My name is Stefano Portigliatti. I am the attorney responsible for the trucking and bus litigation division at Coker Law. My work focuses on tragic cases where the negligent operation of a truck or bus seriously hurt or killed someone.
We’ve all seen them drifting into our lanes, coming up way too close behind us, cutting people off, and so on. I’m sure you wonder, how can a professional driver cross into oncoming traffic and destroy the lives of precious children in a church van headed to Disney? How could a professional driver rear-end someone in stop and go traffic?
What most people, even some lawyers, don’t realize is that the action we observe on the road is usually just the tip of the iceberg in these cases. That driver’s negligence tends to be the last link in a chain of actions and omissions.
Below the surface, if you will, there are companies that hire drivers that should never be trusted behind the wheel of a bus or semi. Companies that push their drivers to work to exhaustion, knowing that it will cause them to be fatigued behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck; and companies that skimp on maintenance.
We’ve seen countless cases where simple maintenance would have saved so many lives.
- Bad brakes or bald recycled tires that don’t stop on wet roads and they end up causing a major pile up or crossing a median into oncoming traffic.
- Trucks lacking reflective tape and lamps – so they are not visible at night to drivers approaching.
- These negligent behaviors that lead up to the crash occur weeks, months, years before that final link on the chain breaks and hurts or kills someone we love.
Why is knowing all of these steps that lead to the ultimate tragedy so important? Because knowing how to uncover all the links in the chain, means that all parties responsible for the harm are brought to justice and that every insurance policy for every liable party is on the table.
Lawyers around the country consult Coker Law every day because despite the horrendous harm, multiple casualties or injuries involved in their client’s cases – the insurance policies of these trucking companies may top out at $750,000 of insurance limits.
Coker Law takes the case and begins investigating who owned the truck, who owned the trailer, who hired the driver, who repaired the brakes, who hired this cheaper trucking outfit with a terrible record… next thing you know, we’ve tapped into a larger corporation that’s out there subcontracting their responsibility in a way that’s bound to kill or seriously hurt somebody.
You cannot afford to be under-represented against these trucking companies. These transportation and insurance companies will deny fault, blame the victim, and very often hide other companies and insurance policies that could provide additional recovery in the case. They’re savvy and they see right away if they’re dealing with someone that knows the system. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you and your attorney are willing to go the distance and take the case to trial if necessary.
Very few law firms in the country can say that their lawyers are going all the way to trial as often as we are. Why is that important? Because when the insurance company knows they have a serious trial lawyer on the other side, willing to go the distance, their offers tend to be better. It costs a lot of money for a firm to take a case to trial – they have to hire expensive experts to investigate and explain to the jury the mechanics of the crash and the truck or bus. They need to walk a jury through the inner workings of the transportation industry and the factors that contributed to causing the crash. Most firms don’t have the financial strength, knowledge or experience to go the distance.
If you or a loved one, have been a victim of these negligent companies and drivers, make sure you’re asking two questions of any lawyer you talk to:
#1) Does your lawyer handle exclusively trucking and bus cases, or do they handle simple car wrecks, slip and falls, product liability, etc.? There’s no time for them to be studying the defective design of residential pipes or airbags if they don’t specialize in trucking cases.
#2) When was the last time they tried a case through verdict? Many lawyers will tell you they’re “board certified” in civil trial – but haven’t taken a case all the way through verdict in more than a year. Sure, a majority of cases do settle, and a trial is not needed, but their record will tell you whether they’re willing and able to go to trial if it becomes necessary.
In our recent e-booklet, we explore the complex layers of causation behind truck accidents – and the culprits who often get overlooked.
- How a widespread culture of carelessness in the trucking industry creates a ticking time bomb
- How drivers and trucking companies are often incentivized to place profits above safety
- How digging deeper in these cases can uncover millions of dollars in potential compensation that would otherwise get left on the table
- How to maximize your chances of a successful claim by taking swift action and conducting a thorough investigation
At Coker Law, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of truck accident victims and their families. With a nationally recognized legal team – including 13 lawyers who have been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers and Rising Stars – we also provide guidance for personal injury lawyers nationwide.
Coker Law cautions drivers to drive carefully. If you are injured by a negligent driver, speak with an experienced trucking crash attorney. You may qualify to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to your injuries.You can also reach out online or call (904) 299-0808 to speak with a member of our team.