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Leverage is Key to Winning Accident Litigation, Lawyer Says

Roughly 95% of all Trucking accident Cases End in Settlement

A winning strategy for a trucking company in any accident litigation, whether it goes to trial or is settled out of court, most often centers on gaining leverage on a plaintiff’s attorney early on, according to a leading trucking attorney.

“Leverage is what is the key to these cases,” Doug Marcello, a partner in the Lancaster, Pa., law firm of Saxton & Stump, told trucking executives attending a recent conference. “It’s not about truth, justice and the American way anymore. It’s about those folks on the billboards trying to get an angle on you, get a hook into you, and be able to leverage it against you to get a large settlement or nuclear verdict. That’s where it’s at.”

Marcello, also chief legal officer for Oregon-based Bluewire, spoke April 4 at a session of American Trucking Associations’ 2023 Safety, Security, Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition.

“We see ourselves doing things over and over in regard to these cases,” Marcello said. “There’s an accident. The insurance companies sit back and wait. Eventually somebody files suit. We go through discovery, depositions, exchange documents. And then somebody writes a check. We’ve got a settlement.”

In the end, roughly 95% of all trucking accident cases end in settlement, according to Marcello.

He added, “The result of that has been a series of verdicts, nuclear verdicts, inflation. It is the lack of aggressiveness, a lack of developing leverages, and it’s put us in this situation. We need to change.”


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