Alberta Truck Accident Lawyer

This video features Steve Grover, a Personal Injury attorney based in Alberta, Canada.

Preserving Evidence After a Semi-Truck Crash

Video Transcript:

Steve Grover: 

Trucking accidents aren't car accidents, they're more complicated, and the best interest is to get a law firm that knows the area, has expertise in the area.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So if you or someone you know is injured in a crash with a big rig or commercial vehicle, do you know how to get help? Do you know what your rights are? We're gonna find out right now on this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest is Calgary lawyer, Steve Grover. I want to remind you, right up the front, if you wanna ask Steve questions of your own, it's easy, just go to askthelawyers.com. Click the button at the top that says, "Ask a lawyer." That'll walk you right through the very simple and free process, or you can call the phone number you'll see on the screen during our conversation. Steve it's good to see again, thank you for helping us out and answering our questions.

Steve Grover: 

Hi Rob, nice to see you again, thank you for having me today.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Talk about truck accidents, truck crashes. How big of a problem is this? Is this something that you've seen a lot of in your practice?

Steve Grover: 

Obviously, truckers are essential part of our society, if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't get our food, we wouldn't get the cars we buy. But unfortunately, there are a lot of big rig accidents that occur in Canada and Alberta. So they are a big problem and unfortunately, when there's a truck in an accident involved and a vehicle, it's obviously the vehicle that takes the brunt of the impact and they lead to catastrophic injuries.

Rob Rosenthal: 

It would seem to me when it comes to gathering evidence these days, a lot of passenger vehicles have dash cams, I would imagine even more commercial vehicles do. Is that what you're seeing?

Steve Grover: 

Yeah. Obviously dash cam is part of society now for $300, $400, I would recommend anyone get a dash camera in their vehicle. Obviously commercial vehicles like big rigs or any kind of commercial vehicle like a cargo van owned by a commercial company, like a furniture company, or a grocery company, they should have dash cams on the front of them recording what's going on in front of the truck, but also there's a lot of dash cameras that are inside the vehicle, monitoring what the driver himself or herself is doing, so we do have a recording of what happened just before the accident, which is great evidence to have when you have a trucking accident so you can determine liability right away of actually what happened and also what was the trucker's acts before the accident, by recording on the inside of the truck too.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What happens to that video? Is that the sort of thing that automatically they'll save and use it even if it doesn't help their case or is that something you need a lawyer quickly to make sure that video doesn't disappear?

Steve Grover: 

Ultimately, it should be preserved. It should be part of business practice of a company that owns a big rig that that evidence should be preserved, not only for the accident, but also for the records of the trucking company to see what happened inside the vehicle at the time of impact, what happened outside the vehicle at the time of impact, so they can improve trucker safety. But sometimes evidence does disappear and unfortunately, when it does disappear, it doesn't help us develop the case, but it's also something that we need to act as lawyers right away, is to preserve all the evidence regarding a trucking accident, so we have that evidence for the case.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Let's talk about what happens, say after or immediately after a crash, likely with injuries, what happens on the trucking side of that? What does the driver do, what do the companies usually do? I've heard it's like response teams and that sort of thing. Tell me about that.

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, you are correct, Rob. Trucking companies, they've got big insurance policies, they have big reputations to upkeep. Unfortunately, when an accident occurs involving someone that's injured, the trucker will call dispatch right away. I know of some trucking companies where they have attorneys on staff right away or lawyers on staff, and they usually... They sometimes get flown to the scene. The lawyers will, not only the response team, including their investigators going out, taking measurements, taking photos, getting statements from witnesses right away, so they have all the hard evidence of what happened in the crash before someone who's injured in the accident calls a lawyer. So, there are response teams that act 24/7 and they get out to a scene right away.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what is their goal, Steve? What is their goal on the scene? They're not there to help make sure the injured person gets... Has evidence. Tell me what their goal is.

Steve Grover: 

Well, their goal is obviously to serve the trucking company, to see how the crash occurred, to get all the evidence they can to build their own file. So if there is a lawsuit arising from the accident, they have all the information to pass on to their attorney, their attorney's... You know, the lawyer's law firm, so they can defend the claim. Obviously they're there to build their file, to punch holes in the plaintiff's case of the injured party, and obviously their... Sometimes their evidence... They serve disappears, but mostly they're there to build their file and see what their exposure is on the claim.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You mentioned evidence disappearing. Is that something you've seen happen in your experience, and is that even more of a reason why the injured person needs to get somebody on their side as soon as possible because the longer they wait, the more likely it is that happens?

Steve Grover 

Yeah, I recommend people to get a lawyer right away. Obviously, evidence does disappear, witnesses do disappear. Witnesses leave the jurisdiction, they may move from Calgary to Toronto, you may not be able to find that witness that could expose the trucking company to liability. Obviously, you should retain a lawyer that has experience in trucking accidents. That lawyer that you retain, that law firm will send out a preservation letter right away to the trucking company, obviously via registered mail to make sure the trucking company gets it. If there's no response, the law firm will go out and make an application in court in Alberta for a preservation order, so a judge can sign that order and then we can get our experts out there with their own investigators to inspect the truck and the semi truck or trailers and make sure that we have our evidence to build the case against the trucking company.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You mentioned earlier that sometimes these trucking companies are big corporations, obviously many of them have big insurance companies behind them. A single person who's maybe catastrophically injured in the crash, maybe thinking, "I can't go up against those guys," how do they help level the playing field? Is it getting someone like you on their side?

Steve Grover: 

Yeah, unfortunately, there are big companies out there, Walmart is one of them. There's big trucking across North America and Canada. To level the playing field, as you say, obviously the normal person out there who's just having a job and supporting their family, they can't afford and they don't have the time and resources to go up against a big trucking company, I recommend that person who's injured to search out, do the research, see what kind of law firm does trucking accidents, like our own firm. Trucking accidents aren't car accidents, they're more complicated, and the best interest is to get a law firm that knows the area, has expertise in the area. Not only that, our firm keeps up with seminars, we constantly are going to seminars to better educate ourselves on different aspects that are changing the trucking industry all the time. It is a fluid industry, there's always changes coming along. So I recommend if you wanna level the playing field, hire a firm that has the expertise, the time and the resources to go up against big corporations like trucking companies.

Rob Rosenthal: 

How important is it, Steve, to hire somebody who's prepared if need be, to go all the way to court, and not just somebody who's looking to settle as quickly as they can?

Steve Grover: 

Well, yeah, and I think that's an important factor. There's a saying through Sun Tzu, The Art of War, the book. I don't know if you're familiar with Sun Tzu, but, "If you want peace, prepare for war." Any file that comes in our office, our first thing is looking to set this matter down for trial. The other insurance company, the trucking company, they have the time, they have the resources, they have lawyers that are specialized in this area. There's a lot of the lawyers that I know, especially in the US, they have their trucking license. They understand what it is to drive a big rig, and if you take on a file like this, you have to prepare it like you're going to go to trial so the other side knows that, "Hey, we're serious about the claim. The plaintiff is serious about getting compensation for what he or she is out and put in the same position as they were before the accident," if the matter goes to trial, I guess it goes to trial, but a lot of these cases do settle out of the court, but the trucking company and the insurance company wants to make sure that the lawyer and the law firm are ready to go to trial on the file.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Lots of great information, Steve. Thank you for making some time to answer our questions, I appreciate it.

Steve Grover: 

Thank you for your time, Rob, have a great day.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Calgary lawyer Steve Grover. I remind you, if you'd like to ask Steve questions about your situation, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up at the top that says "Ask a Lawyer." That will walk you through the very simple process, it doesn't cost you anything to ask your questions. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers.

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