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Truck Crash Expert Witness:
"Passenger in Car Dies When Oversize Truck Load Strikes Bridge"

A Trucking Accident Case Example

Trucking Safety Expert Witness / Trucking Accident Expert Witness Articles

By Kerry Nelson

A collision that had occurred in Texas involved two 18 wheelers and a passenger car occupied by two individuals. One of the semi's was pulling a 'low boy' trailer (a trailer that is specifically made with a drop deck design to accommodate equipment such as bulldozers, road graders, front loaders, etc.). The low boy that was loaded with construction equipment of over width and over height dimensions traveling down the highway approaching a low railroad trestle overpass. The overpass was announced by cautionary highway signs and flashing yellow lights. In addition there was a height sensor which further warned approaching truck drivers with over height loads.

Trucking Accident Expert: Low Boy Trailer

Oversize Truck Load Expert: Ovesize Load on a Low Boy Trailer

The second semi was also approaching the overpass behind the first semi. The second semi was being passed by a passenger vehicle. As soon as the passenger vehicle passed the second truck, the truck driver moved over into the left lane right behind the passenger vehicle to pass the much slower truck ahead. This placed the second semi very close to the passenger car with both traveling at highway speeds. Although the second truck driver noticed the flashing yellow caution lights triggered by the first truck with the oversize load, the yellow caution signs signifying a low overpass ahead, and the truck with the oversized load up ahead, the driver made the decision to pass anyway.

The chain of events that occurred next were disastrous. The over-height equipment on the first truck's trailer hit the overpass. The equipment then came off the trailer and hit the passing passenger vehicle and the second truck. The driver of the car applied the brakes and was then rear ended by the second truck. The impact from the second truck killed the passenger in the car and the other truck driver.

The attorney for the plaintiff called Evidence Solutions, Inc., and wanted our expertise to review the facts of the case and determine what violations, if any, were committed by the parties involved.As our team of experts began their review, multiple violations were discovered. Not only were violations found against the actual driving of the commercial vehicles against the State traffic laws, but also there were numerous violations against the federal and state regulations concerning trucking safety and industry standards relating to each motor carrier and their drivers pertaining to commercial vehicle operations.

The defense in this case took the necessary depositions of all the experts in this matter, failed to settle, and the case ultimately went to trial.

During trial testimony, our truck accident expert explained to the jury the importance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and how those regulations control the trucking industry and its operations. The expert also explained: the training, recommendations, and knowledge level that are required by trucking companies and their drivers. In this case, both truck drivers were in violation of the regulations, recommended industry standards, and safe driving practices. These standards of care are separate from the traffic laws that also applied to each of the drivers. By educating the jury of such standards and how they apply, it provided the jury with additional information concerning the safety standards in the trucking industry. These facts helped the jury to reach a plaintiff's verdict.

As a result of the expertise and work performed by Evidence Solutions, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Ultimately the jury awarded the Plaintiff $3,000,000.

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