Episode 9: The 5 Things You Should Know When Handling Your First Trucking Case
For attorneys out there interested in the intricate world of trucking and catastrophic injury law, this episode is for you. Chrissy Hagen, Joe Caputo and Jack Zinda spill the proverbial beans on what tools they use to reveal the true cause of severe and catastrophic trucking accidents.
Sharing genuine anecdotes from their practice, the Zinda Law Group professionals set out an A-Z on trucking investigations. From the trucker’s hour of service log to the company’s hiring record, the advice is – leave no stone unturned with the help of experts and technology at your service.
Discussed in this episode:
● Why is working in this field enjoyable?
● Investigation is key
● Technology, cameras and 911 tapes
● Experts to employ
● Truckers and their patterns of behavior
● Trucker companies: role and hiring responsibility
What’s the big attraction to trucking?
Firstly, this is an area for those of you with a real thirst for knowledge. When asked why this area brings them so much enjoyment, Chrissy and Joe are in complete agreement.
“How much experience and knowledge you need to handle cases proficiently” is the biggest appeal.
Well, Chrissy says this is an area where the success of your case depends on the experts you engage to get to the bottom of who caused the crash. From reconstruction experts to perception specialists, this is a job where you really have to think outside of the box.
On the other hand, trucking law is also a huge responsibility and an area that affects the lives of most people in the USA. If handled incorrectly, these gigantic vehicles are weapons on the road.
As a result, many of their clients will have endured one of the ‘worst days of their lives’ and often have suffered a life-threatening injury or lost a family member.
So, for the Zinda Law Group attorneys, their roles are not only to hold the right people and entities responsible for the crash, but most importantly, to try and prevent it from happening again through improved safety standards and business due diligence.
Where to begin?
Investigate, investigate, investigate.
“Don’t take the crash report at face value. Talk to the investigating officer and find out what they looked at”, Jack suggests. You’ll soon realize that a report citing your client is not always as clear-cut as it may initially seem.
Upon arriving at the scene, the police only have a short period of time to judge what may or may not have happened. Since the injured individuals are often already in an ambulance, suffering from a severe injury, or otherwise unavailable to speak with the officer, the report is usually based on a very one-sided and partial story of the crash.
Number two, get a different perspective.
In this modern society, cameras are all around. From the dashcam in the police car to the security cameras in nearby stores, it is likely the crash is somewhere on tape.
Failing that, 911 records are key given those who call the emergency services are witnesses to what happened.
According to Joe, sending out a spoliation letter for a ‘laundry list’ of items like cell phone information, logbooks, and trip receipts is a must at the start of every trucking or commercial vehicle case.
Expert witnesses are critical to commercial vehicle cases, and it’s important to get them involved early in the case. Experts can help paint a picture of a trucker’s reckless behavior and, crucially, show where a trucking business has failed to uphold training and hiring responsibilities.
The main point for success is to ‘always bring it back to the company’ and demonstrate a pattern of business etiquette reflective of the crash itself.
ABOUT THE EFFECTIVE LAWYER
The Effective Lawyer teaches ambitious trial lawyers how to grow their skills and create a prosperous law firm. Using lessons learned by accomplished attorneys from around the country, we discuss lessons learned through their trials and tribulations. Our discussions cover a vast range of topics sought out by attorneys looking for advice, from depositions to how to market your law firm. In each show we cover a new topic that an ambitious attorney would want to better understand, while providing practical skills to improve their legal practice.
The show is hosted by Jack Zinda, Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Zinda Law Group. In less than 15 years, Jack and his team have grown Zinda Law Group from 3 attorneys to over 30, spanning several states and handling a variety of personal injury cases from gas explosions to truck accidents.