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5 ways to depose a trucking company’s safety manager – Part 1

Written by Steve Gursten Posted October 2nd, 2013

Help for truck accident lawyers deposing the safety manager – focusing on accident prevention and compliance is critical in exposing unsafe truck companies

Deposition truck company safety directorMy colleagues at the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and I have collectively litigated hundreds of truck accidents and other crashes involving large commercial vehicles and buses. In my experience, the key to successfully litigating a semi-truck crash, bus accident, or any other commercial transportation accident, is to focus on the company, instead of the driver.

Let me add here since all three founding members have also presented on Road Dog Trucking Sirius XM Radio and at many trucking company and even defense seminars, this is the area where the good companies and especially the good safety directors who really do play by the rules are most enthusiastic in their support.

They, like most other professions, want to root out the bad apples.  Not only do the “rogue” trucking companies – as they often refer to them – give the good trucking companies a bad name, but they can also undermine them on pricing by taking shortcuts on safety and maintenance and training.  This gives them a competitive advantage in bidding for trips – that the good companies who play by the rules strongly resent.

For the lawyers who litigate these cases, exposing a bad trucking company is also a very effective trial theme.  It can have a powerful effect on a jury.  Trucking companies often throw their own truck drivers under the bus. They make the driver the “fall guy”  for causing a serious crash, even as they try to hide the total lack of training and supervision and enforcement programs that they’re required by federal and state law to have in place.

It’s like the homeowner who ignores the leaky pipe for years, and then blames only the pipe for bursting. The lawyers defending these trucking companies desperately want the lawyers litigating these truck crashes to ignore the responsibility the company played.  But the lawyers who represent the victims of these crashes should not let these finger-pointing motor carriers off the hook!

As a lawyer, you have the power to hold dangerous truck companies truly accountable for their bad behavior.  Almost all of these crashes are preventable, and the result of  putting profit ahead of safety.

One way you can expose the unsafe trucking companies “profit over public safety” culture is through deposing the safety manager. An effective deposition of the company’s safety manager can put the focus where it belongs: Back on the company.

Tomorrow I will discuss my 5 tips for deposing a safety manager in a trucking case.

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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