Judge Throws Out Trucking Case Based on Dash Cam Video

Attorney David Helmey of The Fuentes Firm, P.C. successfully defended a motor carrier and its driver in a personal injury lawsuit in federal court in Houston, Texas and obtained a take-nothing dismissal of all claims without conducting any written discovery or taking any depositions. The total cost of defense to the client and their insurance carrier was less than $5,000 from referral through entry of the judgment. 

The Plaintiff sued a Tennessee-based trucking company claiming $150,000 in damages and alleging that the defendant truck driver had swerved out of his lane and into the side of the Plaintiff’s car. Fortunately, the company had installed dash cameras in its trucks prior to the accident. The dash camera video showed the Plaintiff changing lanes directly into the front corner of the tractor while the truck driver maintained his lane and did nothing to cause the accident. 

Screenshot from video showing Plaintiff merging into the front of the tractor. 

A copy of the Court’s Order dismissing the case is available here

This case is a great example of one of the benefits of installing dash cameras in your fleet. Personal injury defendants face a very high bar for getting cases thrown out and it is very rare that a judge will dismiss all claims based on a finding of no negligenceAs discussed in the Order linked above, judges will likely not dismiss a case if any reasonable juror could find that the defendant truck driver acted negligently in any way.  

With no video, the primary evidence is the statements of both drivers and an affidavit from the Plaintiff saying he changed lanes into me would prevent this case from being thrown out every time. With video demonstrating to the judge “without a doubt” that the plaintiff’s allegations are untruewe were able to get this case dismissed before discovery even started. 

Even when cases are not dismissed early, dash camera video of an incident can significantly decrease the cost of defense. When defendants have video evidence showing conclusively what happened in the accident, this can reduce the number of disputed issues and narrow the scope of what the plaintiff’s attorney is allowed to explore in discovery. 

For more information on the benefits of dash cams, you can see our prior post on the topic here