When dealing with accidents involving semi-tractor trailers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set forth rules and regulations which were put in place to insure that commercial truck and bus drivers comply with certain safety regulations. A review of the practices of the operator of the tractor/trailer as it relates to these Federal regulations can be very important in demonstrating that the truck driver acted in a negligent fashion on the day in question. It is also important to note that there are certain instructions that will be provided to a jury as it relates to the obligations of a truck driver on the roads in the State of Indiana. The Court will instruct the jury that, “every motor vehicle driver must use the care and ordinary care that a person would use under the same or similar circumstances. Drivers who do not use reasonable care are negligent.” The Court will also instruct as to the obligations to maintain a proper lookout while driving your vehicle which is that, “every driver must maintain a proper lookout to see or hear what should be seen or heard through the exercise of reasonable care. A person is negligent if they do not maintain a proper lookout”. Finally, the Court will give an instruction on the violation of statutory duty. This is important in trucking case since many states require truck drivers to pass the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) skills test. The Indiana Secretary of State publishes a Commercial Driver’s License Study Guide which is a great source of information and questions for a defendant truck driver. Some of the areas include: night driving; stopping distance; speed control; as well as dealing with and expectation of hazards. Although the Indiana Code does not indicated that the CDL Manual’s content contains enforceable rules or regulations, the violation of which constitutes evidence of negligence, the CDL Manual can be used for purposes of impeachment with inquiry to the content of the manual and specific guidelines contained therein.
Finally, Attorney Gladish will employ the services of experts in trucking accident cases. Human Factor experts are important relating to expectation; perception/reaction; distraction; and other areas. Trucking experts are important to discuss and review the actions of the driver in relation to the facts and circumstances of the case. Accident Reconstructionist expert are necessary to present to the jury how an accident occurred based upon physical evidence at the scene including: skid marks, speed estimates, gouges in the pavement, and damage to the vehicles. Employing computer technology and laser measuring devices to map the scene, a computer generated scene can demonstrate to a jury the Plaintiff’s version of how the accident occurred based upon expert testimony. A jury can view the scene through digital diagrams presented in a power point format which will highlight key segments of the accident to show how the defendant was at fault for causing the underlying accident, thereby causing injuries and damages to the plaintiff. Attorney Gladish takes great pride in ensuring that a client is up-to-date as to all steps taken by him to present the claim relating to both negligence as well as the damages sustained by a client.