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Attorney Steve Gursten on truck driver depositions legal webinar

May 22, 2017 by Steven M. Gursten

Steven Gursten among truck accident legal experts in national webinar on effective truck driver depositions

truck driver depositions

A truck accident is very different from an auto accident — and not simply because of the vehicle size and weight differences. Rather, both the truck driver and the trucking company must follow certain mandatory safety requirements that are meant to protect the public — many of which do not apply to drivers of normal passenger cars. In truck accident litigation, it’s up to the truck accident lawyer to know these mandatory safety rules and be able to show how both the truck driver and the motor carrier have violated these safety regulations. In short, a successful truck accident attorney must know how to “speak the language” of trucking — and that begins by understanding these different rules that truck drivers are required by law to follow.

Truck driver depositions are key to many of these cases, and this Wednesday I’ll be speaking about the most effective deposition questions and techniques for the truck accident case for a national legal webinar.

The 90-minute CLE webinar, “Deposing Truck Drivers and Trucking Company Representatives in Injury Cases,” takes place May 24 at 1 p.m. EST. It’s produced by Strafford Publications and will include interactive questions and answers with me and other top truck accident lawyers in the U.S.

It’ll give injury attorneys representing truck accident survivors and their families the skills to properly lead truck driver depositions, as well as deposing trucking company management — notably the “safety directors” who are charged with making sure truckers are healthy, qualified and trained before they hit the road. The issues to be covered will include:

  • 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

Keys to effective truck driver depositions

I’ve been litigating these cases for over 20 years — helping people and families whose lives have been devastated by a terrible truck crash. And over the course of these 20 years and over some 300 truck accident cases, I’ve taken several hundred truck driver depositions.

I’ve learned that it’s not just the 2-3 seconds of the wreck itself that matters, but what caused the truck accident in the first place. If the attorney focuses on only the 2-3 seconds of the wreck itself, the event becomes smaller in time, and easier to forgive. Most important of all, the attorney then misses all of the choices that were made that led up the crash. It’s this backlinking of showing all of these other violations of safety regulations of the motor carrier and the driver that makes this wreck not only foreseeable, but almost certain to occur. Your client was the one who was in the wrong place and time, but these repeated failures and choices meant it was only a matter of time until a wreck occurred and some innocent person was injured or killed.

Some additional tips for lawyers who handle these cases:

Review carefully the truck driver’s personnel file before the deposition — not at the deposition.

Carefully review the driver personnel file before the truck driver’s deposition, or make sure you have a qualified and experienced truck expert who can do it for you.

There have been hundreds of medically unfit truck drivers who should not be put behind the wheel of these 80,000-pound “moving brick walls” (as one driver described his truck to me in a deposition) that have caused very serious truck wrecks in the last several years. I discussed this last year in an investigative piece by CBS Evening News on dangerous truckers.

Negligent hiring and negligent entrustment of medically disqualified truck drivers with serious medical and health conditions is a legal claim that many inexperienced personal injury lawyers are missing today.

To register or learn more about the webinar, visit here.

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