A significant transformation of the transportation industry has resulted first from deregulation and then from NAFTA. In addition, the industry has seen a shortage of qualified drivers over the last decade resulting in the use of owner-operators, independent contractors and driver leasing arrangements.
At the same time, the industry has seen an increase in mandatory insurance requirements and statutorily imposed liability. The industry has also seen an influx of foreign registered vehicles on U.S. Highways and a whole host of new and revised DOT regulations. Technology is also playing an ever-increasing role in safety and accident prevention with the advent and use of GPS systems and event data recorders. These developments, together with the rapid progression of employment related issues arising out recently enacted statutes and high court decisions, have created a very dynamic business landscape for our transportation industry clients.
As with all other industries, our transportation industry clients face general business disputes on a daily basis as part of doing business. Whether the dispute revolves around the purchase or sale of equipment, a lease, a broker agreement, or the collection of unpaid accounts receivables, it distracts our clients from focusing on their businesses. We have the expertise to resolve these diversions as expeditiously as possible and the conviction to win at trial if necessary.
Because of the nature and extent of the injuries involved, personal injury and property damage claims frequently result in multi-million dollar lawsuits. WLG has the expertise and experience to handle even the most serious bodily injury, dismemberment, and death actions arising out of tractor-trailer and other commercial vehicle accidents. Our attorneys frequently utilize cutting edge technology in negotiations, mediations and ultimately in the courtroom to present the realities behind the collision based upon computer animated accident reconstruction and video presentation.
Collision claims as well as product liability claims are generally won or lost on the strengths of the experts and the physical evidence obtained immediately after the accident or loss while the scene is still hot with debris and witnesses.
We pride ourselves in remaining one step ahead of our adversaries in this regard. Whenever possible we inspect the accident site immediately following the accident bringing with us the eventual trial team of experts for the particular incident (cause & origin investigators, reconstructionists, metallurgists, etc.) to record witness statements and preserve physical evidence.
Because of the hundreds of losses investigated in our subrogation practice and our many years in defending products liability claims, we understand the engineering behind the failure analysis of design and manufacturing defects in the many sophisticated systems on tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. We are therefore able to communicate with our engineering experts and distill their jargon down to plain English that judges and jurors can understand.
We are also well versed in the nuances of DOT regulations as they apply to and are used in collision litigation, such as driver qualification records and hours of service limitations upon which plaintiffs attempt to rely to prove negligence per se. Equally important, we are experts in statutorily imposed permissive use liability and the exceptions thereto.
Based upon our proactive approach to the defense of these claims, we are often successful in using ADR techniques to resolve them early without our clients enduring protracted litigation. However, as trial lawyers, we begin each case with the intent to win at trial and are not afraid to go to the jury when the demands are unreasonable.
From years of experience, we are well educated in the many aspects of freight loss claims and recovery from third parties. We have litigated the full spectrum of issues surrounding these losses such as the various statutory limitations on recovery including the Carmack Amendment and related state regulations, released rate applicability, claims handling regulations and the interrelated insurance issues.
WLG defends companies that rent automobiles, trucks, heavy equipment and other vehicles. We are thus well versed in the many unique issues facing these companies such as statutorily imposed permissive user liability, negligent maintenance and negligent entrustment liability, and the various issues arising out of the rental contracts and Supplemental Liability Insurance.
WLG frequently represents insurers in investigation and recovery related to domestic and international cargo thefts.
WLG attorneys obtained a dismissal and successfully argued the subsequent appeal on behalf of a trucking company client against allegations of trucking company malfeasance during transport.
WLG attorneys recovered against a national transportation company for damaged cargo despite contractual limitation language.
WLG resolved short of trial a wrongful death case on behalf of rental car company for permissive use liability limits where negligent entrustment issues were raised.
WLG is currently representing a commercial trucking company in a wrongful death action arising from alleged negligent loading and delivery.