Skip to main content

Effect of failure to submit to DOT required post accident screening on subsequent civil case.

Midland, TX |

If an eighteen - wheeler crashed into my client's truck ( totaling it ) and caused him injuries ( persistent pain due to bulging / herniated disc ) and the driver failed to submit to the post accident drug / alcohol screening required by the DOT : 1 . ) Would that be grounds to award exemplary damages ? 2 . ) Without taking into account possible punitive , what is your ballpark estimate on pain and suffering damages that I can expect / should go for based on a bulged disc and persistent pain that has continued for almost a year after the accident ? The MRI on his back shows no other conditions other than bulged / herniated disc . Thanks !

+ Read More

Attorney answers 9

Best Answer
Posted

What are the past medical expenses? What future treatment is being recommended at what cost? Was there lost income? Who is the injured person and how has the injury affected his/her quality of life to this point and how will it affect it in the future? You should gather all of this information and, as suggested, consider associating with or referring to an experienced Texas PI attorney.

Good luck.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

You get best answer because you put the most thought into answering the question, and I appreciate that. His medicals aren't particularly high, probably like $10-15k, doc recommends physical therapy, there was lost income but not much there because the guy makes like $10/hr....long term effects are difficult to quantify monetarily, but you know that. And yes, as I said before, I'd love to bring on a local big-dog to help me with this, but I don't think the damages are going to be big enough to be worth it to anyone unless there's some punitives. The only reason I'm doing it is to help out a buddy.

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

S. David Rosenthal Esquire

Posted

Ok, gotcha. If he still has symptoms, you may want to consider getting an evaluation for a pain management or physical medicine doctor. Many primary care physicians will order an MRI, refer to PT and unless the client is potentially surgical, not offer any other treatment. Based on the information provided, you probably want to demand something in the $70-90k range and see what they offer. Good luck.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

Understood, and thanks!

Posted

You really need to hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in trucking accidents. Please do not handle this on your own. You will not be nearly as successful resolving it as you would with a lawyers' help.

Posted

You refer to your "client." Are you a lawyer? If so, you should team up with an experienced lawyer who knows the answer to these questions. It is OK to collaborate with an experienced lawyer and you will learn what you need to for next time.

If you are not a lawyer your "client" needs to get a lawyer, and you need to consult a lawyer to see if you are practicing law without a license, which is a criminal offense.

This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

I am an attorney, but my practice is 95% oil and gas work. While it would be nice to team up with an experienced attorney on this one, my "client" is also my pal, and I'm doing this for him on a 20% contingency...so not much to go around for another firm, especially a good one. Plus, even an experienced attorney is going to be giving nothing more than a more educated guess, than my guess as to pain and suffering damages... As for the DOT question, I've had an experienced attorney answer that question, but have not been able to find the case law behind it. I understand this site is somewhat of a marketing deal, and that it doesn't help you all that much to help out another attorney (rather than prospective client) but common man, everyone lawyer has to do their first PI case before they become experienced. -JD

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

BTW, sorry for the type-o's...was sent from iPhone.

Richard Kurt Arbuckle

Richard Kurt Arbuckle

Posted

I could not begin to guess what a ball park would be based on the information you have given here, and you'd have to write much more than you can here. Does the disk impinge? How old is the client? Any pre-existing condition (not necessarily a bad thing, but need to know)? What treatment has been given? Has the client worked? What kind of work? When was the last time he went to a doctor? Is the treating doctor defense oriented? and on from there. In a conservative county, they may not award much at all for pain and suffering; maybe 50% of specials. Do you know what specials includes? I am not trying to be an ass. But consider whether your friend is still going to be your friend if things don't go well. There is likely at least one subrogation interest, and if that is not handled well it could either cost your client money or make you liable for the amount of the interest. This is not simple stuff. Contrary to popular belief, we personal injury lawyers actually do a lot of work for our fees. I would love to have you join our ranks, but don't do the first one alone.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

I appreciate you taking it a bit further Mr. Arbuckle, and do not believe you're being an ass. I'm still waiting to get the MRI and other med recs from the doc, so I'm somewhat in the dark myself. I understand all the questions you have...and believe it or not I have a pretty good grip on what specials include...and I'd be in a real conservative county, so its disappointing to hear the 50% of specials on the pain and suffering...I was hoping for closer to 2-3 x specials. He out of pocketed all of the expenses so I'm not worried about subrogation. No pre-existing injuries, 25 year old male, physical therapy and pain meds have been only treatment, he's been in and out of work since the accident...doc rec'd no lifting over 15 lb., he's a machine shop worker, he's been to the doc several times since the accident, including directly after, but MRI wasn't done until 8 mo. after because he didn't have the cash, no family for LOC damages, treating doc is not defense oriented but probably not experienced as expert witness...def not a specialist. So, I guess we've established there's no way we could come up with a best guess on the pain & suffering...any idea on the DOT/punitives issue. If punitives are available then obviously I'd have an easier time getting a PI specialist to take interest.

Richard Kurt Arbuckle

Richard Kurt Arbuckle

Posted

I admit that I was being a little harsh when I mentioned the 50% number. While this is not unusual, it is not universal. It depends on the liability facts and how the case is tried. If your client just says he was in pain, then you can expect 50% or less. If liability has some hot buttons and the whole thing is presented well, you can get much more. Which brings us to liability. You have not mentioned anything that would get you punitive damages. The refusal to take the test will help you though. Trucking cases are not just vehicle collisions. There are lots of regulations on driver hours etc. So you will need to be familiar with all that. Also, many trucks are driver owned and leased out to the trailer owner, so you will have to get a clear idea of who you can go after. Good luck.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan

Posted

Liability is clear cut. InsCo has already admitted liability, since client was stopped at a stop sign when the sand truck creamed him. Trucking company has more than enough coverage $1mm primary plus $2mm excess...and driver was an in-house driver for an oilfield trucking co., with lots of $$ And we finally got to the answer I was looking for, that is, failure to do required post accident drug/alco screen isn't going to be enough in and of itself to get punitives...conflicts with what I've heard, but I have seen more to substantiate what you've said than what I've heard. Thanks again for the help and sorry for taking up so much of your time.

Brian Heath Crockett

Brian Heath Crockett

Posted

Mr. Drennan, I understand you'd like to hold on to the money and assist your friend with the case. Unfortunately, the best thing for your friend is to probably consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. There are plenty of good lawyers out there in Lubbock that will probably work the case with you on a favorable fee agreement. Co-counseling is the best way to learn.

Posted

It is impossible to answer these questions based upon the limited information you provide as there are many variables to consider when evaluating a case. If you are a lawyer, reach out to a local PI attorney that has experience with trucking cases.

Donivan Flowers is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas only. The answers provided in this forum are for informational purposes only and may not be used as legal advice. No attorney client relationship is reached with this lawyer by virtue of this website. To learn more about this lawyer, go to www.flowers-law.com

Posted

More info is needed. Retain a local tractor-trailer accident lawyer to investigate.

Posted

No attorney can (or should) evaluate your case prematurely. The value of a case is usually determined after all the facts are uncovered and established by an experienced personal injury lawyer. If any lawyer does try to estimate the value of your case during an initial consultation, then they are probably just trying to win your representation rather than give you an honest case evaluation. I notice that your are in the Midland area. Even though I am in the Dallas area, I would consider taking a case like yours if it was mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Give me a call for a free consultation and let me answer any questions you may have. Call anytime days, nights and weekends.

Posted

Crashes of this type are complex and require a lot of investigation as well as specialized knowledge of the vehicles and regulations. The strength of liability will also have a large effect on the damages. Unfortunately, if an experienced attorney doesn't get involved right away, much of the evidence will be lost or destroyed by the trucking company or its insurance company. From your questions, it appears that this evidence hasn't been secured. If that is true, then an opportunity to strengthen the case, and the damages recovery, may have been lost. The damages evaluation will also depend in large part on the person who is injured. Is he a nice, caring articulate person whom the jury will like? Or, is he someone who does not make a good appearance and cannot articulate his injuries very well. Perhaps he has a background that the jury will not like. Does he have any history of back disorders that pre-existed the crash. Is he able to work as well as he did before and if not why not? These are just a few of the many questions that an experienced truck crash lawyer will be working on. We do these cases all over the southwest. For example, here is a case we are handling currently: http://www.abc24.com/mostpopular/story/TDOT-HELP-Truck-Driver-Killed-In-I-55-Accident/D37Pi16vik-0anr7JUCevQ.cspx

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to call. 214-346-9529 or jim@girardslaw.com

Posted

It sounds as if you are an attorney based on the information you have provided. If so, consult with an attorney who is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. 18 wheeler accidents can be very good cases to pursue. However, you need to make sure and send a spoliation letter to the trucking company immediately. This letter will put it on notice of your client's potential claims as well as require it to preserve all evidence relating to the wreck, including log books, GPS inforamation, cell phone data, internet usage data, pre trip inspection reports of the vehicle and other valuable information. Please get your client to an attorney who handles these type cases. We handle them throughout Texas and would be happy to consult with you. Good luck. www.dzwlaw.com www.urhurt.com

By providing this legal analysis of the issue presented, no attorney/client relationship is being formed. Additionally, attorney is not agreeing to represent the individual who presented the question concerning the legal issue. A signed retainer agreement is required before an attorney /client relationship is established. The analysis provided is meant solely to provide general guidance about the legal issue presented.

Posted

There are many many factors to consider. You are dealing with a professional driver, possible equipment failures of the 18 wheeler, none compliance with DOT regs, which may trigger strict liability. I highly recommend you contact/associate an attorney with experience in 18 wheeler accidents, as failure to properly handle/investigate could get you in some trouble if your an attorney.

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer