How a Washington truck crash lawsuit works

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What can a “black box” tell us about a semi crash?

When we investigate a semi crash, one of the first things we do is preserve the black box data. Preserving the “black box” An electronic control unit (ECU) is the embedded system that controls one of more of the electrical systems or subsystems in a vehicle. This system – what we think of as a “black box” –  is present in both commercial semi-trucks and passenger vehicles built in the last couple of decades. In most cases, that means preserving the Engine Control Module (ECM). The ECM contains data about truck speed and braking. Looking at the truck speed and braking, both pre-collision and at the time of impact, can give us critical information about how and why a semi crash occurred.

How a plaintiff’s lawyer can use the motor carrier Safety Director as an expert witness

The following information is an excerpt of a presentation given to the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys by plaintiff’s lawyer Kevin Coluccio. I have taken the depositions of many motor carrier Safety Directors. As I became more experienced and knowledgeable, I developed the skill of questioning defendant witnesses in such a manner as to make them experts to support the claims I was pursuing for the plaintiffs. To master this technique, a plaintiff’s lawyer must be able to detail the rules, regulations, guidelines and standards governing the safe operation of commercial semi-trucks. Asking questions One key is to ask open-ended questions seeking information and knowledge. Let the witnesses teach you and, in effect, the jury. In teaching this technique, I

Court holds trucking companies 100% responsible for Skagit Bridge collapse

Last week, the Washington Supreme Court issued a ruling in the ongoing litigation between the State and trucking companies regarding the collapse of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge in 2013. Washington Supreme Court tells trucking companies, not WSDOT, to pay for I-5 Skagit bridge collapse While Judge Steven Gonzalez’ reasoning was not completely sound and seemed to conflict with Washington State’s tort reform law enacted in 1986, the conclusion that the trucking companies responsible for the collapse are 100% responsible for the damages caused is just. After the bridge collapse, I represented Bryce, who was on his way to play hockey and was crossing the bridge as it collapsed beneath his car. Bryce struggled to get out of his sinking

The art and science of trucking: a safe following distance

Some time ago, I took the deposition of a professional truck driver and asked him to share with me his definition of a proper space cushion. In response, he said, “Space cushion – what are you talking about, something in outer space?” I thought perhaps he was just unfamiliar with the term, which I had used many times in depositions of other truckers. So I explained that a “space cushion”  is just the amount of space around the vehicle a driver needs to navigate safely, starting with a safe following distance. Could he share with me his definition of a safe following distance? The truck driver stared at me blankly. It was as though he was hearing this concept for


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