Automobile, Trucking, Vehicle And Aircraft Liability

The experienced lawyers at Smith Sovik understand the importance of mobilizing for immediate response when the company is first notified of an accident involving one of their fleet trucks.  When a company learns of an accident they can be confident that an experienced team of lawyers are ready and equipped to travel to the accident scene within hours of first notification.  Our trucking clients and carriers have 24-hour access to lawyers who can respond to an emergency on a moment’s notice and immediately travel to the accident scene where counsel and experts can offer valuable legal advice and protection needed in the immediate aftermath of an accident.  Our Syracuse offices located in the heart of New York State allow us easy, quick, timely access to accidents all over Upstate New York.

Kevin E. Hulslander and James W. Cunningham with their team of investigators and accident reconstructionists have many years of experience representing trucking clients in difficult cases.  A driver involved in a multi-vehicle or fatal accident needs immediate advice and the actions or statements made to law enforcement will often have an irreversible impact on the serious bodily injury claims that will inevitably follow. 

One of the important tools in the defense attorney’s arsenal is a thorough understanding of how the trucking industry works.  The technological advancements in the transportation field have dramatically changed the way we understand and defend trucking liability cases.  The introduction of digital wireless fleet management systems such as QUALCOMM’s OmniTRACS, the Eudora e-mail software or satellite-based systems such as Globalstar have all contributed to message communication with drivers, position location reporting and incident response management.  Understanding how this new technology works, including the Electronic On-Board Recorder allows counsel to focus on data protection and avoid spoliation of important evidence.

Defending complex truck accident litigation also requires attorneys to partner with knowledgeable experts in a variety of fields.  The right expert may be the key to winning a difficult case and Smith Sovik has spent considerable time and effort identifying the best experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanical engineering, failure analysis and human factors.  Involving the expert immediately following loss notification will often pay great dividends later.  The experienced expert is a critical addition to the accident investigation team and is trained to search for skid marks, gouges, yaw marks and fluids which may disappear quickly.  Expert assistance provides critical forensic information needed to assess potential driver error and also search for the root cause of any potential mechanical failure (brakes, steering, tires, transmission, engine etc.).  A thorough and well orchestrated initial investigation is a hallmark of the advanced legal services we pride ourselves in offering.

After the initial crash investigation is complete, Sovik Sovik attorneys can focus their efforts in supporting the case manager or claims professional in assessing the potential claim and taking all the necessary steps to prepare for or avoid litigation.  Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the driver could potentially face criminal charges or other career-ending consequences which will require the adjuster and attorney to collaborate together and make difficult decisions which may require separate qualified counsel for the individual driver.  While not typical, the company can rely on the experience and knowledge of any member of our trucking practice group to provide solid advice and be confident the client’s best interests are the number one priority. 

If the trucking company is sued, our practice group lawyers are the critical first line of defense.  Smith Sovik lawyers have a well-earned reputation for excellence and are aggressive in defending clients and capable of handling difficult cases.  Experience and judgment count when defending a personal injury claim involving a tractor trailer, large truck or other commercial vehicle.  Drivers and trucking companies who are sued in State or Federal Court may be charged with violation of any number of the vast array of specialized industry laws that do not apply to the ordinary motorist.  Our lawyers are well versed in the rules and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and can offer expert advice to ensure compliance and take steps to minimize exposure from violations uncovered during the accident investigation.

In the final analysis, whether you need consult on settling a difficult case or gearing up for a trial and preparing to hear a verdict, Smith Sovik attorneys will partner with you to provide a vigorous, creative, practical, cost-efficient legal defense built on decades of experience.

Smith Sovik lawyers are proud members and contributors to the Trucking Industry Defense Association, Transportation Lawyers' Association and DRI Trucking Law Committee

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