When working up a serious truck accident case, the experienced truck accident attorney starts with a complete background check on the truck driver that you believed caused the accident. Nothing you find will be admissible against the driver. Having an awful driving record is generally not admissible in plaintiff’s case-in-chief against the driver. But such information may very well be admissible against the trucking company in a negligent hiring/training/retention/entrustment case.
There is one other way to get bad, prior conduct from the defendant truck driver into evidence: let him (usually him) lie about it. A lot of truck drivers I have deposed don’t come prepared to tell the entire truth, and although the case is about someone they killed or seriously hurt, they assume the plaintiff’s lawyer has not done their homework and they can fudge history a little bit. This can make a mountain out of a molehill.
Another place you find the truck driver failing to tell the truth is during his criminal trial. You can sometimes find outrageously good nuggets in the transcript when the truck driver was doing anything he could to avoid a conviction. If you have clear lies under oath, the jury will assume – probably correctly – that anything the truck driver says at trial may be a lie.
I have successfully handled a lot of truck accident cases, often referrals from Maryland car accident lawyers who understand that the issues at play in commercial trucking accident lawsuits are very different from the run-of-the-mill car crash cases.