This is the transcript of an interview with Attorney Richard Mitzel regarding truck accidents. (edited to enhance readability)
Interviewer: Well, good morning. We’re here this morning with Attorney Rick Mitzel. Rick is a personal injury attorney in Tampa. Rick, how are you doing this morning?
Richard Mitzel: Good, good. Thank you.
Interviewer: Excellent. Rick, today why don’t we talk about truck accidents? And you do a lot with automobile accidents, and truck accident is kind of a part of that area. So I’m going to turn the floor over to you and say go ahead and discuss what’s important with regard to truck accidents.
Richard Mitzel: Right. Well first of all, let me say when I talk about truck accidents, no, I’m not usually talking about pick-up trucks or delivery vans, those types of things. I’m talking usually about the big rigs, the big heavy duty rigs that weigh thousands and thousands of pounds, when they hit somebody; you know you’ve been hit.
And I’m going to reference a case. So I’m in a suit right now that happened about a year ago now. A lady was at a stop sign and some big truck, it was a sand truck or rock hauler truck – he thought he could make the light the light had changed. He hit the brakes the brakes were faulty. The truck was in bad repair it went over and hit the lady’s little car. Not only did he hit her once in the back, but he spun around and hit her again in the front. So she was hit twice by this big truck.
She was temporarily knocked unconscious and came too. And the interesting thing is that she had three kids with her in the car. None of those kids sustained an injury. But she, the driver behind that steering wheel, sustained serious injuries.
Obviously the first thing to be done, if you’re able to because of your injuries, is to call the police. I’m sure those kinds of accidents, assuming it’s a busy thoroughfare, somebody will call the police but, call the police and they’ll usually call an ambulance to come take care of the person.
In this particular case, again like in so many cases, she didn’t feel bad. She went to the emergency room. She was shook up obviously. Her neck hurt a little bit, etc. And they sent her home from the emergency room and told her to seek medical care for her aches and pains.
But about a week or so later, she had found me online and called me. We got together and discussed the case. Again, she was sort of black and blue. I thought, “Well, it’s not an unfortunate case. This lady is okay. She’s got some black and blue with little nosebleed or little pain in her neck and low back. No big a deal.”
But as I talked to her, I found out that this truck hit her twice as I’ve mentioned a minute ago. I also found out that she was knocked unconscious, not for a protracted period of time, but some period of time. She was unconscious. And what that means to me and people that handle these trucking cases where this huge weight slams into a little tiny compact car. And if you are having periods or episodes of unconscious, she could well have sustained traumatic brain injury, TBI.
And sure enough, we had her seen and evaluated by people familiar with these types of injuries, and she did have traumatic brain injury, two different parts of her brain, one on the front and one on the side. She had a lot of memory loss. She broke down and cried quite easily. She was short with her husband and so forth and so on. And ultimately, we tried to settle a case and we couldn’t do it successfully because this is one substantial case. And now, we’re in suit.
One thing I will tell you, which is a benefit if you can look at it that way with the trucking accident, is usually, you have substantial insurance coverage in place. As opposed to a car accident. Sometimes, they don’t have any insurance. Or very little insurance. But here with this trucking company, like so many of them, they had a minimum of a million dollars insurance coverage. But she’s got a case that’s worth all of that if not more.
She still suffered. I’ve had her seen by a psychologist. I’ve had her seen by behavior analyst. She undoubtedly will need help for the rest of her life. And also, she’s got a ruptured disk in her neck and a ruptured disk in her low back. Her foot was caught underneath the brake pedal in the accident. And she tore some ligaments and has difficultly in walking.
So she needs multiple surgeries, one for the neck, one for the low back, one for the ankle. Now, there’s no surgery that you can do for a traumatic brain injury. There are medications. There are therapies you can undergo, but this lady is going to have problems. And she’s only 31 years old. She’ll never be able to work again. She’s going to have a lot of these problems for the rest of her life. Her husband is a saint. He loves her dearly, but it is difficult she goes into one of her episodes where she can’t remember things.
One day, she forgot the stove was on, she had some water on it, and the kitchen caught on fire. Because her memory was so bad– but the point is trucking accidents are big deals. They’re very serious accidents usually. People are usually very seriously hurt if not killed.
And so you want to get an experienced truck accident attorney whose handled these cases and continues to handle these cases on a regular basis because they’re difficult to handle. The insurance companies will get the best lawyers they can to defend these cases. They’ll try every which way they can to get off from paying or paying a fair amount of money. And usually, the only way we can do it is to go to court and then try the case. And If you do that, usually you’re going to be successful assuming you get an attorney who knows how to handle these kinds of cases.
A few years ago, I handled a case where a guy with a pick-up truck was hit by a train. His wife and two daughters were killed. And I tried that case and got a successful resolution on the case in trial in Tampa about 20 years ago.
But again, when you’re hit by these big objects, a big train or big truck, anything like that, you better get a lawyer that knows how to handle these serious brain damaged cases. And I’ve done that. I will continue to do that.
And if you have any questions about your accident, if you had one with a truck like I’m talking about, call me (813) 381-5410. I’ll be glad to discuss it. There’s no charge. And I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. And if we can get together and discuss the case and retain me, wonderful, I’d be glad to do so.
Interviewer: Well Rick, thanks for your insight there. That’s certainly a lot more involved there than the typical little fender-bender.
Richard Mitzel: No question about that. You won’t have any fenders left after this is done.
Interviewer: Okay. So I guess the advice is that if you’ve been involved in an accident with a large truck, then talk to an attorney. Call Rick and talk with him (813) 381-5410. He’s an experienced in that area. Not all attorneys are. And He’ll be happy to talk with you and give you some good advice.
Richard Mitzel: Thank you.