I'm sorry, but I think you are going to get torn apart by a defense attorney unless you get yourself some legal help to prepare your case and some good defenses for yourself when they attack you personally.
Heres what I see, and Im going to be perfectly frank with you. You are thinking like an engineer in a lab, not a lawyer in a courtroom. As I said, I am not a lawyer, but everyone else in my family is.
You are defensive and angry too quickly. "If my mother was driving" perfect example. The blow up at other posters earlier another example. part of the JOB of cross examination is to make you angry, when you are angry, you are not thinking straight, and inconsistencies can be demonstrated in your story. Even in this written thread, there are multiple inconsistencies in your story. You CANT get angry, your case is weak enough already. The ENTIRE case is a he said/she said. ALL useful evidence comes from you, and its too detailed to be believable, even if you hadn't just woken up. If you want to convince people that you really know exactly how things turned out during the accident and why it happened, you need to remain calm, especially when grilled with no regards to your feelings.
You are constantly referencing your engineering expertise followed by your interpretation of the facts based on engineering principles. Im sorry, but this comes across as arrogant and were you to do this in the court room in the way you are doing it on this thread, the jury will not like you that much, and the attorney will take advantage of that. Especially since it does not really help you.
Find an expert to make those points for what they are worth, remain the victim. This is especially important when it comes to the automatic downshift matter. The ONLY evidence that it even happened comes from you, and its a crucial matter as to why the accident may have happened. If you pompously dictate to a jury and a courtroom what a torque lunge is, you will not do yourself any favors, and we can assume that most people will not be as technically educated as you, and will not have experienced a torque lunge in their life. Let another expert explain it, find some way to get the jury to identify with your side. Don't condescend to them, that will not help you.
Because something SHOULD work a certain way according to engineering principles, does NOT mean that it DID happen that way with regards to this specific accident. The only torque lunge evidence comes from an eyewitness account of someone who was asleep a second earlier.
With regards to the seat belt issue, your argument that he was better off without one is preposterous and should not even be mentioned. That point would be eliminated in seconds in court. the response- "and yet you lived with a seat belt, and he died." You have no effective response to this clear fact, so don't waste your time bringing it up. Whether or not the seat belt helped or didn't is irrelevant compared to the established facts of who was wearing what and how the facts appear. Instead you should make it clear that he should have been wearing his seat belt, and attack the possibility that the seat was not strong enough and the airbag deployment issue.
Don't get angry when people say he is at fault, again, it looks defensive and makes you look like someone trying to defend the memory of his friend regardless of fact. Remember, you have to PROVE that MB was negligent in design, all they have to do is create doubt in your case. Easiest way is to destroy your credibility and show him to be at fault.
safe assumptions do not equal facts in a court of law. The evidence you appear to have on the limo is, "the headlights did not nose down", and "there are no skid marks". These two facts recorded by a witness and detective only establish that those two specific things did not happen, nothing else. Also, the court will know that witness accounts are frequently inaccurate. The defense will take advantage of that and point it out with examples.
You have ONE witness stating the headlights did not nose down. This means almost nothing. You have no skid marks, this means that there are no skid marks. None of the facts equal the limo driver bracing for impact on the accelerator! You are assuming that he was looking straight ahead and being attentive to the road at the time. If you take a stand on what the limo should have been doing, based on your safe assumption, it will instantly be used against you by the defense, and applied to your OTHER safe assumptions. This thread is the first I have heard of anyone using the accelerator tactic in an accident as an actual good idea. A real safe assumption would be to assume the jury will never have heard of this, and to assume the limo driver would not have either.
What you've done with the car before performance wise, what the driver of the AMG did with the car before performance wise, what you THINK the limo driver was doing. You opinions on seatbelts, ect. All of these are not facts in relation to the case.
The passing incident is not 100% separate, even if so, it represents an established fact with multiple witnesses (you, the other driver) that the AMG was passing a car, and as you say, over a double yellow line. Does not matter if he was going 5mph, it shows he crossed the double line immediately prior to the accident. In the eyes of the court, this can be used to establish the driver may have been driving recklessly, in addition to ignoring safety by not wearing his seat belt. The case against the AMG driver being at fault is pretty strong.
4. Prepare for the absolute worst personal attack. You are getting angry that I am doubting the accuracy of your statements. Thats nothing. How will you respond when an attorney starts asking you about your personal finances, your medical bills, the fact that MB is a multi-million dollar corporation, and that a settlement might help you financially? Suppose they make the case that you are hurting for cash, can't work like you did, and missed the chance to sue your friends estate since you were in a different mental state at that time, leaving only MB to sue? It will be sickeningly sweet, they will feel for you and at the same time discredit you.
Im sure that your motives are pure and that none of that is true as far as motive, but if you think the gloves won't come off, you better wake up and smell the coffee. Establishing a case against YOU and your motives is an excellent defense. YOU are the only source of all important evidence. With your word out of the picture, there is no case at all.
Personally, I think it won't get that far, since I believe that the MBs will pass your barrier crash test. Why? The test does not recreate the accident, it recreates an FMVSS safety test, which MB has done many of.
You CANT recreate the accident, you don't know what the other car was doing, the speed of the car hitting the AMG may mean the the test should really be 70 mph at the barrier, not 30. You have no idea what the limo was doing, so even after this test passes the AMG, all you have done is waste money and time when you should be putting this tragedy behind you and moving on with your life.
1983 240D 4-speed, DD
1974 240D turbo 617 swap, W201 5-speed project
Abomination Chevy Astro, 616 turbo swap, T5 5-speed, 4.56 diff. Work van
Last edited by JBG3; 09-22-2010 at 08:46 AM.