The procedure is routine. An accident happens. The trucking company’s designated person collects the information—driver’s report, police report, maybe even a reconstruction report in the most severe cases. Sometimes the review is performed by a committee rather than a single adjudicator.
The limited information is reviewed and an opinion rendered—”preventable accident”. A letter is sent to the driver informing him of the company’s sanction. He is also told of the tripwires for future sanctions and what the sanctions will/may be.
The letter goes in the file. The next accident is reviewed, the process is repeated.
Routine. Until suit is filed and discovery propounded. The plaintiff’s document request, perhaps a canned form off the web or from a trial lawyer seminar, asks for any “internal investigations, reviews, determinations, correspondence, or any other writings with regard to ‘the accident’, including but not limited to any determinations as to whether the accident was ‘preventable’ and any sanctions, penalties, or warnings to the Defendant-driver.”
Is this information discoverable? If so, is it admissible? The answers to either or both may be crucial to your defense.
For detailed case law relating to this subject, please visit: http://cdl-law.com/files/PREVENTABILITYARTICLE.pdf