Attorney Rocky Wilkins Talks About His Experience Trying Car & Trucking Accident Cases

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Jackson-based attorney Rocky Wilkins has been representing people injured in car & truck accidents for the past 15 years.

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0:02 So my name is Rocky Wilkins and I'm an attorney. I've been practicing almost 20 years 0:07 from Jackson. I'm in Jackson Mississippi. I've done a lot of car wrecks. I started 0:11 off as a defense lawyer I decided I didn't like that and since, for the last 0:15 15 years, I've been representing people that are hurt in car wrecks. I do a lot 0:19 of trucking cases. I joined Morgan & Morgan last year and I'm focused on 18-wheeler 0:24 wrecks and other automobile wrecks and I really enjoy what I do and helping other 0:29 people. You know it happens more than people like to think, but a lot of times 0:36 the officer, you know, not through anything intentional, will make a mistake 0:40 and so what I think you have to do is, as soon as possible, 0:44 go and talk to the officer and try and get them to them to amend the report. Sometimes 0:47 that's hard to do and I've had to try cases where the officer actually had the 0:50 accident at the wrong intersection, but you've got to remember they're doing the 0:54 best they can they also are working hundreds, if not thousands, of wrecks over 0:57 their career and sometimes they don't remember the specifics of each 0:59 individual wreck. But if there is a mistake, you need to try and fix it 1:03 immediately. 1:07 Well I think it's night and day between a trucking wreck and just a 1:10 run-of-the-mill car wreck. And so I've had a lot of experience over the years 1:13 in working on trucking cases, 18-wheeler cases. And the big difference is they 1:18 have, they involve, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and that's a 1:22 book about this thick that the truckers have to follow. And it's things like, that 1:25 they have to inspect their vehicle. That they have to have a physical. That they 1:28 have to keep hours of service when they're driving. And the number one cause 1:34 of wrecks is fatigue and that's why the federal government has come in and 1:38 mandated drivers can only drive a certain number of hours because once 1:42 they get over those hours, you see the rate of crashes go sky-high. 1:49 Well, the biggest difference between a trucking wreck and a car wreck is these 1:54 18-wheelers are 50,000 pounds plus. And anytime something that heavy hits a car, 1:59 a person, or anything, you're going to have catastrophic injuries. So the 2:03 injuries in a trucking case are generally much, much worse than in a car 2:08 wreck. 2:10 In a regular auto accident you see a lot more of the sprains and strains. Usually 2:17 in a trucking case, you see more permanent injuries. You see broken bones, surgeries. 2:22 Permanent injuries -- things that will impact someone's work ability for life. I just 2:27 tried a case in Jackson where a man was permanently injured. He had to have a 2:32 hip surgery, he had to have rods and screws put in his body. Those are for 2:36 life. It's what I call a "Forever Case." So, he was not able to work anymore. He was 2:41 bound in a wheelchair. And after a week-long jury trial, the jury awarded 2:45 $3.5 million dollars. 2:49 I think this... You can certainly be injured in a low-impact wreck. I think 2:54 that it is a misconception that the insurance industry has put out there 2:58 that if you have a low speed, low property damage wreck that you can't be 3:03 hurt. They actually know that's not true. But what is more important than what the 3:08 vehicles look like is what your body does. And if your neck snaps, you 3:13 certainly can be hurt. You can be permanently hurt. Well, anytime I get 3:19 hired on a trucking case I get a team of experts that I've used before and that 3:23 includes an accident reconstructionist that I hire. Usually someone that's an 3:28 expert in Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations to look at the logbooks for 3:31 the driver that caused the wreck. So what we do is we take the information from 3:35 the state and then we do a much more thorough investigation and spend a lot 3:40 of time putting the whole wreck together. And it's based on science and it's based 3:44 on their experience and their education/ And it really helps the jury understand 3:48 why and how did this wreck happen. 3:54 You know, in the last 20 years I've tried a lot of jury trials. Probably close to 3:58 50 by now. I have tried the minor injury cases. I've tried the permanently injured, 4:04 catastrophic cases. And I've tried, unfortunately, the cases where someone's 4:08 lost a loved one.. So, I've tried death cases. 4:10 I've tried big and small cases and I think that if you are a true trial 4:15 lawyer, that you're going to do all kinds of cases and so I have.