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Truck accident attorney tip: How to depose truckers in serious injury lawsuits

Steven Gursten of Michigan Auto Law to lead national webinar on taking depositions of truck drivers and motor carrier management

truck driver deposition, image

In over 20 years as a truck accident attorney, I’ve deposed several hundred truckers.

And I’ve heard it all, from “unexpected” early morning sun glare, to a trucker claiming explosive bouts of diarrhea (this case became a valuable published opinion for Michigan lawyers on the evidentiary threshold to claim a sudden emergency defense); to fog (ironically, the truck driver claiming fog was discharged for pot use and being stoned when he killed my client. When he later claimed conditions were too foggy to see my client’s approaching tractor trailer, the trucker wasn’t just talking about weather visibility).

Everything starts with a thorough discovery deposition of the truck driver who causes a wreck. To get to the truth and to discover all of the safety violations that have occurred, a truck accident attorney has to start at the beginning.

And that begins with the deposition of the truck driver. On May 24, I’ll be leading a 90-minute CLE webinar called, “Deposing Truck Drivers and Trucking Company Representatives in Injury Cases. The webinar, by Strafford publications, will include interactive questions and answers with some of the top truck accident lawyers in the U.S. Here’s more information and registration help.

This webinar is designed to give injury attorneys representing truck accident survivors the skills to properly depose truck drivers and trucking company management, notably the “safety directors” who are charged with making sure truckers are healthy, qualified and trained before they hit the road. It will include best practices for the following:

  • Effectively questioning deponent truckers.
  • Videotaping trucker depositions.
  • Using demonstrative exhibits.
  • Communicating with difficult truck drivers or truck company employees.
  • Objections.
  • Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding deposition notices for truck and bus company corporate representatives.

Here’s one tip from the seminar:

Look at the truck driver’s personnel file before the deposition.

Carefully review the driver personnel file, or make sure you have a qualified and experienced expert who can do it for you.  There have been a rash of medically unfit truck drivers who have caused very serious wrecks. Here’s an investigative piece by CBS Evening News in which I was interviewed.  Negligent hiring of unfit truck drivers with disqualifying medical conditions is a claim that many lawyers are missing today.

Related info:

How to nab the tired trucker in a deposition

How to depose a truck driver with a serious medical condition

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