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Commercial Driver’s Negligence Causes Rear-End Collision and Spinal Injuries

One January afternoon on the bustling streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, a driver in a commercial pickup truck approached a busy intersection, en route to a delivery. The driver wasn’t speeding; in fact, she was traveling well below the flow of traffic. Nevertheless, she completely ignored a stop sign and made a left turn into the center “suicide” lane of a major thoroughfare. Still at a crawl, the inattentive driver merged into traffic, directly in front of an oncoming SUV. However, her rate of speed was so slow that the SUV driver needed to slam on his brakes and swerve to avoid her. Unfortunately, the quick maneuvering wasn’t enough to prevent a collision, and the SUV rear-ended the commercial pickup. The collision caused the SUV driver permanent spine damage that required multiple surgeries.

Because the rear drivers in rear-end collisions are usually at fault, the man in the SUV needed to prove liability and seek legal action against the negligent commercial driver. Luckily, he had a dashcam and knew exactly who to call. A former employee at the law firm, Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen, he contacted partner Brett Carter shortly after the crash. Brett got to work and reviewed the footage along with data from the commercial pickup’s GPS. Using these two pieces of information, Brett began examining how the accident transpired. The information from the findings revealed that the commercial driver failed to stop at the stop sign, setting the stage for the traffic incident. However, the case was far from open-and-shut.

Unsurprisingly, the Defense argued that Brett’s client caused the crash. Consequently, Brett needed to prove that his client was put into a position in which he couldn’t avoid the collision. Thus, he hired several experts to help him develop a presentation that validated his client’s case. The team included a veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, engineers, and accident reconstructionists.

Finally, Brett consulted with DK Global for a visual demonstrative. The animation helped Brett and his legal team better understand the case because they could see it from an additional perspective — specifically, what happened during the 30 seconds leading up to the collision.

The video opened with a 3D rendering of the commercial driver clearly ignoring the stop sign as it turned left into the center turn lane of a busy Vegas boulevard. Then, the animation displayed the pickup cutting sharply from the center lane into the first lane of traffic. However, the commercial pickup failed to accelerate to match the flow of the passing vehicles. Meanwhile, the Plaintiff’s SUV approached from behind. The huge difference in speed, coupled with how quickly the pickup merged, made it impossible for the Plaintiff to stop or veer out of the way.

Next, an alternative view showed that the Defendant failed to use her turn signal as she continued to drive onto the busy road directly into the path of traffic. Then, the collision was recreated to demonstrate how the Plaintiff swerved left to avoid impact. Last, the video highlighted the Defendant’s speed analytics. It was clear from the animation that the commercial vehicle driver was negligent and at fault for the crash.

Brett used his findings in his cross-examination of the Defense’s experts and got them to admit that their client didn’t stop at the stop sign. The Defense also agreed with the prosecution that had she stopped, the accident would not have occurred. Ultimately, Brett unraveled the Defense’s talking points and reinforced his own experts’ opinions. The case settled confidentially in favor of Brett’s client.

Brett Carter is a personal injury attorney and partner at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen and has been practicing law for 27 years. He took his fascination with medicine to now represent clients with spinal injuries, head injuries, loss of limbs, disfigurement, and other disabilities. Brett has been named one of Las Vegas’ Top Lawyers, a Top 10 National Trial Lawyer in Trucking, a Top 25 Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyer, and has earned numerous other accolades for his work. Brett is also a published author and speaker. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Governors for Citizens for Justice.

"The demonstrative, in our case, really helped us understand the case better than I think we otherwise would have. And then through understanding, comes the ability to then strategize."
Brett Carter - Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen
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