If there is one overall message that I want to convey through this blog, it is that tractor trailer accidents are NOT just like a garden-variety automobile accident case. They are very different.
As a result, trucking cases need to be handled differently by the injured person's lawyer. One area of a trucking case that is vastly different is the area of discovery. Lawyers who read this post know exactly what discovery is, but not everyone who may be reading this is a personal injury lawyer. "Discovery" is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit, during which an injured person can request and obtain documents and other evidence. Written questions (so-called "interrogatories") which a party may be required to answer, are one of the forms of discovery.
Below, you will find several sample interrogatories that can be considered for sending to a truck driver who caused an accident. This list is by no means exhaustive.
1. Please state your name, address, date and place of birth, driver’s license number, and social security number.
2. How many commercial driving licenses do you possess?
3. What endorsements, if any, do you have to your commercial driver’s license(s)? (For example, double/triple trailers endorsements; passenger endorsement; tank vehicle endorsement; hazardous materials endorsement).
4. List all other addresses at which you have resided during the past ten years and the dates at each location.
5. Please list all of your occupations or jobs and your employers’ names and addresses, the dates of employment, the general nature of your duties with each employment, your wage or salary at the time each job ended, and reasons for termination during the last ten years, starting with your present employer.
6. Have you ever received an out of service order?
7. Identify the owner of the vehicle you were operating during the collision, and if the collision was job related, please state whether you were engaged in your business, occupation or performing your job duties at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint.
8. Describe the commercial motor vehicle you were driving at the time of the collision.
9. Please state whether you or anyone on your behalf prepared a written report of such incident referred to in the complaint for your employer and, if so, state the date of such report and the names, addresses and representative capacities of all persons presently having possession of the original and copies of such report.
10. Have you ever been convicted, plead guilty or no contest to, or forfeited bond as to any of the following offenses:
(a) a felony involving the use of a commercial motor vehicle;
(b) leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial vehicle;
(c) driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol where your blood alcohol concentration was 0.04 percent or more, or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, or driving under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by state law;
(d) refusing to undergo such testing as is required by any state or jurisdiction; or
(e) driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance?
11. Did you consume any alcoholic beverage of any type or any sedative, tranquilizer, or other drug, medicine or pill during the forty-eight (48) hours immediately preceding the incident referred to in the Complaint? If so, please state:
(a) The nature, amount and type of item consumed.
(b) The amount of time over which consumed.
(c) The names and accurate addresses of any and all persons who have any knowledge as to your consumption of these items.
12. List all the crimes of any nature, including minor traffic offenses, of which you have pled guilty, no contest, been convicted, or forfeited bond, give dates and offenses, including the sentence imposed, the court (including city, county and state).
13. Has the company for which you drive provided you with a copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?
14. Have you entered or been committed to any institution, either public or private, for the treatment or observation of mental conditions, alcoholism, narcotic addiction, or disorder of any kind? If so, state:
(a) The name and address of such institution.
(b) The length of your stay and the dates thereof.
(c) The purpose or reason for your entry into such institution.
(d) The name and address of the doctor who treated you for such condition.
15. Have you ever had a license to operate a motor vehicle suspended or revoked? If so, state:
(a) When and where it was suspended or revoked.
(b) The period of such suspension or revocation.
(c) The reasons for such suspension or revocation.
(d) Whether such suspension or revocation was lifted.
16. Were you suffering from any partial or complete physical or mental disability, impairment, limitation, or restriction at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint? If so, with respect to each of such disabilities, etc., state:
(a) The nature of such disability, impairment, etc.
(b) The names, addresses and expertise of the physician or other medical practitioner who advised you that you were suffering from such disability, impairment, etc.
17. Were you the sole owner of the motor vehicle which you were operating at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint? If not, state:
(a) The names, addresses, and relationship to you of all persons or entities having an ownership interest in such vehicle at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint.
(b) Whether you were operating the motor vehicle at the time and place of the incident referred to in the complaint with the knowledge of any of those persons or entities listed by you in answer to the preceding Interrogatory Number 15(a) and if so, state the names of each of such persons or entities.
(c) Whether you were operating the motor vehicle at the time and place of the incident referred to in the complaint with the permission of any of those persons or entities listed by you in answer to Interrogatory Number 15(a) herein and, if so, state the names of each of such persons or entities and the date or dates on which such permission was granted.
(d) If there is any claim made that there was any limitation of permission upon your use or operation of the motor vehicle involved in the incident referred to in the complaint, state the facts upon which such claim is founded together with the names and addresses of all persons having any information with respect to such claim.
18. State the purpose of the motor vehicle trip you were on at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint.
19. State your time and point of departure as well as your exact destination, including names and address.
20. State the time and place of all stops and departures between the commencement of the trip and the time of the incident referred to in the complaint.
21. Describe with particularity exactly what occurred in the five minutes prior to the accident/incident which is the subject of the above action, what occurred during the accident/incident, and what occurred during the ten minutes after the accident/incident, including anything said by or to you, or by or to any party, witness, police officer, EMS, etc.
22. Were there any obstructions to your view immediately before or at the time of the incident referred to in the complaint? If so, describe the nature and location of each of such obstructions.
23. For each passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident/incident, please state name, address, relationship to you, length of relationship and injuries sustained by each.
24. Indicate whether defendant contends the vehicle was operated or maintained in a reasonably safe manner and state the legal and factual basis for that contention.
25. State how many hours you have been on duty in the last 24 hours, and in the last 7 days.
26. State the number of hours you had been driving in the 24 hours, 48 hours, and 7 days immediately leading up to the collision.
27. Set forth your exact route, stop to stop, for the entire 7 day period leading up to the accident, including dates, times and locations.
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