Why Hire a Board-Certified Truck Accident Lawyer?

This video features Kevin Swenson, a Personal Injury attorney based in Utah.

Utah 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney Kevin Swenson is Board-Certified

Video Transcript:

Kevin Swenson:

There's so much that you need to know that it's hard to just pick up a case and try to do it on the run.

Rob Rosenthal:

So do you know what it means if a lawyer is a board-certified truck accident attorney, and how can that benefit you? We're gonna find out right now, because that's what we're going to Ask the Lawyer. Hi again everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers.com and my guest is Utah attorney Kevin Swenson, who himself is one of only a handful of attorneys to be board certified in truck accident law. We'll get more from him on that in just a second, but first, I wanna remind you if you wanna ask Kevin questions of your own, just go to AskTheLawyers.com, there's a button at the top of the page that says Ask a Lawyer. Click on that, it'll take you to a form that you can fill out, doesn't cost you anything, or you can call the phone number that's on the screen when we talk to Kevin. Kevin, it's always good to see you. Thank you for making some time to answer our questions.

Kevin Swenson:

Thank you. Good to see you.

Rob Rosenthal:

So let's talk about board certified in truck accident law. Tell me what that means exactly.

Kevin Swenson:

So the National Board of Trial Advocacy has a different, several different protocols that they will board certify somebody in. The newest one they have is trucking litigation and truck accidents. It's only been around for a couple of years, but it's a process that is pretty detailed. It's a multi-page application, you have to go through a certain number of points which you get from trying cases, from working on cases, and so you have to have quite a bit of experience to even apply for it, then once you apply for it, you have to have letters of recommendations from expert witnesses in the field from judges, from other attorneys, and then you have to go take a board certification test and have to pass that, so it's a fairly lengthy process and a fairly rigorous process, but it really does test to see who knows trucking and who doesn't.

Rob Rosenthal:

Approximately how many attorneys in the United States have this certification?

Kevin Swenson:

So last I saw it was below 50, I know they're getting ready to do another test, and so that should be changing and going up a little bit, but it's below 50 at this time.


This may seem like an obvious question, but if someone's injured in an accident with a 18-wheeler commercial truck, what is the benefit to them to hire an attorney, such as yourself, who is board-certified?

Kevin Swenson:

Yeah, the advantage there of hiring somebody that's board-certified is you're not getting somebody that's training in trucking on your particular case. I teach a lot of attorneys about trucking law. We just had one recently, and I had about 10 people there talking about trucking and issues that come up in it, and it was interesting because most of the people there were not trucking lawyers, they all did different kind of law but had found one good case, and so they're trying to learn that case on that client's dime and that client's time, and instead of getting in and really knowing what they're doing from the beginning and getting after it. So that's one of the big differences is just knowing you've got somebody who can step in and knows how to run with the case right from the beginning.

Rob Rosenthal:

So, handling a trucking accident case is not the same as just to handling say, two passenger vehicles but bigger. Tell me, what are some of the mistakes you see attorneys make when they try to... When they're not...?

Kevin Swenson:

No, you're exactly right. The biggest mistake is just handling it as if it were two cars and one's just a big car, because the rules are so different for trucking companies and truck drivers, and the federal regulations as several inches thick of a handbook that goes through all of those. So there are a lot of different rules that apply to trucking, and you get people in that say, Well, it's like two big cars, and I know how to drive a car, so I know what the rules must be for trucking. And they're very, very different, and there are lots of different players involved in the trucking crashes, from brokers to shippers, to the motor carriers, the drivers, and so there are a lot of different places that you need to be looking to make sure that your client gets coverage and gets the insurance that's out there from the different entities and the different components of the truck as well. Trailers can be insured separately from a tractor, and so there are just a lot of things that you need to really be looking at to figure out why they're different and then treat them is different. It's not just a 80,000-pound car.

Rob Rosenthal:

I don't wanna over-simplify, Kevin, but does it eventually all boil down to that if you don't have the proper attorney, you could leave money on the table? Is that what it all boils down to?

Kevin Swenson:

Yeah, it really does. If you don't have somebody who's familiar with working trucking cases, knows what applies to truck cases, even the driver's license test is different in the book that you use for that is a key component in training the truck driver, so you've gotta understand that and know what that is. Last summer, I went up and went to truck driving school just so I could walk through that and see how all those rules apply, see what they're taught, actually get behind the will of a truck and drive it. And so there's so much that you need to know that it's hard to just pick up a case and try to do it on the run.

Rob Rosenthal:

What about the resources that a firm needs to take on these big trucking cases? Is that different from the ordinary personal injury cases?

Kevin Swenson:

It can be very different because the experts that have to be hired, the different groups that you need to look at the information... I mean, these trucks that are going down the freeways now have so much electronic data on them, and just after a crash, getting all of that taken off and getting somebody to read that and interpret all of that, I mean, you can run up a lot of expenses pretty quickly, and you can waste a lot of money doing that too, if you don't know what you're doing, but yeah, the resources are considerably different than handling a typical car crash.

Rob Rosenthal:

Talking about that makes me think, What if someone's thinking, Well, I don't know, Kevin, if I can afford... I've just been catastrophically injured in an accident with a truck, how do I know I can afford somebody who's a board-certified trucking attorney?

Kevin Swenson:

Well, like almost every other area of personal injury, everything that we do, and we decide to take a case that fits our criteria is within our area of expertise, we do that case on a contingency fee basis, so somebody that's been injured by a big truck, we know they're gonna be in a tough spot, so we jump into that with them. We take the risk with them, and then we get paid when they get paid, and so they're not coming out of pocket trying to pay us hourly as we go, and as you see, is the typical model for law firms, so it's different, and if somebody's been injured, we can make it work for them.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned that you teach other lawyers about handling tracking cases. Are you often brought in as co-counsel and that sort of thing by attorneys across the country?

Kevin Swenson:

We've been brought in as co-council on a number of cases. Yes, and that's something that we like to do. We like to work with the attorneys that have those cases and need some help, and so... Absolutely, that's something we're always looking for, an opportunity to co-counsel.

Rob Rosenthal:

Lots of really interesting information every time we talk Kevin, thank you so much for taking some time answering your questions. 

Kevin Swenson:

Thank you. 

Rob Rosenthal:

That's gonna do it for this episode of Ask the Lawyer. My guest has been Utah attorney Kevin Swanson, who is a board-certified trucking attorney. Remember, if you wanna ask Kevin questions, you can go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button at the top of the page that says, Ask a Lawyer and it doesn't cost you anything to ask questions. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with 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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