Why Trucking Cases Are Not Big Car Wrecks

In the world of law, not all cases are created equal, and it's crucial to recognize the unique intricacies of each case to ensure maximum value. 

Michael Cowen, an experienced attorney, sheds light on the importance of treating trucking cases differently from regular car accident cases and shares valuable insights on how to navigate them effectively.

1. Recognizing the Differences:

 Cowen emphasizes that trucking cases stand apart from typical car accident cases due to their size, complexity, and the involvement of a company. These cases aren't solely about the actions of the truck driver but also involve scrutinizing the decisions and policies of the trucking company.

2. The Role of Company Decisions:

One key aspect of trucking cases is investigating the choices made by the trucking company. Did they prioritize safety, or did they take chances to save time and money? These decisions can significantly impact the outcome of a case and determine whether they are liable for the accident.

3. Special Rules for Trucking Companies:

Unlike regular auto cases that primarily rely on transportation laws and state rules of the road, trucking cases have additional regulations for companies. These include vetting drivers, providing proper training, and monitoring their conduct to ensure compliance with safety standards.

4. The Importance of Timely Action:

Cowen highlights a critical factor that often leads to lost case value in trucking cases—the preservation of data and documents. These records only need to be kept for six months, and if not preserved promptly, crucial evidence may be lost forever. Acting swiftly to preserve this evidence can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a case.

5. Digging Deep with Root Cause Analysis:

Cowen encourages lawyers to perform a root cause analysis in trucking cases. This involves asking a series of "why" questions until the underlying cause is revealed. Often, it leads to corporate decisions or shortcomings within the trucking company that contributed to the accident.

6. Making It About the Company:

The key to maximizing the value of trucking cases is to shift the focus from just the truck driver's actions to the company's involvement. By demonstrating how the company's decisions played a role in the accident, lawyers can motivate jurors to award the full value of compensation to their clients.

7. The Reward of Treating It as a Trucking Case:

Cowen's insights stress that when lawyers treat trucking cases as what they are and put in the effort to uncover company negligence, the value of these cases can skyrocket. This doesn't just mean more money for the attorneys but, more importantly, more justice and compensation for the clients who need it.

In conclusion, Michael Cowen's expertise offers a valuable lesson for legal professionals handling trucking cases—recognize their distinct nature, investigate corporate decisions, and, in doing so, secure the full value of compensation for deserving clients.


Speaker 1 (00:11):
One way that lawyers lose tons of value on their cases is by treating trucking cases just like car wreck cases. So how are trucking cases different. Well, first you've got a much bigger vehicle. Of course, they're not just bigger size-wise, they're bigger money-wise. And more importantly, there's a company there. So you're not just fighting about what the driver did or didn't do, but you're looking at what are the company decisions? What are the company policies? What choices were made at the company when they had to choose between spending time and money for safety, or taking a chance to save money or save time, even though it put the public at risk, what did they choose and do those bad choices lead inevitably to our crash or a similar crash happening? And trucking cases have rules more so than your regular auto cases. Your regular auto cases you have your transportation laws, your rules of the road for your case, for your state about what drivers need to do.

But in trucking, there's also rules for what companies need to do. They need to vet their drivers. What kind of driving record did they have before? Talk to their former employers to see what kind of drivers they were. They need to train their drivers. They need to monitor their drivers and make sure they're not driving too many hours, that they're not getting tickets and causing crashes and doing dangerous things on the road. So that's very different than a regular car wreck case. One big way that trucking cases are different and where people lose a lot of value is that data and documents and trucking only have to be kept for so long. When a driver was driving, how many hours were they driving?

When did they rest? They only have to keep those for six months. And even though they're electronic now, they set the programs to automatically delete them after six months. But if you act quickly to preserve the evidence, you can show that know week after week, one month after month, the truck driver was doing this. But if you don't act quickly, that evidence is gone and it's gone forever. And you only have the hope that that truck driver might confess. And that's not a very good odds that's gonna happen. So if you gather all this evidence, then you have to learn to dig deep and do what's called a root cause analysis, which is you keep asking, why did this happen? Why did this happen? Until you find out was it a corporate decision? So why did the truck driver rear end somebody? Well, maybe he's following too closely.

Why was the truck driver following too closely? Maybe the truck driver didn't know the rules that you're supposed to have a seven second following distance in an 18 wheeler, not like the two to four second following distance. We have an irregular passenger car. They they need to do that. But you have to dig deep until you finally almost always ends up. It's 'cause the trucking company didn't wanna spend the time and the money to train their drivers, to monitor their drivers, to hire safe drivers to begin with. And then it becomes a case about the company and not just about what this driver did. And that's what you really want every case to find out, can we make it about the company? If you can do that in your trucking cases, then you're gonna motivate jurors to give the full value to your client for what the injuries are.

When you treat your case as a trucking case and you find the rules that apply and you make it about the company, the value of your cases will skyrocket. We've had cases that other lawyers told us, oh, this case isn't even a case that we've settled for five, six, $7 million. When you treat a trucking case, like a trucking case, and you do the work and you dig to find out what the company did wrong, you will get full value on your cases. That's more money for you. But more importantly, that's more money for your clients that need it.

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