John Liberatore from Primacy Risk Services sits down with Scott to talk about how companies can protect their drivers and themselves from lawsuits brought on by accidents. As the founder of a company that specifically responds to accidents and gets out in front of lawsuits, he has lots of great advice for coaching drivers on what to do in the event of an accident, tactics on dealing with plaintiff attorneys, and what safety directors can do to avoid huge payouts.
John founded Primacy Risk Services in 2000 to protect trucking companies from plaintiff attorneys; he saw an opportunity to provide a higher level of service for trucking companies who had been frustrated with claim organizations that weren't doing enough, or taking shortcuts.
Some of his basic advice for truck drivers and carriers is as follows:
- Never assume that an incident is minor. There is always a chance that a person involved in an accident will drive away and call an ambulance, or go to the doctor, and then call an attorney.
- When a letter comes in from a plaintiff attorney, to start your defense, take stock of what facts and evidence you have, and then go and find more information (surveillance footage, medical evidence, physics) that backs up your case. This effort can cost a little bit of money, but can end up saving you much more in the long run.
So how does a company support its drivers? The key is to repeatedly teach the driver safe driving practices, as well as what to do when an incident happens, especially taking photos of the scene. Secondly, whoever takes the call from a driver - a dispatcher, safety director, or anyone else - needs to have a procedure to walk the driver through all steps. Remember that they will be frazzled by having just been involved in a collision, and may not be thinking clearly. Direct them to look around for cameras, who to talk to, and what else to do. This procedure needs to be something that other employees can help with at the dispatch or headquarters so drivers are supported no matter what.
On the attorney side, Liberatore is very direct: "Believe nothing from a plaintiff attorney. Absolutely nothing." He implores you to get your own evidence, and do not rely on an attorney's word since they could be hiding key information. "They are not on your side, I don't care what they say."
It goes without saying that the best way to deal with accidents is to prevent them from happening in the first place. In the spirit of that message, here are 12 safety courses you can use in your safety campaigns.