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What Victims of Crashes Involving Mesilla Valley Transportation Vehicles Should Know

After they're injured in a collision involving a commercial vehicle, many people make the mistake of assuming they can simply file a report of what happened with the trucking company's insurer, collect fair compensation for their losses, and move on with their lives. While it would be great if things actually worked that way, the fact is these companies view paying the victims harmed by negligent drivers as just another line-item on their budget, which means they'll fight as hard as they can against any claims, regardless of the underlying facts.

Mesilla Valley Transportation's use of on-board safety technology, and specifically cameras recording driver behavior, could affect litigation against them in unexpected ways. Award-winning Dallas personal injury attorney Michael Grossman explains.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Mesilla Valley Transportation?
  • How many collisions involving death or injury has the company been involved in?
  • How does the company's use of in-cab recorders across their fleet affect claims against them?

What is Mesilla Valley Transportation?

Founded in 1981, Mesilla Valley Transportation currently operates out of Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX, and specializes in time-sensitive service of raw materials for manufacturing across the northern and southern borders of the U.S. The roughly 1,500 semi-trucks in its fleet are operated by around the same number of drivers. The business generated about $430 million in 2017, making it the 72nd largest trucking company in the country.

The company's vehicles traveled 165 million miles in the most recent year on record, further than the distance from the Sun to Mars. Over the last two years, federal government data shows that they've been involved in 154 collisions, of which 40 have led to injuries and 5 have resulted in fatalities.

In fairness, this information does not allow us to determine fault for any of these crashes. However, given the sheer number that have occurred, it's highly likely that at least some percentage were caused by a Mesilla Valley driver's negligence.

It's also worth noting that Mesilla Valley makes extensive use of a variety of safety technologies across its fleet, from lane departure warning systems to software that monitors each truck's mechanical condition. The company's use of in-cab video monitoring to observe the driving behavior of its employees is especially noteworthy, because it can wind up leaving behind critical evidence if a crash occurs.

How Does Mesilla Valley's Use of Driver Monitoring Affect Your Case?

Video monitoring devices are increasingly common in modern vehicles, particularly in commercial trucking, where they provide trucking companies like Mesilla Valley Transportation and their insurers with objective evidence of what actually happened in a crash. Whatever costs these systems entail are usually more than offset by the legal expenses saved in crashes where their driver genuinely wasn't at fault.

However, these cameras come in a couple of varieties, each with different purposes, which each generate varying levels of controversy among drivers. One type, front-facing cameras, also known as dash cams, observe what occurs in front of the 18-wheeler, recording and preserving any collisions, as well as the 10 to 15 seconds before and after one takes place.

By contrast, in-cab or driver facing cameras are, as the name suggests, mounted in the cab of a tractor-trailer, and intended to capture any reckless behavior by a truck driver immediately preceding a wreck. This could include anything from playing a game on their cell phone to eating a sandwich.

Since they primarily serve to exonerate commercial drivers in cases where a passenger car is at fault, dash cams are relatively uncontroversial among truck drivers. This is less true of in-cab monitoring systems, to which many of them object on privacy grounds. It's not exactly clear how privacy enters into this situation, however, given that these devices only save video in the event of a collision.

While it's impossible to know for sure, I suspect that the bulk of the complaints about in-cab recording devices come from drivers who aren't always being as careful behind the wheel as they should be, and don't want that behavior to be documented. From playing games on their phone to watching adult entertainment, I've heard about too many cases of commercial truckers causing wrecks through distracting behavior to believe that all of this grousing stems from some principled commitment to privacy, rather than a fear of accountability.

It doesn't matter what events a recording system may have captured unless you're able to prevent the company from destroying it after the fact and obtain it from them for use in your case.

While they do often result in lowered insurance rates and legal fees for claims where the truck driver wasn't at fault, these in-cab cameras can also be something of a double-edged sword for companies that have them installed, as they provide evidence of a truck driver's negligence just before a collision that's almost impossible to refute.

All this having been said, it doesn't matter what events a system may have captured unless you're able to prevent the company from destroying it after the fact and obtain it from them to use in your case. And accomplishing either goal requires the help of an attorney who can file the proper legal documents to do so.

One of the first critical steps to take after any collision involving a commercial vehicle is to have an attorney send a document called a letter of spoliation to the trucking company, ordering them to preserve any evidence related to your claim, including video from any cameras installed on the tractor-trailer, under penalty of sanctions at trial.

Equally important, given that this evidence is the property of the trucking company, is to have your attorney draft a subpoena to obtain the documents needed for your case. With a judge's signature, this document can compel them to hand over the evidence needed to prove your side of the story. While they certainly aren't all that's required for success, without these crucial early steps, your case may be left at a severe disadvantage.

Put Grossman Law Offices' Record of Success to Work for You

Commercial vehicle crash litigation can involve a massive number of factors, of which in-cab recording devices are just one. For the average person without a legal background, dealing with all of those complications on your own is an enormous burden, and one they shouldn't have to take on without help.

In light of the challenges they involve, obtaining the help of a law firm with extensive experience handling commercial vehicle injury or wrongful death claims is the best way to ensure that your interests are protected. There are few that fit that description better than Grossman Law Offices. We've been successfully litigating these complex cases for almost thirty years.

Some firms might try to dazzle you with flashy marketing and legal jargon, or convince you their success is founded on secret knowledge that the average person wouldn't understand, but that's just not how we do things. We have no problem telling you how we consistently achieve outstanding results for our clients: thorough investigation and evidence-gathering, followed by a compelling presentation of that evidence to a jury. And we're always willing to answer questions about your case in plain English.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a Mesilla Valley Transportation tractor-trailer, call us at 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions.

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