Jun 1, 2005 12:00 PM
LEGAL repercussions that can follow tank truck accidents is an event managers should be prepared for, according to information presented at the National Tank Truck Carriers Safety Council Seminar March 29-31 in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Prepare for the worst,” was the advice from Tamara Cook of the law firm of Renaud, Cook, Drury. She was joined in the discussions by West Grimes, Collision Engineering Associates; Steve Niswander, Groendyke Transport; and Mariann Butch, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Arnoff.
A well-organized and well-trained incident response team that can act immediately pays off when an accident occurs, Cook said. The team can control the accident scene, preserve evidence, and interact with law enforcement officials.
“Take charge of your equipment if you have an accident,” advised Niswander.
Drivers should not take photographs at the scene of the accident, pay for moving violation tickets, or talk to the media.
Grimes pointed out that all evidence at the accident scene should be preserved so that the circumstances can be reconstructed. A third-party investigator should be on the scene quickly to research the accident and take photographs.
Documentation is important. Information should include scene measurements (such as skid marks), copies of law enforcement reports, injuries, weather, roadway geometry, damage to all vehicles, and vehicle performance.
“We have to deal with the good and the bad,” Grimes said. “We have to know more about the case than anyone else.”
After all evidence is compiled, it should be carefully stored so that none of it is lost, he added. None of it should ever be destroyed.
Butch noted that success in the courtroom lies in being prepared before an incident occurs. That means that shipper contracts should protect the carrier as well as the shipper. “I encourage you to look at the contract and look at the control aspects,” she added.
She also advised carriers to avoid hold-harmless agreements.
One of the most important obligations for the carrier is to tell its attorney the truth and provide all information so that the attorney isn't misled, and surprises don't occur in the courtroom.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus