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Accident Investigations – Hiring the Right Expert at the Right Time

TASA ID: 16816

Investigating any accident is typically a complex endeavor in which there are numerous intrinsic processes and interrelated elements that have usually led to the accident.  Therefore, it is important that the expert investigating the accident has the training and experience to deal with that specific type of accident relating to your case.  Often, I see law firms reaching out for experts who have acronyms after their name (assumed to ensure credibility) but they do not possess the necessary background, experience or training related to the specific accident being investigated. Not all accidents are the same... construction, property or slip, trip and fall are all quite different.  The investigator has to have the experience with that accident type to be able to identify and analyze the individual elements that were or were not in place.  The investigator then must be able to piece the elements together to understand their relation to the “whole” of the accident to determine the root causes and liabilities associated with the accident. 

100% Defense Verdict in Forklift Case

Reviewed by a Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness

TASA ID: 7934

About 10:30 am on the morning of 26 October 2007, Jose Avalos was delivering slabs of granite to a local installer.  The countertops were being loaned to the installer to be displayed at an open house barbeque for customers that was to take place later that day.  Mr. Avalos brought two A frames and between four and eight slabs of granite on a 20' flatbed gooseneck trailer.
 
Upon arrival, two of the installers employees proceeded to unload the truck.  One of them drove a Hyster forklift that had a custom boom attached to the forks and had a gravity clamp (Abaco Lifter) that hung down from the end of the boom.  The lifter was at the end of the boom. The setup is shown below:

Chemical Grouting Combats Water Intrusion

TASA ID: 11934

This article was originally published in Transmission & Distribution World, www.tdworld.com, September 2016.

Typically, utilities have leaks that occur inside conduits, along cracks and at pipe penetrations. The conduit problem, for example, occurs where the conduit penetrates inside a structure such as a building foundation, a manhole or a vault. Water infiltration occurs inside the structures at the annular space between the cables and the conduit. This leakage can fill an underground vault with water, depending on the water table elevation. 

Part 2: Proximate Cause in Warnings Cases

Plaintiff’s Side

TASA ID: 4009

In many product liability cases there is something missing from an existing warning and instruction - some safety information which arguably the plaintiff did not know at the time of the accident. It may be relatively straight forward to figure out whether or not the existing warning was defective by reference to items like the ANSI Z353 Standards, signal word, color, conspicuity, language, grade level word choice, whether or not the warning adequately explains the hazard and the consequences of not heeding the warning and whether or not the warning explains what to do to avoid the hazard.  All of these are items which in general make a warning more likely to be noticed, read, understood and heeded.  That is exactly why the standards and authorities require them.  

Part 1: Proximate Cause Defense in Product Liability Warnings Cases

TASA ID: 4009

Jurors in product liability warnings cases strive to answer these two questions: 

  1. Was the warning on this product defective?
  2. Was a defect in this warning a proximate cause of this personal injury accident?

Plaintiffs do not prevail unless jurors provide a “yes” answer to both questions.  The kinds of arguments and the evidence presented for each of these questions are vastly different from each other.


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