Last week I went to Chicago for the American Association for Justice Interstate Truck Accident Litigation Group seminar. As president of the group, I helped organize the event, which was a great success with nearly 100 lawyers who handle truck accident cases coming together from all over the country. But the primary reason I counted the program a success is because it reminded the truck accident lawyers just how important our jobs are.
From talking with many of the attorneys, one message that came across loud and clear is just how many trucking companies will hurt others and allow others to be hurt if there is no punishment for their negligence.
I heard story after story about real people who have been catastrophically injured or killed by trucking companies that knowingly let unfit, alcoholic truck drivers operate lethal trucks. These trucking companies failed to complete even the most basic safety maintenance and didn’t check into drivers’ past employment to see if they caused other trucking accidents. These trucking companies also allowed drivers to drive way over regulated hours. Keep in mind that sleep-deprived truck drivers have the same reaction times and judgment as drivers impaired by alcohol.
Another theme that emerged when hearing one real-life horror story after another, was that sometimes lawyers must bring lawsuits to obtain justice for people personally injured or wrongfully killed in trucking accidents, because it’s only the threat of litigation that will force some trucking companies to do the right thing.
Bad Trucking and Insurance Companies Skirting Responsibility for Truck Accidents
There are many good trucking companies, and many good drivers who take safety very seriously. I have helped many of these people throughout the years when they are hurt in serious Michigan truck accidents.
On the other hand, there are many people who continue to put profits over safety and will do nothing to reform unless they are forced. Often, reform is only the result of being served with a lawsuit.
Even when a lawsuit is served, the imbalance of power is still great. There are many examples of powerful insurance company lawyers destroying evidence to skirt responsibility for serious truck accidents. Meanwhile, these powerful insurance companies are spending millions of dollars from their clients’ insurance premiums on propaganda wars, in efforts to dismantle the civil justice system and avoid future responsibility.
The lawyers of the Interstate Truck Litigation Group are continuing to fight this fight and force bad trucking companies to do the right thing, with dreams of making the future better — and safer.
Truck accident lawyers are not in this fight alone, and the seminar was an important reminder of that. We can give people a voice and make those who knowingly harm others take responsibility now.
Interstate Truck Accident Litigation Group Seminar Details
On October 3, there was a rapid-fire presentation including the following topics:
* Finding Insurance in Truck Accident Cases, Ken Shigley, Atlanta GA
* Electronic Data Devices in Truck Accidents, Steve Gorney, Leawood, KS
* Truck Driver Fatigue, Jeff Burns, Kansas City, MO
* Space Management on and Around Trucks, Robert Sachs, Philadelphia, PA
* Discovery in Trucking Accident Cases, Marion Munley, Scranton PA
* On Board Fleet Computers and Uses, David Huber, Chicago, IL
* Admissibility of Failure to Comply with Drug and Alcohol Testing, Brad Bradshaw, Springfield MO
* Statutory and Vicarious Liability in Truck Accident Cases, Dean Gresham, Dallas TX
* Rollovers – Keeping the Shiny Side Up and the Tire Side Down, Morgan Adams, Chattanooga, TN
* What to do After a Truck Collision, Dan Munley, Scranton PA
* Building the Negligent Hiring Case, Susan Estes, Little Rock, AR
* Spoilation as Defense Strategy, Robert Collins, Houston TX
* Truckers Get Hurt Too, Lewis Laska, Nashville, TN
In addition, several of the top trucking experts from around the United States discussed issues such as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the trucking company safety director, electronic control module (ECM) downloads, accident reconstruction in heavy vehicle ECM downloads, the engineer and mechanical engineer team, biomechanist and accident reconstruction, conspicuity and human factors, and economics.
We had jury consultants Richard Jensen, Patricia Kuehn, and Mike Rodgers help members with real cases.
On Oct. 4, Rick Friedman, author of “Rules of the Road and Polarizing the Case,” spoke for several hours in the morning. In the afternoon, the members had private meetings with the top trucking experts to workshop their own cases.
The seminar wrapped up Oct. 5 with a roundtable discussion, where participants discussed some of the best ideas from the seminar and had one last chance to exchange tactics and strategies.