Stalled Commercial Truck Causes Major Accident

This case involves a car accident on a major highway with three different parties. The third party defendant was a company with a driver who was driving on the highway. While on the road, his truck hit a squirrel and stalled out. The car behind the truck’s driver, which belonged to the plaintiff, veered off to the side and avoided a collision with the third party defendant’s truck. The car behind him, which belonged to the defendant, was unable to avoid the plaintiff and hit him, causing injuries. The third party defendant’s driver claimed that he is unable to identify which truck he was driving at that time. This prevented the plaintiff from being able to collect information about the vehicle and its maintenance history. The third party defendant was a company that transports goods for a retail store. The driver for the third party defendant claimed that no truck had the stalling issue before or since this incident.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How could the maintenance issues with the commercial vehicle be discovered?

Expert Witness Response E-000398

Expert-ID: E-000398

A small animal will not cause the engine to stall out. The maintenance records are important, as they will reflect a good or bad pattern. If no records, there probably was no maintenance. Given the problem that was reported, however, a direct examination would be the best way to discover any problems with the truck. I have extensive training in this field, serving as a teacher in automotive maintenance, with numerous publications on the subject.

Expert Witness Response E-000415

I can definitely review this case, and a few questions would help direct the search. Does the company have a DOT number? If so, the records should be easily accessible. Also, the FMCSR standards would apply to them. Is it a commercial truck weighing more than 26,001 pounds? If so, the driver would need to have his CDL, and if he has his CDL, he should’ve/would’ve known what to do. Based on my experience of responding to and investigating in excess of 1,200 CMV crashes, and expert witness experiences, there is likely a liable party(s). In addition to more than twenty years of experience responding to and/or investigating truck wrecks, I spent several years behind the wheel as an eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer driver.


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