Many people have heard the wise admonition that you “never judge a book by its cover.” This truism is sage advice. Along those lines, just because some facts are readily available in your accident case, never assume that they are the only facts and, if those initial facts are unfavorable to you, never assume that your case is hopeless. Instead, get a qualified opinion from a seasoned San Mateo auto accident attorney experienced in handling these kinds of cases and doing the sort of investigations they require.
A 2017 head-on crash, and the 2021 trial it generated, are examples of the wisdom of that advice.
The drivers involved were a 64-year-old man, who was carrying his wife and his neighbor in his GMC pickup truck, and a 32-year-old man behind the wheel of his employer’s Ford pickup truck. The GMC was headed southbound and the Ford northbound when the two trucks collided head-on. The driver of the GMC died from his injuries.
The Modesto Bee reported that “witnesses told the CHP the 2002 GMC… was heading south on Terminal [Road] when it crossed into the northbound lane and struck a pickup head-on.”
Eyewitness testimony is potentially very powerful. However, eyewitness testimony that possibly bolsters the defense’s case, while potentially damaging, is not necessarily fatal to your case. With the right legal team, the right investigation, and the right proof, you possibly can show that those eyewitnesses were mistaken.
Look at the 2021 trial that arose from this head-on accident. While the defense may have used that eyewitness testimony that the newspaper report referenced, the plaintiff had the fruits of a detailed crash scene investigation, as well as an expert engineer interpreting that evidence. The engineer looked at the gouge marks in the road at the point of the collision and, from those marks, along with electronic data recorder (EDR) data from the Ford truck and the physical damage evidence obtained from both trucks, deduced that the driver of the northbound truck, and not the dead man, was the driver who crossed the centerline of the road, perhaps by as much as three feet.
The Defendant Was Also Speeding, According to EDR Data
Additionally, the data from the Ford truck’s EDR revealed that the northbound driver was traveling at 70 mph at the time of the crash. The speed limit was 55 mph. Evidence like this, in a case where each side alleges that the other was at fault, can be highly beneficial. Even if the jury finds that you were partly to blame, that proof that the other driver was speeding may establish that the defendant was (at a minimum) partly to blame and ensure that you obtain at least a partial recovery.
In the Modesto case, though, the jury was persuaded by the estate’s powerful evidence and found the other driver to be entirely at fault, awarding the man’s estate a total of $5 million.
Few auto accidents are exactly what they seem at first blush. Getting to the truth and getting a complete picture means doing a lot of “digging,” and also knowing how to “dig.” When you need to seek recovery for the harm you suffered in a vehicle crash, rely upon the skilled San Mateo vehicle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to be the effective legal advocate you deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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