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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sleep Deprived Truckers


Companies often force their drivers to work shifts with little or no sleep. Risking their lives on the job.

On average, trucks serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach operated 470 times a day without the required break. Those trucks were involved in at least 189 crashes within a day of an extended period on the clock. Federal crash records do not indicate who was at fault. With some exceptions, federal rules say commercial truckers must take a 10hour break every 14 hours.

In August 2013, a Container Intermodal Transport trucker barreled into stopped traffic at 55 mph. A teenager was tragically killed, and seven people were sent to the hospital. Seven months later, a Pacific 9 Transportation driver had just finished his 45th hour on the clock in three days when he ran over and killed a woman crossing the street. A Gold Point Transportation truck was moving containers for 15 hours in one day when it crashed in Long Beach, California, injuring four.

Jose Juan Rodriguez, who drove for Morgan Southern for five years, said he sometimes worked 16-hour shifts for days at a time, a claim the company denied. He kept a bucket of ice water by his seat to splash on his face when he felt himself nodding off. More than once, he said, he found himself hallucinating, a side effect of extreme sleep deprivation. “There are some days when you can’t think right anymore,” he said. “You can’t tell if you’re driving or not. You just have to continue working.”

Recognizing a public health threat, the federal government began limiting commercial truckers’ driving hours in 1938, holding them to 60 hours a week. Decades of study led to more stringent rules as researchers concluded sleep-deprived drivers become exponentially more hazardous the longer they spend on the road.

Even so, the tools used to flag truckers who stay on the road too long haven’t changed much. Inspectors still rely heavily on paper logs maintained by the drivers themselves. The first federal mandate to install electronic log machines in commercial trucks took effect in late December, although questions remain about how quickly companies will comply.


Law enforcement officials and experts say companies are legally responsible for knowing their workers’ hours. It can be a federal crime if managers routinely encourage or pressure truckers to stay on the road past the limit. “Companies that force exhausted truck drivers to stay behind the wheel are gambling with the lives of everyone on the road,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement.

In the absence of an accurate tracking system, the USA TODAY Network used publicly available records to build a database noting each time a truck entered or exited the ports of Long Beach or Los Angeles. The data offer a rough sketch of how thousands of trucks operated each day from 2013 through 2016. They show 580,000 instances when trucks spent at least 14 hours on the road without a 10-hour break. Those would be violations if a truck was operated by just one driver.

The activity amounts to about 8.3% of port traffic but represents a substantial amount of time on the road. Assuming drivers picked up a new load each time they went in and out of a gate, those trucks moved 1.6 million shipping containers along Los Angeles area highways over four years.

If you were hurt or a loved one was severely injured or died in a trucking accident, immediate investigation and concerted legal action may be necessary to protect your right to seek maximum recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.

At Miller Weisbrod, our clients are not statistics — they are real people in need of proactive, aggressive representation to defend their rights. Our Dallas truck accident attorneys are absolutely prepared to take on even the biggest trucking companies and commercial transportation operations across the United States. For more information, contact our offices in Dallas at 214.987.0005 to schedule an appointment.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What To Do If You Are Involved In A Trucking Accident


When a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the result can be devastating. Those traveling in the passenger vehicle are likely to be seriously injured or tragically killed in the collision. In the moments after such an accident, you may not know what to do. First and most important is your health. The next steps will either help or hurt your chances of successfully filing a personal injury claim.

1. Get Medical Attention Directly After The Accident
Statistically, all impacts will result in some kind of bodily injury and/or pain. The most important thing is to get the medical attention you need. Even if you have no apparent injuries, see a doctor anyway. Some injuries take days to become physically apparent. There may be internal damage, or the adrenaline in your body prevents you from realizing your injuries until later on. A visit with a doctor will serve as documentation of your injuries if you decide to file a claim.

2. Call 911
Whether the accident is minor or serious, it is a good idea to call the police to the scene. Have the officer generate a report detailing the accident. A police report will serve as valuable evidence when you decide to file a claim against the trucking company. You can obtain a copy of the police report by calling your local police department. Keep a copy for yourself. The insurance company will also want a copy if you are filing a claim.


3. Take Pictures & Write Down Details
If you can, take photos of the accident scene. Photos of the scene will help determine who is at fault, as they will show the positions of the vehicles. Pictures also serve as proof of damages to your vehicle. Take the photos as soon as possible and before either vehicle is moved. Accident reconstruction specialists can use your photos to create a model of the accident and provide an opinion on who was at fault for the collision. Along with taking photos, gather contact information of witnesses if possible. Their account of the accident may benefit you if you make a claim.

If you are injured and need medical attention, do not stop to take photos. Get medical attention immediately.

4. Get A Lawyer
Getting a lawyer involved immediately will help preserve evidence. Lawyers will be able to secure evidence that otherwise might be lost if there is a delay. If you are injured in the accident, hire a lawyer. You may be able to obtain compensation for the following:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Special damages: which includes other monetary losses after an accident
In order to win a case like this, you will need to prove the trucking company and the driver were liable for your injuries. The trucking company that employs the driver may be held responsible through “Vicarious Liability”. Vicarious liability means that employers are responsible for accidents their employees get into while on the job.

Contact Us
If you were hurt or a loved one was severely injured or died in a trucking accident, immediate investigation and concerted legal action may be necessary to protect your right to seek maximum recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation. At Miller Weisbrod, our clients are not statistics — they are real people in need of proactive, aggressive representation to defend their rights. Our Dallas truck accident attorneys are prepared to take on even the biggest trucking companies and commercial transportation operations across the United States. For more information, contact our offices in Dallas at 214.987.0005 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Taking Effective Car Accident Photos


It's important to preserve as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident, like taking notes and photos. When you're trying to prove damages, photographs can be very effective. Photos of the accident scene and property damages can eliminate doubts and disputes raised by the other driver or his or her insurance company.

Accident scene photography can be used as solid evidence as long as it reflects accurate details and context. While pictures of damages are important, evidence of the surrounding areas is important as well.

Here are some tips for taking effective car accident photos:

1. Take general views of the accident scene:
Get an overall view of the accident scene. Take multiple photos of the scene from different angles. Don't worry about the details in these pictures.

2. Get all vehicles involved in the accident in the picture:
Make sure you get the vehicles' relative positions and different angles of their proximity to other cars.

3. Objects damaged by the accident:
Get photos of any damaged street signs, trees, guardrails, or any other stationary objects damaged by the accident.

4. Detailed views of the damaged vehicles:
Get close-ups of any broken glasses, windows, scratches, and any other damaged parts of the vehicles. Check inside the vehicle and get photos of any interior damages as well.

5. Condition of the roads and surrounding areas:
Take photos of any roadside debris, skid marks, or any other signs of crash in surrounding areas.


6. Any physical injuries you sustained:
Take photos of any injuries you sustained that are visually apparent.

Other Helpful Photos:
Traffic lights and signs:
Take photos of any traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs, and any other traffic indicators that are near the accident scene.

Conditions of the weather:
Take photos of the weather condition, such as clouds, rain, or snow. These photos can be used if the other driver, who is at fault for the accident, blames the weather for playing a role in the crash.

License plates and insurance cards:
Take photos of license plates of all vehicles involved in the accident and the other drivers' insurance cards.

People involved in the accident:
Take photos of the other driver(s), any passengers, witnesses, and police officers to avoid any confusion in identifying the people involved in the accident. However, do not take photos of injured people.


Keep in mind that safety comes before anything else. Check the condition of yourself and other people involved in the accident first. Also, be respectful of the privacy rights of others. For example, you SHOULD NOT post any of the pictures of others on social media.

Contact Miller Weisbrod
Many people do not realize how important accident scene photography is as evidence in their car accident claims. Whether you have photos of the accident scene or not, there are many ways to recover car accident damages. If you were seriously injured or a loved one was tragically killed in an auto accident and you need experienced legal advice and dedicated representation, we invite you to call our Dallas offices at 214.987.0005 or toll free at 888.987.0005.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tennessee Judge Approves $20 Million Punitive Damage Jury Verdict Against Navistar


Tennessee Judge Finds Navistar’s Conduct “SHOCKING”, “EGREGIOUS” And “REPREHENSIBLE”

JACKSON, TN - In a follow-up to the August 10, 2017 Tennessee jury’s $30.8 million verdict on behalf of a Tennessee-based trucking company defrauded by Navistar Inc. in the sale of tractor-trailers powered by the discontinued Maxxforce engine, a Tennessee judge has denied Navistar’s attempt to have him disapprove and vacate the jury’s verdict on both actual damages and punitive damages.

On December 1, Judge Roy Morgan of the 26th Judicial Court located in Jackson, Tennessee, considered multiple motions by Navistar challenging the verdict awarded to Milan Logistics Supply Chain.

The Judge specifically approved of the punitive damages award and amount. Judge Morgan stated that testimony and conduct of Navistar was “somewhat shocking”, “reprehensible” and “egregious”.

The Judge stated that the proof showed that Navistar knew before launching the trucks that they had issues with the Maxxforce engine but “took a course of action not to disclose and claimed it was just normal business practice.”

At the August trial, Jack Allen the former Chief Operating Officer of Navistar, stated that it was just “normal practice of business” not to disclose to customers considering a purchase when a company like Navistar knows its products have known defects, have serious issues with regard to pre-launch testing and are being launched with the product validation incomplete.

This testimony was cited by Milan’s lead trial attorney, Clay Miller of the Dallas law firm Miller Weisbrod, as one of the multitude of reasons the punitive damage verdict should be approved.

In addition to approving the punitive damage verdict, Judge Morgan added $1.337 million of attorneys’ fees to the award since the jury found Navistar’s fraudulent conduct violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.