Finding the Right Arizona Truck Accident Lawyer

This video features Ryan Skiver, a Personal Injury attorney based in Arizona.

Scottsdale Lawyer Attended Truck Driver Training to Strengthen Litigation Skills

Video Transcript:

Ryan Skiver: 

It's actually pretty extensive the amount of time that you have to put in to make sure that your truck is safe, unlike the rest of us when we're driving our cars, and that's obviously because of the size and the danger that they risk and they pose to the rest of the motoring public.

Rob Rosenthal: 

After a truck crash that causes injury, sometimes very serious injuries, how hard is it to figure out who's at fault and where do you turn for help? Well, we're gonna find out right now on this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest is Arizona Attorney Ryan Skiver. And I wanna tell you right at the top, if you'd like to ask Ryan questions about your situation, it's easy, go to go to askthelawyers.com, the top of the page you'll see a button that says, Ask a Lawyer, and you can put your information right there, very simple process, or you can simply call the phone number that you see on the screen during our conversation. Ryan, thank you for helping us out today, I appreciate it.

Ryan Skiver: 

No problem.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Let's just do a little background first, tell me a little bit of your experience handling and representing clients involved in truck crashes.

Ryan Skiver: 

Sure. I've been handling truck crashes now for over 10 years. I have handled all types of crashes with big rigs, armored trucks, straight trucks, car crashes involving buses. There's other types of commercial motor vehicles also that fall into that same kind of category that have special regulations that they have to follow. I actually went and got my commercial driver's license to make sure that I could better understand the entire system and what the process is that those truck drivers go through, so that I can actually see the different lines of sight that they have and feel what it's like to drive one of those big rigs. It's been crucial in understanding these cases and figuring out exactly what happened, why it happened, and being able to ask the right questions of the defendants in the case.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What was that process like, to get your CDL? Tell me about that.

Ryan Skiver: 

Yeah, I went to truck driver school, which was actually really interesting and fun. So we went for a few weeks and learned about inspecting the truck and all of the things that truck drivers have to do before they go out on the road for one of their trips. It's actually pretty extensive the amount of time that you have to put in to make sure that your truck is safe, unlike the rest of us when we're driving our cars, and that's obviously because of the size and the danger that they risk and they pose to the rest of the motoring public. The testing also was very interesting, trying to back up an articulating vehicle, one that the tractor separates from the trailer and it's not straight connected, was very interesting, 'cause you have a lot of different sight lines you have to pay attention to to make sure you know where that truck is going. And then after that portion of the testing is the actual driving, so you get out on the roadway and show them that you know how to drive a big rig, you know about things like off-tracking and making sure that you're keeping track of where your trailer's going, so that you're not running over property or injuring someone or something.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What did you learn? Did some things jump out at you, did you go, "Wow, I didn't expect that. I didn't realize that." Did anything surprise you in the training?

Ryan Skiver: 

Well, the toughest part actually about the training was driving, it was a 10-gear that I was driving in manual stick shift. I had driven manual when I was growing up, that's how I first learned to drive actually, so I've got that habit down, it was pretty simple for shifting without even thinking about it. But then you get into one of these big rigs with double clutching, and actually making sure that you shifted in neutral, and then shift again before you get into gear, it took me paying extra attention to my shifting to make sure that I did that. And switching between high gears and low gears also is a little more difficult because you have to realize whether you're in the low gears or high gears, if you're in gear three or if you're up in a higher gear, and that is something to keep track of along with all that's going around you, going on around you. You have your mirrors, obviously, you're looking out at the front, but you have to keep track of where your entire truck is moving. It was a lot more intense than I anticipated. Certainly being distracted in that situation is even more dangerous than if you're driving a car, so that's why it's so crucial that they pay attention at all times and follow the training that they're supposed to.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You think it better prepares you as an attorney to handle these kind of cases now?

Ryan Skiver: 

Absolutely. Having my commercial driver's license really put me into the shoes of the truck drivers to know what I have to be looking for, or what they have to be looking for, and what to expect from other drivers. We've all seen other drivers that make mistakes on the road, while professional drivers are actually trained to look out for those and prepare for those, having things such as giving yourself an out, as always being prepared for something that may happen down the road, so it really allows me to think from the point of view of the truck driver and figure out how they should have handled that situation, as well as taking into consideration the even more important factors of the trucking company and what they put these truck drivers through. It's not an easy job, and they expect a lot out of them, so these trucking companies have to make sure they're supporting their truck drivers in all of the ways that are necessary to make sure that they're safe on our roadways.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And we started out the interview by talking about how you determine who's at fault from these crashes, I'm assuming it's not always the driver's fault. What's your experience? Is it more often the driver's fault? Is it sometimes the equipment? Is it the trucking company itself in pushing the drivers too far? Or all of the above?

Ryan Skiver: 

Sure. I mean, that's what the investigation aspect of the case is and why it's so important. You know, the crash could be anybody's fault, but oftentimes cars believe that... The drivers of cars believe that they were the ones that were at fault, whereas there may be comparative fault on the truck driver and even the trucking company for systemic failures or violating those Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations that they have to comply with. And a lot of times that's the more dangerous aspect, it's when you have a trucking company who's not following the rules of the road and making sure that they have qualified drivers that are trained and supervised out on the roads in trucks that are properly maintained, there may be something that caused your crash well in advance of the actual crash that you may not even be aware of. And in Arizona, we have comparative fault, so it's important that you do the investigation to make sure that it wasn't the other trucking company or truck driver's fault for your crash, because even if they are 10% or 20% at fault, they can still be held responsible for their part of the crash and the fault involved.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what's your advice, Ryan, when someone's trying to pick the right attorney to handle their truck crash with injury case? What are some things they should look for? How do they pick?

Ryan Skiver: 

Sure. You wanna make sure that you get a truck crash lawyer that has handled commercial motor vehicle cases before. The more knowledge they have about that situation is obviously gonna be beneficial to you. You wanna check with them also to see if they've ever actually tried cases. Unfortunately, there's a lot of good marketers out there who actually don't try cases. I just had my last trucking case a couple of months ago now, and it turned out well for the plaintiff, and I was able to use all my knowledge from my commercial driver's license to be able to benefit that plaintiff. I also give speeches to other lawyers about how to handle trucking cases, as well as act as a teacher for one of the trial colleges to make sure that other lawyers understand how to handle their trucking cases and not just treat a truck crash like a regular car accident.

Rob Rosenthal: 

One more quick question, something you said, "To make sure they actually try cases," I think some people think, "Well, all attorneys try cases. That's what they do." What is the other options? I mean, they're gonna just settle too quickly? What do you mean when they don't try cases?

Ryan Skiver: 

Sure. Actually, probably 95% of the lawyers have never tried a case in their life, and the insurance companies and defendants keep track of that information, they know which lawyers actually try cases and which lawyers are simply going to settle for whatever they offer, and that will have an impact on the amount of money that they're going to offer. If they know your lawyer is ready, willing, and able to go to trial, and has tried these types of cases before, obviously they are gonna have more concern about that, and likely put more value on your case, as opposed to if you have a lawyer who's a good marketer, someone who never actually steps in the courtroom, but just does a good job of marketing and has a catchy jingle. The defense insurance companies and lawyers know who those layers are, they know if and when they've ever actually been to trial, and the offers are going to reflect that usually as well.

Rob Rosenthal: 

I love that answer. Thank you so much for making some time to answer our questions.

Ryan Skiver: 

Thank you for having me.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Arizona Attorney Ryan Skiver, and I will remind you again, if you'd like to ask Ryan questions about your situation, it's easy, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up at the top that says, Ask a Lawyer, and it'll walk you right through the process, and it's free to ask your questions. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal for Ask the Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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