173: What Should Drivers Do When Involved in an Accident or Lawsuit?

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Andrea Albert, a Transportation & Insurance Coverage Attorney at Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith. During this episode, Jeremy and Andrea discuss the legal process when a trucking company and driver are sued after an accident. Andrea emphasizes the importance of driver cooperation and involvement in the legal process, properly handling and documenting the accident, the role of digital technology in helping drivers, changes in the law regarding vicarious liability and highlights the need for companies to conduct proper hiring and training, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Andrea’s background and experience (2:23)
  • The importance of driver cooperation in incidents and accidents (7:17)
  • The driver’s impact on other litigation in the industry (10:28)
  • Importance of dash cam footage (15:35)
  • Cell Phone usage and distraction (20:00)
  • Differences between vicarious liability and independent negligence (22:42)
  • Plaintiff attorneys targeting trucking companies (23:55)
  • The rise of nuclear verdicts (26:14)
  • Why lawsuits are often delayed in being filed (34:31)
  • The role of attorneys in defending truck drivers (35:30)
  • Advice to encourage driver cooperation in legal matters (36:25)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Andrea Albert  00:12

I hope they never meet. But if they have to meet me, I hope they know that they have an ally here in us and a friend and we’re here to represent them, we are going to defend them as best as we can. We may have to tell them some things they don’t want to hear. But I hope that they realize that we’re on their side. We want what’s best for them, for the company and for the industry as a whole. So that if they do ever have to deal with an attorney, an attorney that’s been retained for them by the company that we’re on their side.

Jeremy Kellett  00:43

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hi, this is Jeremy Kellett, director of recruiting here at Oakley trucking. And I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. And as always, we appreciate you guys joining us every week, as we drop a new one on Wednesdays to give you some new content, new material. And hopefully, it’s good stuff that educates you on being a successful owner operator. We appreciate everybody. If you share it with your friends and tell everybody about the podcast, it really does help get us out there so we can make a difference. You know, in some of our truck drivers’ lives, that’s what the plan is. Anyway, today’s episode is gonna be a good one. I’m gonna say probably most of you listening to this podcast, you probably never even been in an accident. And probably more of you have never been in an accident in a lawsuit that is resulting from an accident. Well, on today’s episode, I got the privilege of talking to a defense attorney about what happens when a trucking company and a truck driver are sued due to an accident. And it’s gonna be a great discussion, we got things that we’re going to talk about what a driver can do to help themselves. You know, when it’s happening, we’re gonna get into talking about maybe some depositions and what to do to help people and just so I’ve been looking forward to this, actually had this professional lady help me answer my request last week and it’s just been fantastic. I’ve been looking forward to answering her, asking her a bunch of questions and talking to her about this because this is where I mean this is where the rubber meets the road. This is the stuff that is affecting a lot of the trucking industry in a lot of ways, and we’re gonna get her to explain a lot of stuff to us. So let’s get started.

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Jeremy Kellett  03:33

Andreea Albert with Galloway law firm out of Mandeville, Louisiana. Is that right? Andreea.

Andrea Albert  03:38

That’s right. That’s where my office is. It’s in the Greater New Orleans area.

Jeremy Kellett  03:42

Okay, gotcha. Well, first of all, thank you for doing this. I know you got a lot of stuff going on, especially when you are defending trucking companies since you’re a busy lady, but if you would give our listeners just a little bit of background on you. And history, please.

Andrea Albert  03:57

Alright, so again, my name is Andrea Albert. I’ve been practicing law for a little over 22 years. I’ve based my practice in the New Orleans area over here at Galloway. I’d practice in the entire state of Louisiana. And also I’m licensed to practice in Texas. About 80% of my practice is focused on transportation. It is defending transportation companies, rideshare companies or anything to do with transportation. If you would have asked me when I came out of law school, 22 years ago, if I was going to be a trucking attorney, I probably would have said probably not didn’t know but you land where you land. And this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I love truckers. I love transportation companies and I am always one that will tell anybody in a room that has anything to say about a trucking company or a trucker. There you can look around the room, you can look at everything on your body and the food that you just put in your mouth and the coffee that we just got out of the coffee pot and a trucker brought that to you. So if you have something to say about him, you need to consider everything that you have, and that the trucker is who brought it to eat. So with that in mind, I am a passionate advocate for the transportation industry.

Jeremy Kellett  05:12

Fantastic is good to see somebody on our side, you know, once in a while hungry, it’s unfortunate out there in the, you know, in the public’s view, and it seems like it’s always a truck driver, and a trucking company is a target, you know, and we just are constantly gotta be ready to defend ourselves, from everybody from I mean, everybody knows they see it, I’ve had, we’ve talked about it with Shannon Newton ArtStyle, Trucking Association, President about, you know, the billboards everywhere, the commercials run in everywhere, hit by truck, call me, I mean, it’s just, it’s overwhelming, that it’s, it puts us in a bad situation. So we have to reach out to people like you. And I’m so glad there are people like you in this business to help truck drivers and trucking companies, you know. So you’ve got an opportunity here, we got it, we’ve got a great following of truck drivers, owner operators in their families. And you’ve got a great opportunity here to maybe break the ice between an attorney and a truck driver that is involved in an accident to help them understand that maybe you’re on their side, and you and we’re doing this together type deal. So I don’t know where you really want to start. I had a few questions. But you know, maybe some of the things that the prosecutors on the other side, what did they focus on? When it comes to trucking companies and truck drivers?

Andrea Albert  06:40

Well, I think honestly, the best place to start is at the beginning. Okay, so when accidents happen? What should I do? I don’t know, I’m sure well, I shouldn’t say I don’t know, I would think a lot of the industry is very familiar with the fraud ring that we had going down when down here in New Orleans. So it may be I’ve had an accident, and I’m aware of it. And now what or I just got chased down and told I had an accident, and I was completely unaware of it. So what do you do? I’ll tell you the first thing that and I think most companies advise their drivers of this is to not say too much at the same time. You don’t need to talk to the other party. If there’s a medical emergency, you should certainly, you know, call 911 and do those appropriate things. But you don’t need to speak with another party or necessarily give any type of statement, you do need to cooperate with the police. And so you should give a statement to the police, you do need to call your safety team which is honestly unless there’s a medical emergency, you can call them first call 911 and get those things out of the way. But a lot of times after that, you may go about your way and you don’t hear anything. And so you get a call one day maybe from an attorney like me, because depending on the state you’re in, there’s different time periods that people have to file a lawsuit so wheezing, and it’s one year but Mississippi next door is two years in. Everything’s a little different. But you get a call from an attorney. And I’ll tell you the biggest problem we have at the outset is driver cooperation, getting the drivers to what and I get it, you’re getting a call from a random person. And that’s not always, you know, I hope you don’t trust me for a little bit at first. But once you realize that I’m representing you, I’m on your side, and I need your participation to get the best result we can, then a lot of times it’s hard to keep the drivers involved.

Jeremy Kellett  08:33

Why is it you think, Andrea that

Andrea Albert  08:34

they? I don’t know. So it kind of depends on the situation, there’s times where by the time the lawsuit actually comes around, the driver may no longer be with the company. So or they you know, and sometimes there’s a falling out, you know, there may have been a involuntary termination of the driver or the driver thought there was something unfair going on at the company, you know, whether it was a pay to speed or it didn’t, it can be a lot of things. But they’re no longer invested in that company. And when I say invested, I don’t mean financially, I mean, just career wise invested with that company. And so they don’t really see the need to participate. Because they’re like, well, there’s insurance out there, and the company’s got to handle it. So what do they need me for? I actually, about six months ago, was talking to a driver and I kept running this guy down, he would block my number, I would have to go get my legal assistance phone to call from that number. You know, we just couldn’t keep him in the ball. And he was mad at the company. And he said, Look, I don’t care what happens to them, you know, I’m not doing it. But here’s the problem with that mentality. That was a very defensible case. We had a lot of defenses to liability on it. And it’s not just a company issue. When every time we have to pay out on a defensible case, and I don’t mean I mean pay out more than what we’d have to there’s you know sometimes Gotta compromise, we may estimate and say, Well, look, I think we take 25% of the fault. So we need to look at that and assess any type of payment there. But when we have a defensible case, and we cannot get the driver to participate, and which causes the company to overpay the claim that affects the industry, because the plaintiffs attorneys and the plaintiffs bars that are focused on handling transportation claims, set what they believe the claims are worth with regard to settlement. Just like when they go try a case, they get those jury verdicts. And that’s why they start determining what claims are worth. If we have a defensible case that we cannot get the driver to participate in, and to come in and give testimony regarding then we overpay the claim. And we just moved the bar on what these cases are worth. And so it’s a bigger picture than any one trucking company or any one driver. And if drivers understand that, if they’re invested in the transportation industry as a whole, then show up when we need you to show up and return those calls so that we can prepare you for testimony. And it goes a long way. It goes it just goes along

Jeremy Kellett  11:12

Well, a lot of them. I mean, it happened so fast, probably an accident, and then it’s a long time later before you hear about it. And you can’t remember, you know, a lot of them probably exactly what happened to do and, you know, they just I would think I mean, you know, I’ve been deposed. And it’s hard, you know, to remember exactly what happened back at that time. But I sure understand the and I hope, or at least truck drivers understand that the part they’re playing is for the bigger picture. For sure. And especially when you have a case, you know, that is defendable that you feel good about, you know, and you just need their participation. I really never thought that would be one of your major problems that you have in this business. Yeah, it definitely is. I mean, is there something we’ve actually talked about before on what a driver can do? Besides, I guess communication is the biggest thing they can do with you. They need to do things at the scene. Does that help a lot? Look,

Andrea Albert  12:17

if they can take pictures at the scene, and a lot of drivers do. But one of the important things is to make sure that they maintain the photos. So if you get a new phone and you haven’t downloaded the photos into iCloud, or something like that, make sure that you have a way that you preserve those photos. Because there are a lot of times that I talk to a driver and I go, you don’t read any photos from the scene, or Yeah, I took some but I got a new phone and they’re not on this phone, and I don’t have a way to get to them. I didn’t think anything was gonna happen with this accident, because you know, they haven’t been here for a long time. So I would always if you’ve had an accident, and you’ve taken photos at the scene, which I hope you did, because you definitely want to take any photo of any damage to your tractor trailer, and you want to take a photo of any damage to the other party’s vehicle. And because we use the accident reconstruction experts that we retain, we will use those photos. So we want photos close up of the damage, we want you to step back so that we can see exactly where it falls on the tractor or trailer or vehicle. A lot of times people get close up and take a picture of a footer, I have no idea on the floor where that is, you’d have saying I’m looking at a piece of metal with a dent. I don’t know where that is on the car. So you know we need something close up, we need something far away. Look if they’re if the plaintiff, or that’s who would be making the claim is walking around at the scene and seems fine video it video it because I can’t tell you how many times the driver is at the scene. And it’s some minor incident. Like I let my foot off the brake and are rolled into them out of light, you know, something simple, or it’s a little it’s a lane change, maybe a little brush. And they’re like, No, everybody got out of the scene and walked around and they were fine. And nobody needed an ambulance. And everybody seemed fine. And we left. Their car was drivable, and we all laughed. And then a year later we’ve got somebody with a cervical fusion looking for top dollar money. So don’t ever assume that an accident is minor just because it is known that the plaintiffs have a way to work the cases out there might be and it might be something that we have to go argue about a preexisting injury that we’re going to say we didn’t cause. So videoing at the scene, taking photos of everything. And making sure you get a complete statement to the police are the best things you can do. The other thing I would say is, you know, always monitor what you say at the scene. You don’t need to have any unnecessary dialogue. There’s no need to get into a back and forth with the other driver or anything like that. It’s better just to stay quiet. Answer the police Questions document the scene as best as you can, and move on.

Jeremy Kellett  15:04

Because it’s going to come out if you do, it’s gonna be one of their cars to play I’m sure. Yeah. So yeah, keep it together. It’s speaking of that, you know, maybe video with their phone. How has the digital world digital footprint helped? It helped trucking companies and truck drivers like the dashcam. And even the phone, you know, being on the phone, that kind of stuff. What effects does that have?

Andrea Albert  15:35

So the Dash Cam, I remember when they first everybody really first started using them, and people were scared of them. Because you kind of didn’t know what it was going to show. I find they helped more than not. I rarely have dashcam footage where I’m thinking, Oh, wow, our driver just blew this thing. You know, a lot of times they really help us. I have a couple of cases going on right now where the dash if we didn’t have that dashcam footage, based on what the plaintiff was trying to say happened, and what was reported at the scene, we’d be up a creek. And these aren’t necessarily Oakley cases, let me be clear, I’m just, you know, thinking out loud. And having that dashcam footage? Well, I can think of one right now where the driver said that they weren’t stopped in the roadway. But we have dashcam footage. So we can see that the plaintiff was just stopped on a dark Ridgeway, no lights on. But that’s not what they said. So a lot of times the dashcam footage helps us out. Here’s the thing when it doesn’t help us out. And we do make mistakes, because we’re human, nobody’s perfect. So we’re going to make some mistakes. We know which claims to go ahead and try to resolve. We know what to do. So it assists us in that regard, too. I’ll tell you, the inward facing cameras, if anybody has inward facing cameras, you need to be cognizant of what you’re doing. If you have an inward facing camera on you need to pay attention to what I mean we should all be paying attention to what we’re doing regardless. But we need to be aware that cameras are picking up everything that you’re doing.

Jeremy Kellett  17:15

Yeah, so I guess the inward facing camera probably is not as much of a help to us as outward facing which just to clarify Oakley does not have inward facing we just have forward facing.

Andrea Albert  17:30

Yeah, the outward facing cameras I find invaluable. I mean, look, they even help in accidents that you don’t think it’s going to particularly assist you in. I had an accident and this case is now resolved, where our driver went to change lanes into a right turning lane. And there was a car that said he sideswiped them. That car because the dash camera picked up what was going on when in the rearview mirrors. That car sped up as he changed lanes and got on the side of him. Now if we didn’t have that dash camera, we would never be able to see what happened in that rear view mirror, we were able to send it over to an accident reconstruction company that could assess it and make sure there was no distortion from us viewing this in the mirror. And put together an opinion in that regard so that we could actually argue that the plane sped up, sped into our lane of travel after we had already crossed over the lane into the lane. So there are a lot of things the dash cameras have. I mean, there was another case with them. I could tell you horror stories all day that the plaintiff said that we had taken a certain route before the accident occurred, because we have a dashcam. And again, this was a rear end accident that would have been a Sideswipe towards the rear of the track trailer, we were able to show by the dance camp that they were lying, because we didn’t take that route. Now it didn’t show any accident, honestly, to this day. I don’t think any accident occurred. It didn’t show any accident. But what it also showed was that they completely lied about what we were doing before the accident because that dash camera showed where we were traveling. So they’re very helpful. The outward facing dash cameras are very helpful, the inward, it’s only going to show me what you’re doing and ideal and so if you’re picking your nose or you’re eating, or you’re doing whatever, it’s going to show me those things. So that’s why I say if you are a driver that’s listening that has an inward facing dash camera be cognizant because it is picking up everything you’re doing.

Jeremy Kellett  19:37

Which was I guess the second part to that question I asked you, I would think would be some of the hard things for you to defend that the driver might be doing and that takes me to the phone. You know is the cell phone I major, very difficult to defend device.

Andrea Albert  20:00

If you’re hands free, we’re in a much better situation. A lot of time, that’s your word. But I, you know, I haven’t really encountered any drivers that are holding a phone anymore. I mean, nobody should be able to get it through a headpiece. Yeah, some sort of Bluetooth or whatever headpiece and or you know, even in my car, it comes through the speakers of the car, we don’t really have a need to hold a phone anymore. So I will say this, you need to make sure you’re following the laws of the state in which you were driving. So you need to be aware of those. And you need to make sure you are following your company policy. So some companies have a hands free policy where you’re allowed to be on the phone, but it needs to be hands free. Other companies have a no phone activity at all policy while you’re driving. Please follow your company policy, please follow the local laws, that’s when I have a problem. We, as long as we are following policy and laws, we’re in pretty good shape. But when we violate those, now we’ve got a driver who’s not following the policy set forth by the company they work for, or the laws of the statements that were driving.

Jeremy Kellett  21:14

Do the plaintiffs go? Do they always try to determine whether that driver was on the phone or not? Is that a big deal for them?

Andrea Albert  21:23

A good plaintiff’s attorney? Well, yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  21:26

yeah, because I’m assuming they’re headed for the distraction part of it.

Andrea Albert  21:30

It’s for the distraction part of it, they’re going to get to argue that if you are on the phone, they will try to argue distraction. So, you know, look, if you’re asking me what I prefer, when I’m defending a driver, I don’t want your own phone. Now, you may have a playlist, you know, that you’re playing music through, or something which that’s fine. But I’m talking about when I talk on the phone, having a conversation with somebody on the phone, certainly, by all means never texting, please do not do that. And don’t be fiddling with your playlist. Get one going and leave it alone. You don’t want to have your hand anywhere near that phone. So you know, in look, in all fairness, I go after every plaintiff in their phones. I want to know if they’re distracted on the phone, I want to know if they’re texting and driving. So I don’t have a case where I’m not under a subpoena and phone records.

Jeremy Kellett  22:21

Yeah. Do you see much on occasion we do where they go back to the seemed like it was brought up a few years ago with a big deal was negligent hiring. Maybe that person shouldn’t even have been hired or at least on as an owner operator to that company.

Andrea Albert  22:42

Yeah, so we Wheezy and I had a change in law about a year or so ago, we used to, or the case law used to be that they couldn’t make a claim against the company for vicarious liability, meaning they’re liable for what the driver does, while the drivers under the employment and under their dispatch. That’s kind of a very simple explanation, versus independent negligence, where the company is negligent because of improper hiring, failure to train and all those kinds of good things. So before a year ago, the courts said you can’t have both claims so we could get the independent negligence claims dismissed. But the Supreme Court came back and said, No, you can’t have both claims. So we do have to look at, you know, the company’s own due diligence with regard to the hiring of drivers, what type of background research they did on making sure the driver qualification file is up to date, and that proper training is going on?

Jeremy Kellett  23:40

Yeah, I figured that was kinda, you know, one of the first things that they look into whether they’ve met the criteria that the company requires, you know, and didn’t hire somebody that shouldn’t have been hired, see where some of that happens for sure. One of the other questions. I actually had, I had a couple people, Roger sent me a couple of questions to ask you, which you might have already answered. Oh, Mommy, look, you. What do plaintiff attorneys find or discover that makes carrier drivers? An easy mark, for filing suit against? Hmm,

Andrea Albert  24:23

I think I mean, I’ll be honest with you, I think just being on the road and a big tractor trailer with known minimum insurance limits makes you that easy, Mark. Yeah. If there could be any impact out there with anybody on the road. But you don’t know what their insurance is. They might just be in Louisiana, it’s a minimum limit of 15,000. But, you know, with a trucking company, there’s going to be a million dollars there. No. So that’s what makes it somebody’s going to target it. That’s what it is.

Jeremy Kellett  24:57

That’s one other. Like we said before the billboard Just a TV commercial and all that because I guess every trucking company is a target. And I think we just go. Also what can the carrier slash driver do to better prepare themselves for the unexpected lawsuit? I think we’ve covered a little bit of that with the when an accident happens and, you know, video when in court cooperating in that kind of stuff. Is there anything else to add to that? Andreea?

Andrea Albert  25:24

Yeah. And that’s really it is making sure your safety team knows what’s occurred, cooperating at the scene, but not talking more than you have to maintain your cool, because I know sometimes you’re gonna be irritated. That’s just natural. But maintain composure, and keep your cool and document the same.

Jeremy Kellett  25:44

You know, the thing I’m sure you’ve answered a bunch, but it made me think about the nuclear verdicts, that’s been happening in the trucking world, that it just scares me. It scares companies, you know that it’s happening like this, and you wouldn’t find it from the outside looking in. You know, and you just see the headlines, and you read the story of a company getting sued for millions and millions or, like one hit a billion dollars at one time, it seemed like it was on the news. I mean, you know, as somebody outside looking in, you think that there’s no way, I mean, that an accident could cost that much money. What’s your take on nuclear verdicts?

Andrea Albert  26:31

Well, one of the things I think they’re here to stay for a little bit, but I will say there’s been nuclear verdicts. But there’s also been really good verdicts out there to the companies that I don’t think there’s, I don’t think those get reported as much as people getting a lot of money. I’ll tell you, I did a mock trial last year where we ran three jury rooms, in a wrongful death matter to get the jury’s ideas on what they were going to think because we were actually going to try to put some faults on the disease, there were two females that had passed away at the scene. And we were going to try to put some, and so we wanted to see how that was going to play with a jury. I’ll tell you juries will go to each room differently. One room came back with a very low verdict value, and they bought into the faulted seat. The other two rooms while they did think that the Satan’s had just felt sorry for him and awarded a bunch of money. And it was funny. So when it was done, the psychologists that come in and run these things said, do you understand that y’all gave away generational? Well, this isn’t just going to take care of this person’s child, this is going to take care of this person’s great grandchild, this type of well, and they said, are you okay with that? And they’re like, Yeah, we’re fine with it. No big deal. So there’s definitely a mentality of you know, people are owed a certain thing. And it’s a little bit of Monopoly money. I mean, you know, it’s interesting to see, but I think that the perception of payment in a lawsuit, and the value of things has just changed. It’s just changed over time. And that’s where I think we see these verdicts coming in.

Jeremy Kellett  28:19

Yeah, it goes back to the same Oh, I mean, they’re a big company. They got money. It’s a little low. Me, don’t have any, you know, my compiler mentality. To me, it seems like you know that that’s difficult.

Andrea Albert  28:33

Yeah, and juries are pretty smart. Like in the one that we mock tried, there was a third party who had actually abandoned their car in the middle of the roadway at night. So the driver that was approaching it’s kind of hard to describe, but didn’t really have anywhere to go. Because it was one bridge. So either way, you’re gonna assign, they didn’t leave him enough room, there wasn’t a full shoulder. So the juries had figured out that the person that had been in the car in the roadway, there was no money there. So while I think that they would have put faults on that person, and in the discussions did see fault with that person. I mean, they were talking about, well, there’s no money there, we gotta go to get these people some money. And so it’s gonna have to be with the trucking company. And that’s what we’re gonna do. So there’s a lot of trade offs going on in a jury room. And you know, what people do just because they find it to be equitable, not necessarily, right. They don’t think it’s not necessarily right but they believe it’d be equitable.

Jeremy Kellett  29:42

Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic drivers. We provide the trailer free of charge and you provide the truck. We have a large customer base that reaches the whole United States as well as parts of Canada. Our owner operators live anywhere from Texas to North Carolina depending on Vanja to Wisconsin and everywhere in between and we get them home weekends. We take it seriously when you join Oakley trucking because we need you to be successful. Oakley offers great benefits and competitive mileage pay. So you know that when your wheels are turning, you’re generating money no matter if you’re loaded or empty, we understand that you want to make a good living and that you make our living. We only take on independent contractors and to be honest with you, we are very particular on who we lease on. You must have a good driving record, good work history, and a clean, dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just want some more information, you can go to Oakley trucking.com. Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Real quick for you for Linus’ thing down. I always like to hear, you know, some real stories which you’ve given us some great ones, but are there some just minor ones that you would think you know, somebody there, nothing would come out of it. And then something big came out of it.

Andrea Albert  31:03

We see that actually, almost every day really accidents with very little damage, if at all. In fact, I was looking at one just this week where I was like, Where is the damage on the vehicle? They had taken pretty good pictures after the accident. I was like, where’s the damage? It was one where that you know, they rolled into it and it was just acid, I don’t even see any damage. But this person is on their way to get neck surgery. You know, we see it a lot. So that’s why I go back to something I said earlier is don’t ever assume because everybody seems fine at the scene. And that there really isn’t much damage, that there’s not going to be a claim later on. Don’t get comfortable with that. Go ahead. And I would treat every incident the same. Take your photos, cooperate, and document as best as you can. Because in a year or two years, we don’t know what’s going to show up. You know, we see a lot of things where people have multiple accidents. And they’re trying, you know, but they may have had accidents with people that had a $15,000 limit. So all of a sudden, you know, they had two or three back to back accidents. I got really bad luck. But the only one with good insurance is the trucking company. Well guess what all my injuries came from that accident. Even though the other person rear ended me and put my truck in my backseat. All of it came from that trucking company accident. So there’s a lot there are a lot of moving parts to some of these claims. And so that’s why it’s always good to stay on your toes and not get too comfortable. Don’t make an assumption. Treat it like it’s going to have a lawsuit with it.

Jeremy Kellett  32:46

Yeah. Yeah. Because it’s, we’ve seen it happen to you and think it’s just a minor incident, nothing’s gonna come out of it. And then later on down the road, we’re trying to recall it. We got pictures, what’s going on? Wow, before we finish up, what? Why does it take so long? What is it the people just mean, because I know when the accident happens, it’s not long till they are there wanting to get represented by somebody pretty quick to do something. But why does it take so long in most cases?

Andrea Albert  33:18

Well, you know, so a lot of attorneys on the plaintiff side will wait pretty close to the time period that they have to file a lawsuit. So here in Louisiana, that’s a year. So we may get a lawsuit in the 11th month. So you’ve already got 11 months that have passed since the accident and they wait to file and then once they file we’ve got to do responsive pleadings on our side, then there’s written discovery that goes back and forth where we answer written questions, we set depositions, there are some

Jeremy Kellett  33:48

real quick, so that’s part of their strategy, waiting till

Andrea Albert  33:53

Oh, because they some for some attorneys it is because they can get a lot of treatment in and get that case really worked up, before we get in a position where we can actually start subpoenaing things, or forcing them to go because once we’re in a lawsuit, we can ask them to go see a doctor, the company’s choosing to have an independent exam conducted, we can’t really do that without their agreement before a lawsuit is filed, they would have to agree. So there’s a lot of things that can occur before suits actually filed, that were kind of handcuffed or what we can actually, I’d say for us, that’s a lack of a better words, but at least seek the court’s assistance to have done so it’s not uncommon for people to wait till the prescription, which is the of the deadline to file the lawsuit to do it. And sometimes the attorneys are just busy, you know, you dealing with it, dealing with the fire and hey, and so they don’t have to file that lawsuit. You know, yet they’re gonna deal with other things and then file it before they have to say, you know, I can’t say it’s always a strike. Right? That was premeditated, but sometimes they’re just dealing with what they got that day.

Jeremy Kellett  35:09

Well, and I can only imagine what’s on your plate, because it seems like everybody wants to sue somebody for something, you know, their bodies, lots of victims out there, it seems like they want to get paid and anything else you’d like to add Andreea. I mean, you’ve done a great job of answering questions and helping us realize what’s going on out there in the real world.

Andrea Albert  35:30

Now, I just thank you for the opportunity to come on today. I hope that this assists you drivers in some kind of way. And I hope it helps them feel a little relaxed. I hope they never meet me, let me say that, I hope none of the drivers ever meet me. But if they have to meet me, I hope they know that they have an ally here in us and a friend and we’re here to represent them, we are going to defend them as best as we can. We’re probably then we may have to tell them some things they don’t want to hear. But I hope that they realize that we’re on their side, we want what’s best for them, for the company and for the industry as a whole. So that if they do ever have to deal with an attorney, an attorney that’s been retained for them by the company that we’re on their side,

Jeremy Kellett  36:17

very well put Well, I sure appreciate you communicating with us coming on the podcast. Hopefully you’ll come back maybe later on. So or I’d love to yeah, we’ll get a little more educated on it. Because this is stuff that we hope we’re never involved in. But it’s happening every day, because that’s your job and you’re busy, and you’re taking care of it. So we appreciate you doing that. And being an advocate for the trucking business for sure. Thanks a lot, Andrea. i Yeah, this is good information right here. Andreea gives us and I hope you take it to heart out there, even though you’re a safe driver, and you have never had an accident. And I hope you never do. But if you do just remember to cooperate, you know with the company and the company’s attorneys. And let’s see if we can’t make this better for the trucking world out there. We got a lot of good people that represent us. So once again, thanks for listening to the LP podcast every week and we appreciate you and we’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.