Ken explains why it’s a terrible misconception to believe trial attorneys dislike truck drivers
Please note: Transcript edited for clarity, brevity, and readability.
Do trial attorneys dislike truck drivers?
People ask if we dislike truck drivers. We don’t dislike truck drivers. In fact, the truck driver involved in a crash—even a crash with serious injuries or a fatality—is just as much of a victim as the families we represent. Often, dangerous trucking companies don’t care about safety. They put their truck drivers in horribly dangerous situations by requiring them to drive too many hours, using improper equipment, not training them properly. For a lot of reasons, it’s not the truck driver that we’re litigating. Really it comes down to a dangerous trucking company; our job is to hold the company accountable for the consequences of a truck crash, not necessarily the truck driver.
What are some misperceptions that people have about lawyers and truck cases?
I think there’s a couple misperceptions. One, people think, “Well, you’re just suing the truck driver,” when in fact we’re suing the trucking company for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they’re putting drivers in dangerous situations that can cause serious harm. And two, the trucking companies are required to carry insurance, so if someone on the highway is injured or killed, the insurance would cover any damages. So really, we’re suing the trucking company and the money we recover generally comes from the insurance company. We’re not taking any money out of the truck driver’s pocket.
Do you think there’s a stereotype when it comes to truck litigation?
Certain trucking companies want to talk about lawsuits not being meritorious, that there’s too many lawsuits, and that it’s causing them to lose business or lose profits, when the fact remains that a responsible, safe trucking company should have no problem being held accountable if there’s a mistake, especially if someone gets killed or paralyzed by a crash. You would think they would want to step up, do the right thing and make sure people are protected when a crash occurs where their company is responsible.
Is there a big difference between working with truck drivers vs. average drivers?
Often, we represent truck drivers because there’s more than one trailer involved, or sometimes an automobile can be the cause of the collision. But we’ve represented a lot truck drivers throughout the years and they’re a pleasure to represent. They know the federal and safety regulations that apply, so it’s great to get insights from them. They offer almost expert opinion on safe driving and truck company procedures that can really add insight. We love representing truck drivers and we’ve done it many times.
How do you determine fair compensation in a trucking case?
By definition, if a regular passenger vehicle is involved with a crash with a tractor trailer that weighs 70-80,000 pounds, the force of the collision can cause very serious injuries or, unfortunately, death. We’ve seen cases where people have traumatic brain injury where they have problems the rest of their lives, orthopedic injuries—broken bones, neck problems, back problems with permanent disability. We sue to make sure that our clients get compensated and can get back to square one. It’s often just getting reimbursed for medical bills. And that doesn’t put extra money in our client’s pocket to recoup medical bills. Then recouping things like lost income—if someone can’t work ever again, or can’t work to the same extent. We want to make sure people are made whole after a crash. If they’re going to have permanent disability or pain the rest of their life, it takes a significant amount of money to make our clients and their families whole, and balance the scale of justice.