This is the next post in our series on the handling of Hartford, Connecticut accident cases which involve commercial vehicles. Our last article explained why it may take time to settle a commercial motor vehicle accident case. It is important that a victim take the time to ascertain the damages before submitting a demand letter to the insurance carrier. Accepting a “quick” settlement, on the other hand, can result in the victim not receiving the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled. It is, therefore, crucial that you discuss your situation with an experienced injury attorney. In this article, we will discuss establishing the defendants’ liability in such cases. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Connecticut accident victims can use the discovery process to gain evidence for their case
Accidents which involve commercial vehicles are inherently complex due to the fact that they involve multiple defendants. These defendants can include the driver, the owner of the vehicle (typically a business), and other potential third parties. While employers will be liable for the negligence of their employees, there may also be additional causes of action against the company which owned the vehicle. These causes of action can include negligent hiring and supervision of the employee and more. In order to bring these additional claims at trial, one must obtain evidence of the actual negligence. This is done through a process known as discovery. This process allows for obtaining sworn testimony, documents, and records, and can also be used to require the defendants to provide written answers to written questions known as interrogatories.
The use of discovery to establish liability is best explained by way of example. Suppose a restaurant hires a delivery driver without performing a background check. Unknown to the company, the driver has a prior conviction for reckless driving and, while he currently holds a valid license, his right to drive had previously been suspended. The restaurant also does not perform a drug test. The driver, while in the scope of his employment, causes an accident and is found to have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the wreck. The victim’s lawyer could subpoena the driver’s employment file. They could also depose the owner of the restaurant and establish that the business’ normal practices do not include screening employees. This evidence can then be presented at trial to show that that company was willfully negligent in its hiring and supervision of the driver. While the outcome of any case will always depend on the specifics of the situation, the example illustrates how discovery can be used to establish liability.
Discovery can be highly complicated in cases which involve commercial vehicles
The discovery process can be highly complicated as there are several rules which must be followed. It can become even more complex, however, when commercial entities are involved. This is due to the fact that such cases can involve several defendants and each may have different insurance carriers. Also, different causes of action will likely be brought against different defendants. Retaining an attorney who is experienced in such matters will help to ensure that the case proceeds correctly and that the acquisition of necessary evidence does not “slip through the cracks.”
If you or a family member have been injured in a commercial car accident then contact our office today to speak with a Hartford accident lawyer. Our firm has been serving the community for decades and we take pride in the level of service which we offer. We will stay in regular communication with you and will work to ensure that you know what to expect as the case moves forward. Contact us online or by telephone today. We also serve the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, West and East Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.