Court Issues Evidentiary Ruling Regarding Liability in Fatal Trucking Accident Regarding Expert Testimony

In early May 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled on a products liability case surrounding a defective truck under-ride guard. According to the court’s opinion, the accident in question occurred in 2010 when a 28-year-old mother was driving near San Juan when her Jeep collided with a truck. Apparently, the front of the Jeep hit the truck from behind and “underrode” the truck’s main body. Sadly, the accident resulted in the truck slicing the woman’s head and face, which ultimately caused her death.

Truck on HighwayThe woman’s family members brought a lawsuit against the driver and municipality, claiming that the truck’s under-ride guard was defective. The plaintiff’s experts claimed that a large part of the truck was not protected by an under-ride guard and that the guard was not sufficiently designed to sustain impacts because it was not supported properly by the beams.

The experts concluded that the Jeep’s safety features were unable to perform effectively because the truck did not have appropriate under-ride guards. The experts also testified at trial that there are safer alternative guard designs for the truck in question. A verdict in favor of the plaintiff was handed down, and the defendants appealed on the basis of the jury’s damages award as well as the inclusion of the plaintiff’s expert testimony. However, the First Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision to allow the expert testimony regarding the conclusion that safer alternatives to the under-ride guard existed at the time.

Common Causes of New Mexico Trucking Accidents

New Mexico is one of several states that encounter a significant amount of trucking traffic. Many trucks use the large New Mexico highways when traveling to their final destinations on the west coast. And although many people categorize New Mexico as a dry and unpopulated state, that is certainly not the reality. This misconception can lead to truck drivers not being sufficiently prepared to travel on New Mexico roads, and the consequence of such an error in judgment can be disastrous.

Many times, trucking accidents are caused by the failure of the truck driver to inspect his vehicle before his journey, or by inexperienced or fatigued truck drivers. Although trucks are supposed to have safety guards to protect against the effects of the above circumstances, these safety precautions are not foolproof and can give way in high-impact crashes. Other times, a safety feature may be defective or improperly installed.

One common example of a safety measure that truck drivers use is under-ride guards. Under-ride accidents occur when a car or vehicle collides with a truck and ends up underneath the truck. These accidents are extremely frightening and more often than not result in death. Trucks are supposed to have guards that protect against these types of accidents. But as evidenced by the above case, these guards do not always protect against accidents because they may not be designed or installed properly. This deficit can result in terrible tragedies.

Have You Been Involved in a New Mexico Truck Accident?

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed because of a collision with a truck, you should consider contacting an attorney at the Fine Law Firm to bring a suit against the culpable and negligent party. In trucking accidents, there may be several parties that are liable for the accident, including the trucking company, the truck driver, and possibly even the manufacturer of the truck. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can help you seek compensation from all of the responsible parties. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 1-800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

The Importance of the Pretrial Stages in New Mexico Civil Legal Proceedings, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2016.

Minibus Accident in France Claims 12 Lives, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.