad  Crossings  •  Basic  Control  of  Vehicle   •  Mountain  Driving  •  ShiRing  Gears   •  Driving  Emergencies  •  Seeing   •  An?lock  Braking  Systems  •  Communica?ng   •  Skid  Control  and  Recovery  •  Space  Management   •  Accident  Procedures  •  Seeing  Hazards   •  Fires  •  Distracted  Driving   •  Alcohol,  Drugs,  &  Driving  •  Aggressive  Driving   •  Staying  Alert  &  Fit  to  Drive  •  Night  Driving   •  Hazardous  Materials  Rules        •  Winter  Driving   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  14. 14. •  Idea  is  to  use  CDL   •  Does  Driver  agree  w/Rule?   manual  to  iden?fy   •  Does  Safety  Director  agree?   rule(s)  violated  in   •  Does  Defense  expert  agree?   case     •  Strategically  decide     –  Whether  to  show  rule   –  When  to  show  rule   •  Depo  –  early  late   •  Wait  for  trial?  
  15. 15. •  Ask  Ques?ons  to  establish:    •  Iden?fy  the  concept  as  a  rule  •  That  it  is  a  basic  rule  that  all  drivers/companies  are   supposed  to  know  and  abide  •  That  driver/company  knew  this  was  the  rule  •  Had  to  know  for  CDL  test  •  Rule  wriNen  for  drivers,  not  lawsuits  •  Fair  for  jury  to  hold  them  to  the  rule  •  RULE  VIOLATED  !  (knowingly,  willfully,  inten?onally)  
  16. 16. DRIVERS ARE TRAINED TOKNOW IT TAKES OTHERDRIVERS TIME TOPERCEIVE AND REACT –USE IT
  17. 17. Managing  Space  
  18. 18. Distracted  Driving  
  19. 19. o  Show all the things they have to do to get a license  o  Show all they have to do daily before they can drive o  INSPECTIONS  o  Show that they have to know how to do things like check the adjustment of brakes, etc., that most people do not need to know  o  Distinguish them from regular non-CDL drivers to show that it is fair to hold them to a higher standardo  CDL DRIVER = PILOT   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  20. 20. Commercial  Vehicle  Preventable   Accident  Manual   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  21. 21. Commercial  Vehicle  Preventable  Accident  Manual  
  22. 22. Commercial  Vehicle  Preventable  Accident  Manual  
  23. 23. Commercial  Vehicle  Preventable  Accident  Manual  
  24. 24. Commercial  Vehicle  Preventable  Accident  Manual  
  25. 25. CMV  Preventable  Accident  Manual  
  26. 26. Professional  Driver:  •  You  consider  yourself  to  be  a  professional    •  Professional  because  you  earn  living  on  the  road   –  It  is  a  great  privilege  to  be  allowed  to  earn  living  on  road   –  With  great  privilege,  Yoda  said  comes  great  responsibility  •  Professional  because  lot  more  training  than  US   –  Special  driving  school   –  Know  how  to  do  all  sorts  of  things  (brkes,  axles,  INSPECTION,  etc)   –  Special  tests  •  YOU  hold  self  to  professional  standard  (higher?)  •  FAIR  for  your  ER  to  hold  you  up  as  a  professional?  •  Fair  for  US  to  hild  you  to  professional  standard?  
  27. 27. Part  of  being  professional  is  being  courteous  •  Not  being  a  bully  in  how  you  drive    •  Not  parking  anywhere  you  want  to  •  Not  tailga?ng    •  Not  driving  aggressively  •  Not  trying  to  beat  lights  •  ATTITUDE    •  Insert  what  you  need  from  case  
  28. 28. •  Being  a  defensive  driver  means  never  star?ng  a   leR  turn  unless  you  KNOW  that  you  can  complete   that  turn  without  other  vehicle  ever  reaching  you     –  INSERT  CDL  MANUAL  AND  OTHER  INDUSTRY  MATERIAL   –  Without  any  other  vehicle  having  to  brake  or  take  other   evasive  ac?on   –  If  you  cant  be  certain,  you  cant  turn   –  You  cant  hold  your  breath  and  turn   –   You  cant  expect  other  drivers  to  see  you  –  misnomer   –  You  cant  expect  other  vehicles  to  avoid  you  
  29. 29. RULES  –  LEFT  TURN  -­‐  DRIVER  •  CMV  Driver  must  consider  op?ons   –  Op?on  to  go  to  controlled  leR  turn   –  Op?on  to  make  three  right  turns    •  Never  acceptable  for  CMV  driver  to  start  turn   unless  can  CLEAR  all  lanes  without   –  Other  vehicles  reaching  them   –  Other  vehicles  having  to  brake  or  take  other   evasive  ac?on  •  If  CMV  driver  is  not  SURE,  cant  go.  BeNer  safe   than  sorry.  
  30. 30. RULES  –  LEFT  TURN  -­‐  COMPANY  •  CMV  Driver  must  consider  op?ons   –  Op?on  to  go  to  controlled  leR  turn   –  Op?on  to  make  three  right  turns    •  Never  acceptable  for  CMV  driver  to  start  turn   unless  can  CLEAR  all  lanes  without   –  Other  vehicles  reaching  them   –  Other  vehicles  having  to  brake  or  take  other   evasive  ac?on  •  If  CMV  driver  is  not  SURE,  cant  go.  BeNer  safe   than  sorry.  •  TRAINING  –  WHAT  IS  YOUR  DUTY?  
  31. 31. Negate  Compara?ve  Fault  • ShiR  focus  from  what  the  Plain?ff  did  • Expect  the  unexpected  • Means driving expecting to encounter __________"• (ice, drunks, young drivers, old drivers, carelessdrivers, bad drivers, aggressive drivers, Whateveryou have in your case)"• YOU DO NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY"
  32. 32. •  LeR  Turn  Cases  are  ALWAYS  ?me  distance  cases  •  Lets  discuss  how  to  evaluate  ?me  distance  •  How  to  address  these  issues  with  police  and   experts  and  jury  
  33. 33. How  to  Win  Trucking  Cases:   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  34. 34. How  to  Win  Trucking  Cases:   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  35. 35. How  to  Win  Trucking  Cases:   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  
  36. 36. How  to  Win  Trucking  Cases:   FRIED  ROGERS  GOLDBERG  LLC                             www.thetruckingaNorneys.com  

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