In an increasing number of accidents involving commercial truck and bus companies, the first individuals to arrive on the scene are not police or medical professionals; they are the legal counsel for the at-fault company. Oftentimes, these lawyers will conduct a private investigation of the scene well before police have the chance to do so. They may take photos, talk to witnesses, or gather critical evidence—all while the facts of the accident are just beginning to come to light.
Such was the case in a fatal 2010 bus crash involving Megabus Northeast LLC. According to a recent article in the Legal Intelligencer, emergency management counsel for Megabus, Theodore Schaer of Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer, Toddy, P.C., was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of the accident in which four passengers were killed after a bus driver made a wrong turn off a highway and slammed into a low railroad bridge. Upon arrival and in the days that followed, Schaer interviewed the at-fault driver regarding the crash. The information revealed in these interviews has proven to be quite controversial, as the attorneys for Megabus have been accused of concealing important facts relating to the cause of the accident.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned case is hardly an exception. All too often, attorneys for bus and trucking companies infiltrate the scene of an accident before the authorities can conduct a proper investigation. To be sure, these attorneys are there for one reason and one reason only; to limit the liability of the bus or trucking company and minimize your ability to recover. With that goal in mind, any questions these attorneys will ask are likely designed to hurt the injured victim’s case and bolster their client’s—that is, the bus or trucking company.
Defense attorneys know which facts can make a case, and which facts can break them. It is their job to collect and capture those facts for their client’s advantage. Yes, this is disturbing. However, it is how big transportation companies and their lawyers conduct business.