21 Feb Virginia: Car Accidents – a Lawyer’s Lawsuit
Trial is the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”), formerly American Trial Lawyers Association (“ATLA”). Its issue for February, 2014, is entitled “TRANSPORTATION,” covering a wide variety of vehicle crash cases in 5 lead articles.
The first is “SPOTTING PRODUCT ISSUES IN TRUCKING CASES”. Highlighting fuel and brake systems, rear underride guards, and conspicuity defects, Trial emphasizes that trucking accidents also may implicate product liability manufacturers. “Attorneys investigating truck crashes often concentrate on driver and trucking company negligence. But these cases might involve products liability issues as well if the accident was partially caused by a defect in one of the truck’s many components.” Id. at 14-18.
“PILOTING AN INTERNATIONAL AIRLINER CASE,” Trial’s second feature article, “illustrates the limitations the Montreal Convention places on passenger recovery in accidents involving internal flights.” The crash of Asiana Flight 1214 “reveals a new threat to the safe operation of every modern airliner worldwide: the ‘deskilling’ of the pilots”. Hence, Trial notes “[f]or years, aviation safety advocates have called for equipping airliners with aural cockpit warnings that alert a distracted crew when the aircraft’s airspeed becomes dangerous.” Id. at 20-25.
Third, “KEEP RAILROAD CROSSING CASES ON TRACK” underscores that “railroad companies have an edge when it comes to collecting evidence from crashes at railroad grade crossings.” Trial cues: “although federal regulations arguably preempt many state tort claims, they do not completely bar recovery in a railroad grade crossing collision case;” and “all locomotives that travel at speeds greater than 30 mph must be equipped with event recorders.” Id. at 26-31.
“HELICOPTER CRASHES 101,” Trial’s fourth article, reviews crash experts, inspection and documentation of the crash site, investigative information from other sources, engine and maintenance logbooks, pilot training and certification, environmental factors, crashworthiness, and potential defendants. “Prompt investigation of the crash site and knowledge about the common causes of these crashes are critical.” The article also covers common helicopter crash causes: loss of main rotor control, loss of tail rotor function, main rotor strike to fixed obstacle, component or system failure, engine failure or power loss, wire strikes, pilot error, pilot incapacitation, improper maintenance, midair collisions, avionics or instrument failures, in-flight fire or explosion, midair or structural failures, fuel starvation, exhaustion or contamination, sabotage and combat operations, weather and other environmental factors, and air traffic control errors. Id. at 32-37.
The final feature is “Look for Signals in Bicycle Cases”. Trial delineates: “While it shares some similarities with auto crash cases, bike accident litigation contains its own nuances, from juror perception of cyclists to the unique mechanics of a crash.” Specifically, “[m]any members of the public do not understand the limitations bicycles have in turning, stopping, and travel speeds and misunderstand the traffic laws that apply.” Trial observes, “Regardless of whether the helmet or other gear mitigated your client’s injuries in the crash, its use will imply that he or she is safety conscious.” Id. at 38-43.
Mr. Waterman has been a member of AAJ for over two decades. He began his law practice by handling product liability cases, and vehicle crash cases remain a substantial portion of his wrongful death and personal injury practice.
THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR REQUIRES ALL LAWYERS TO POST THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMERS ON ALL CASE-RELATED POSTS. MR. WATERMAN’S CASE RESULTS AND CLIENT TESTIMONIALS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEY DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE BY HIM.