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How to prepare for trial after an accident


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Preparation and oversharing is key when preparing for a legal trial after one of your trucks has been in an accident, said John Weston, a partner at Secrest Wardle law firm.

Weston spoke at the Fleet Safety Council’s annual conference last week in Mississauga, Ont. and outlined what carriers should do to help make their next trial involving one of their drivers that has been in an accident, a success.

“Don’ t tie your attorney’s hands,” Weston stressed. “Allow them access to your records.

Often times, Weston said, carriers will tell the attorney they will compile the list of records for them and send them over. This is a mistake, Weston said, as attorneys should be going through the records him/herself for best results.

“It’s critically important that the person who defends your claim, is the person who looks at the record,” he said.

In addition, to help bolster your reputation as a safe carrier, Weston advised that all safety training and other ongoing training should have an attendance and completion form that drivers must sign.

Often in court, Weston explained, you’ll hear a defendant say that their fleet does complete ongoing training, however, never has an documentation to back it up. This give a chance for the opposition to argue to the judge that there’s no documentation because there’s no ongoing training actually happening.

“Make drivers sign a policy manual and sing a no cell phone use while driving policy,” he added saying signature are important, viable documentation in a courtroom.

And finally, always made sure you have on person within your organization as the point person to respond to inquiries from counsel.

“It’s just administratively easier,” Weston said.


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