Truck Injury Lawyer Blog

Truck Injury Lawyer Blog

Pubished By Law Offices of Morgan Adams

Horrific Bus Crash in Palm Springs, CA – How do you find the best Bus Accident Lawyer?

Posted in Bus Accidents, Hiring A Bus Accident Lawyer

The recent bus crash in California was horrific in nature. Entire families have been forever changed due to the loss of life (13 to date) and massive injuries suffered by the survivors (31 reported). The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) has a “Go Team” on its way. There is no question that there will be lawyers involved, the question is how do the grieving families find a good one?

In order to find a lawyer, that is capable of handling a complicated wreck like this with so many victims, you need to make sure they have at least handled bus cases previously and have an interest in bus accident law. Issues involving the trucks speed (was it slow moving?), the brakes on the bus, fatigue, drugs, tire defects, maintenance issues, and product liability all must be considered causes of the wreck until they are ruled out.

One question that must be answered: “why wasn’t the bus equipped with a forward collision avoidance system?” These systems will automatically brake the bus so the severity of these wrecks are at least lessened, if not prevented altogether. Mobileye is just one maker of these life saving bus systems.

In my experience in working on NTSB investigated cases, I found the NTSB typically didn’t fully look at the root causes of the wreck. Further NTSB had items that they are most concerned with (Top Ten List), which may assist or hinder a true root cause investigation to identify all the potential wrongdoers, not just the ones most directly involved. For example while the NTSB may assess whether a bus had forward collision avoidance technology, they typically don’t ask why it wasn’t installed on the bus or why anyone, in this day and age, would hire a bus to haul passengers without it?

So what do you look for in hiring a bus accident lawyer? Two good items to look at include:

  1. See if they are members of the the American Association of Justice (AAJ) Bus Litigation Group. These lawyers are members of a group whose sole focus is to 1) recover for victims of bus wrecks just like this and 2) prevent these crashes from happening in the future.
  2. Another sign you have the right lawyer is to find out whether they have lectured other lawyers in bus accident law. Lawyers hate having their time wasted at seminars and don’t put up with speakers who don’t know what they are talking about. If they speak at lawyer organizations on bus and truck accident cases frequently, you likely have a lawyer that will be good for a case of this type

While there are surely many lawyers that will eventually be involved in this case, as a past Chair of the AAJ Bus Litigation Group I am sure at least one family will reach out to Kate Harvey-Lee in Los Angeles. Kate Harvey-Lee is a brilliant bus accident lawyer who I have had the pleasure of listening to specifically on the the topic of bus crashes at several national seminars. She is nationally famous for Bus Accident Litigation. I suspect many lawyers, without her experience and hired by clients who didn’t do their research, will try to ride her coattails in this case. We shall see.

Remember, if you hire a jack of all trades for your lawyer you hire a master of none. Hire a lawyer that focuses on bus and truck accident cases. Do your home work.

Why Treating a Bus Wreck Case Like a Car Wreck Case is a Multi-Million Dollar Mistake

Posted in Bus Accidents, Hiring A Bus Accident Lawyer, Legal

I was honored to speak to a large roomful of lawyers, from around the nation, at the American Association for Justice’s Jazz Fest Program in New Orleans, LA. My topic, in case you hadn’t guessed, was Why Treating a Bus Wreck Case Like a Car Wreck Case is a Multi-Million Dollar Mistake. 

As in most commercial vehicle cases you want someone to work with a lawyer who has handled these cases before, and frequently. Questions about whether the bus was commercial or private bus change the law applicable to the bus! Even whether the vehicle was a bus can be litigated? Did you know that vans are frequently considered buses? Even a car, in some circumstances, can be considered a bus! Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 390.5 defines a bus as: Bus means any motor vehicle designed, constructed, and/or used for the transportation of passengers, including taxicabs. If only it were that easy or that the only definition of bus! The definition is shifting with Government, Paratransit, Private, Charter, School, For-Hire, Sight Seeing all having different standards, rules, regulations and statutes applicable! One example would be that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations don’t generally apply to school buses, but do apply to school buses used for extra curricular activities! In short this area is a hodge podge of special standards, rules and laws  and inexperienced bus lawyers can easily be surprised, and not in a happy way for their clients!

Make sure you know your lawyers experience with bus cases as opposed to car cases.

My thanks to my fellow speakers for putting on a great program!

 

When Will New Truck Drivers be Trained?

Posted in Uncategorized

Because a small number of  fly-by-night, unsafe, trucking companies refuse to train their drivers (the vast majority of trucking companies have training programs), the FMCSA finally had to pass regulations requiring ongoing training of CDL drivers. The fly-by-night trucking companies contended if drivers have a CDL that is “good enough.” The FMCSA says it isn’t. That it never has been. Not when you are driving an 80,000 pound articulating vehicle. Mistakes in big rigs kill people.

We can go through the long litany of reasons that training is required (do you have regular training in your job? Do you want a 16 year old driving a 2,000 pound car car without training? Multiply that times 40!) of safe trucking companies. The FMCSA determined the unnecessary carnage on the roads, from untrained and poorly trained CDL drivers, required at least minimum continuing training standards.

The Proposed Rule requiring training was published in the Federal Register HERE and the Final Rule HERE. The new requirements are still are awaiting clearance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 3,660 people died in large truck crashes in 2014. Thats  305 people a month that are killed, much less the thousands that are injured, in large truck crashes. IIHS states that 68% of these wrecks are fatal to passenger vehicles!

Anyone else – excluding the 305 people that will die this month – unhappy with the delay at OMB???

 

Anatomy of a Personal Injury Lawsuit Published!

Posted in Accident Help, Hiring A Truck Accident Lawyer

I am pleased that I have had a chapter published in the multi-volume set Anatomy of a Personal Injury Lawsuit, 4th Ed. 

I wrote the chapter on “Investigating the Case,” along with my good friend Joe Fried. If you don’t know what the facts are, or the facts you need to prove your client’s case, you wont get very far in a courtroom! This chapter summarizes a small part of what Joe and I have learned over the many years of epic legal battles to find “the smoking gun” for our clients.

I  was asked to contribute to the book by one of Florida’s greatest trial lawyers, John Romano. Any lawyer that looks at the “Who’s Who” list of contributing authors to this book will quickly understand why I was so honored to be asked.

Public Safety Decreased as Congress Succumbs to Trucking Lobby

Posted in Legal, Safety

As of December 4, 2015, pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, much of the information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website related to a trucking company’s safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly. This will prevent easy access to the public and to others who want to know about a company’s safety rating.

This also applies to information provided to the public through the QCMobile app.

FMCSA is working to return the website and app to operation as quickly as possible, but that will be “never” if the trucking company lobby has its way.

Now, instead of simply looking for what has been free, public safety information, you will have to pay for the records to find out how safe a trucking company is and wade through the labyrinth of regulations to do a formal request for information to the government.

The government protected the trucking companies, not the people on this one. Looks like yet another reason to hire a lawyer for your truck accident case but in this instance you shouldn’t have to.

Morgan Adams Selected as 2015 MidSouth SuperLawyer for Truck Accident Litigation

Posted in Uncategorized

I am pleased to announce that I have once again been selected to the 2015 MidSouth Super Lawyers list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than five percent of attorneys in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes. The process compares all lawyers against one another. It doesn’t matter if you are in a small firm or a big firm, a small town or a big city,  what matters is your results. Every lawyer is compared against the others in three states, on a level paying field of objective criteria, to chose the best of the best. This process is accomplished by Thomson Reuters using a patented multiphase process that includes:

• Peer nominations

• Independent research by Super Lawyers

• Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys

The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.

Morgan Adams Selected Top 100 Tennessee SuperLawyer

Posted in Hiring A Truck Accident Lawyer

I have been staying on the road for my clients and have not had a lot of time to write. However that hard work has been paying off, both for my clients and professionally. While confidentiality clauses and common sense prevent me from talking about my clients’ recoveries,  I am pleased to announce I was just selected as a Top 100 Tennessee SuperLawyer for 2014.

SuperLawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.  

The Top 100 is a listing of the Tennessee lawyers who "ranked top of the list in the . . . nomination, research and blue ribbon review process." I was one of two lawyer in Chattanooga to be selected as a Top 100 SuperLawyer.  

I have also been Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. 

I have been in Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Delaware, Alabama, and Georgia for clients. I have also given seminars in Nevada, Illinois, and Florida on various truck accident topics. 

I have promised to slow down for the holidays.

My best to all the Veterans. Semper Fidelis.

 

 

CDL Drivers Must Now Use a Certified Medical Examiner for Medical Card

Posted in Driver Problems

DOT Reminds Commercial Drivers that Physicals Must Now Be Performed by Certified Medical Examiners

 National Registry Will Improve Safety for Travelers, Health of Commercial Drivers

 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reminding interstate truck and bus drivers that beginning today, all new USDOT physicals must be performed by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

“Safety is our highest priority and it is vital that every commercial truck and bus driver be qualified, alert, and focused when they are behind the wheel,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “Medical examiners equipped with a thorough understanding of DOT fitness standards will be able to ensure that commercial drivers meet the health requirements necessary to operate on our highways and roads, thereby strengthening safety for every traveler.”

The new program, which was required by federal law and addresses four National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, sets baseline training and testing standards for medical professionals who perform commercial driver physicals and for tracking of driver medical certificates. 

Today, approximately 22,000 medical professionals have completed the coursework and testing and are listed on the National Registry and another 27,000 have begun the certification process.  Current medical certificates held by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders will continue to be valid until the expiration date that is shown on the card.  Only then will the driver need to seek a certified medical examiner to perform their new examination.

“We have certified thousands of health professionals to conduct driver exams – with more being added every day,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The online database is easily searchable so drivers can schedule their medical certification exam with a qualified healthcare professional wherever they might be – coast to coast, including Hawaii and Alaska.”

A USDOT medical exam looks at a range of conditions to assess a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision, and hearing.

All interstate commercial truck and bus drivers must pass a USDOT medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain their CDL, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Medical examiners on the National Registry will also be required to maintain and demonstrate competence through periodic training and recertification testing and those that fail to maintain federal standards will be removed.

FMCSA developed the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners program as part of the agency’s commitment to enhancing the medical oversight of interstate drivers, and preventing commercial vehicle-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities.  To learn more, visit http://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov.

 

National Registry of Certified DOT Medical Examiners Goes into Effect May 21, 2014

Posted in Sleep Apnea

In 2012 a final rule was published in the Federal Register requiring DOT medical examiners to be certified, and complete minimum education, on the medical standards required for CMV drivers. The rule goes into effect two years after the Final rule was published, in this case the new rule will go into effect May 21, 2014. It is about time!

I have handled a number of cases where the medical provider clearly didn’t know what they were doing and provided a medical card to an unsafe, unqualified driver. A trucking company could require use of one of these certified examiners now, but in my experience they don’t. Unsafe CMV drivers remain on our roads.

I anticipate LOADS of CMV drivers will be trying to get a 2 year medical card from their "favorite" medical provider on May 20, 2014. Since they wont have to re-certify for two years, don’t expect safer roads until at least May 21, 2016!

You can learn more HERE.

For the dangers of, and prevalence of, sleep apnea see my prior blog HERE