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10 Tips to Maximize Truck Accident Settlements and Jury Verdicts

Written by Steve Gursten Posted September 19th, 2013

On Friday, I’ll be speaking  to injury attorneys in Michigan on how to recover better settlements and jury verdicts in truck accident lawsuits.  I’ll be presenting to the Michigan Association for Justice.  My topic is “10 Tips to Maximize Truck Accident Settlements and Jury Verdicts.”

Although I’ve presented in roughly 20 states at various injury lawyer seminars on truck accident litigation, this one is more fun because Michigan is my home state and where I still handle a majority of my own truck wreck cases.

But Michigan is also more challenging because it is a state without  punitive damages. The challenge traditionally in Michigan and the small minority of states that also do not have punitive damages is how to get evidence of egregious misconduct and wrongdoing by trucking companies into evidence – especially when the skilled trucking company defense lawyers are admitting liability to try to keep evidence of such negligence from juries.

In states with punitive damages, it almost always comes in because it is relevant to the punitive damages claim.  So I’ll be spending time teaching Michigan lawyers how to get this evidence to juries over defense objections.

I’ll also tackle many of the misconceptions that lawyers have about truck accident lawsuits – the most important being that many lawyers will treat these cases like car accident cases but with bigger insurance policy limits.  And I will focus on the importance of any injury lawyer putting the focus where it belongs –  on the trucking company.

Below are some tips for attorneys I plan to cover:

  • Deposition questions to pose in legal discovery.
  • A closing argument that focuses on the trucking company’s role in causing a crash.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules.
  • CDL requirements.
  • Outlines on how to frame and source the rules.


Consider my case, Shekoski v. Allied Trucking Company, where my 83-year-old client was run over and hit by a commercial truck as he attempted to legally cross the street on his bicycle.

The truck driver claims he didn’t see my client and also broke several other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules (FMSCRs). But the real negligence was  on the trucking company, which never should have let him keep driving a truck, and which did not supervise or enforce or properly train this unfit and dangerous driver. The truck driver already had multiple traffic violations for speeding and improper lane change, and other truck accidents that he had caused.

The jury returned  $2.55 million  for Mr. Shekoski’s surviving family members.

Related information:

How are truck accident cases different than car accident cases?

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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