Trucking Expert Case Study: Fleet Vehicle Collision

20240328jeepIn a recent case involving a fleet vehicle collision, a Texas couple found themselves unexpectedly rear-ended in their Jeep Wrangler near Austin, Texas. The striking vehicle was operated by a construction worker driving a Chevrolet 3500 flatbed. The incident, which occurred at 10 am on a Saturday morning, grew more egregious when police arrived for the crash investigation and noted that the driver of the Chevrolet 3500 had been drinking. He was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), and remarkably, his blood alcohol level was still a staggering .20%, despite the test being administered several hours after the incident. This indicates that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been even higher.

During his deposition, the construction worker opted to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights, refusing to provide answers to the questions levied his way. He also failed to follow through with the DWI proceedings against him, which resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant.

Trucking Expert Investigation

As our Expert, James E. Lewis, began investigating the driver, he uncovered that following this crash and subsequent DWI, the driver had fabricated another driver's CDL and was operating a much larger cement mixer. The hiring counsel alerted Texas DPS to help ensure that this dangerous driver was taken off the road.

Digging deeper into the technical aspects of the crash, our Expert opined in a unique area concerning the steel bumper/front-end conversion on the Chevrolet 3500. Similar to a "Ranch Hand" bumper, this modification is intended to reinforce the truck's front end. However, it also increased the damage and concussion during the crash since this hardened assembly replaces the factory bumper – which normally combines with other body panels to create "crumple zones" to lessen impact forces. The damage sustained to the Ranch Hand was noteworthy, with the typically resilient fixture laid back across the truck's hood. Considering that many of these bumpers have survived hits with no movement at all, this indicates a very significant impact.

However, the issue here is not just about vehicular damage, but people damage. By reducing the amount of kinetic energy your vehicle can absorb, you transfer more than your share of force to the other vehicle in the crash – thereby increasing the likelihood of more severe injury to occupants of the other vehicle.

Ultimately, the case was settled in favor of the plaintiffs, with our Expert's report playing a pivotal role in their victory. This case highlights the importance of a thorough investigation and Expert insight while navigating complicated trucking collisions.

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