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A trucking company in New Jersey is facing litigation, along with its employee driver, following a fatal crash in October 2013 that resulted in the death of a 27-year-old mother on Route 206.fueltanker1

According to news reports of the case, the truck driver, who was 21-years-old at the time, was operating a tanker truck when state police officials say he lost control. The tanker crossed to the other side of the road and flipped, at which point it was struck by decedent’s vehicle, and others.

Decedent, an emergency medical services volunteer and mother to a 7-year-old girl, was driving a Honda Civic at the time. She was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition and later died of her injuries.

The trucking industry is unique in the way it structures its operations. In many cases, the truck and trailer are separately owned, bound by a contract, which is sometimes arranged by a third party. Often, drivers are either independent contractors or farmed out through a driver agency. truckaccident

This kind of fragmentation has led to a great deal of difficulty in terms of securing liability judgments. In fact, appellate court justices in the 2010 case of Amerigas Propane, LC v. Landstar Ranger Inc. referred to these kind of arrangements as insulating the industry in a way that creates “often judgment-proof truck lessor operators.”

These protections were further bolstered with the passage of the Graves Amendment by federal legislators. The intent of the Graves Amendment was to protect companies in which the business model involved renting vehicles to third party customers. Think Avis, Hertz, Budget Rental – basically, the companies that rent cars to the public.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently remanded a truck accident case for re-trial, after the plaintiff presented a strong case for how elements of a crash report, previously deemed inadmissible, were inappropriately entered into evidence and improperly prejudiced him. trucker

The trial court jury entered a verdict apportioning no fault to either party, essentially creating a situation wherein the plaintiff received no compensation for his serious and life-long injuries.

Our Naples truck accident lawyers understand the primary concern of the trial court in refusing to admit the police crash report in the first place was that it amounted to hearsay because the officer was unavailable to testify at trial.

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