Jim Bordas on Trucking Accidents, Overdriving and Trucking Company Neglect
WHEELING, WV, March 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- I just finished meeting with a family whose loved one was killed as a result of a trucking accident. I have represented many families over the years who have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of trucking companies placing profits over people and people's lives.
I think back to my time as a very young lawyer when I was asked by Roger Parker to represent him in a case involving a bottling company truck that ran into the back of Roger's vehicle, seriously injuring him. Roger was a young man and the injuries he suffered prevented him from working in his chosen field and caused him a lifetime of pain, discomfort, and inability to do the things that he loved. The driver of the truck recognized that the brakes were defective. Like so many cases, the driver told his foreman about the problem with the brakes, but the foreman ignored him, the driver got in the truck and drove for a short distance, then plowed into the back of Roger's vehicle.
This was a case that I tried in Marshall County in 1985. Roger suffered significant soft tissues injuries, but no broken bones and no head injury. The jury returned a verdict of $665,000. At that time, the verdict was believed to be the largest pure soft tissue verdict in the history of the State. This continued to be the largest soft tissue verdict in West Virginia for quite some time until I later recovered over $1 million dollars on behalf of Bonnie Bonar in Ohio County.
The Parker case was followed by Lori Pludniak's case, which was tried in Belmont County, Ohio, and involved a trucking company that failed to recognize its responsibilities causing one of its drivers to drive a truck in an unsafe condition. The truck driver had driven more than his prescribed hours and was tired and was not observant because of his run down condition.
Lori, like Roger, also suffered soft tissue injuries but also had a temporomandibular joint dysfunction. She was the first diagnosed case of fibromyalgia that I was involved in. She had the good fortune to be treated by Dr. Thomas Romano, who is the leader in the field of diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia. The Belmont County, Ohio, jury returned a verdict in the sum of $650,000, which was an enormous amount of money for a jury to award in Belmont County in the mid-1980's. At that time, this was one of the largest soft tissue verdicts in the State of Ohio and the first identification to me of this awful thing called fibromyalgia.
There have been a number of other tractor trailer cases that Bordas and Bordas has been involved in. Most of these cases have settled in the millions of dollars range. In every single case, there has been corporate misconduct, with drivers often times ignoring the hours of service regulations, adverse driving conditions, and failing to report vehicle equipment problems, along with the company's failure to enforce the appropriate inspection requirements and take corrective action.
The trucking companies that put these lethal weapons on the public highways are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and both the drivers and the companies know darn good and well what their obligations and duties are under these very strict requirements, yet they fail time and time again to obey them.
As you might guess, trucking companies are required to operate their vehicles in a safe condition, and if one of its trucks is likely to cause an accident or breakdown, that vehicle must be taken off the road. Under 396.11, the trucking companies are supposed to require each of its drivers to prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated. The report shall cover a number of things, including brakes, parking, steering, lighting, tires, horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, wheels and rims, coupling devices, and emergency equipment. If there is a problem with any of these equipment items, then corrective action must be taken. Before a driver takes one of these multi-wheel trucks onto our nation's highways, they are also required to do an inspection. The driver should be satisfied, under 396.13 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, that the vehicle is in safe operating condition.
Unfortunately, these inspections are not always properly done, and because of that, these big trucks sometimes plow into unsuspecting motor vehicle drivers on I-70, I-77, I-79, and other local highways. It is a huge problem here in Ohio County because of the volume of trucks that travel from the Pennsylvania/West Virginia line through the Wheeling Tunnel going into Ohio.
My firm alone has represented over 25 families who have been hurt, or have had loved ones hurt or killed as a result of the failure of trucking companies to do routine maintenance, inspection, and follow the rules. One of the biggest problems is brake inspections and the qualification of brake mechanics. One of the cases that I personally handled was the deliberate intent trucking case involving a Marshall County family. The breadwinner of the family, with a wife and three children, went over a mountain road to his death because the trucking company failed to appropriately correct repairs that the drivers had identified, and failed to have the appropriate brake mechanics on duty and working on the trucks. This resulted in a settlement of over $6 million dollars. Although the family recovered a substantial amount of money, they will never, ever, get over the death of the very special man that died in that tragic event.
What I would like to advise people is that if you are a victim of a trucking wreck, get in touch with my firm as quickly as possible. The reason is that the trucking companies get inspectors, engineers, mechanics, accident reconstruction experts, and other people involved in trucking cases immediately following the wreck. The moment the accident occurs, if the driver is physically able, he places a call to his supervisor, who contacts a team of experts who travel to the scene of the wreck at once. The injured party is at a significant disadvantage if he does not contact an attorney who knows what he is doing and has the resources to handle these types of cases promptly. Our attorneys have a clear understanding of the ins and outs of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Rules and have experience with trucking cases.
In line with that, there was a reporter that once asked a bank president, "What is the secret of your success?" "Two words" said the bank president. "What are they?" "1. Right decisions." The question was then asked, "And how do you make right decisions?" "One word." "And what is that?" "Experience." The question was then asked, "And how do you get experience?" "Two words." "What are they?" "Wrong decisions."
This firm has sometimes over the last 25+ years made wrong decisions, but for the most part, we have made the right decisions, mostly by employing lawyers who have graduated with honors, who are well-rounded, hard-working, and morally sound. In addition to all of that, the lawyers who work here are not afraid to ask questions of one another. All that leads to the success that this firm continues to enjoy.
God bless all.
To learn more about our West Virginia trucking accident law firm, visit our website at www.bordaslaw.com.