When a catastrophic accident occurs, plaintiffs’ lawyers are looking to target as many pockets as possible, including the motor carrier, equipment leasing company, shipper, broker, and other entities in the supply chain. With the risk inherent in running a transportation business, simply having automobile liability coverage and contractual indemnification provisions in your transportation contracts is not enough to protect your business. Every company that operates in the supply chain needs to (1) properly structure their business to protect and insulate assets, (2) review their operations to ensure that the risk exposure in their operations is covered with the proper insurance; and (3) ensure that all personnel understand and adhere to the corporate formalities and regulations governing their operations. Blitch Westley Barrette is here to help you build the best firewall possible – designed to keep your hard-earned assets insulated from opportunistic litigants and their lawyers.
Properly Structuring Your Business and Adhering to Corporate Formalities is Critical
Whether you are a grocer with a fleet of trucks, a steel manufacturer shipping goods, an aggregate hauler, a commercial motor carrier, or whatever your role in the supply chain, structuring your operations to reduce risk of loss in the event of litigation is of utmost strategic importance. Such steps must be taken well before an accident or other claim arises, otherwise such steps are simply too little, too late. Blitch Westley Barrette understands that the price of its clients’ enduring success and growth is its constant vigilance over its clients’ corporate structure as well as its clients’ compliance with the formalities necessary to maintain such structures, including corporate resolutions, shareholders’ meeting, and maintenance of corporate books.
Blitch Westley Barrette counsels clients nationwide on how to structure or restructure their operations to maximize asset protection. Equipped with specialized knowledge and expertise in how the transportation industry operates, our attorneys are here to assist your team avoid the disastrous impact a high-dollar verdict can have on your short-term and long-term goals and on the vitality of your business.
Independent Counsel When an Accident Occurs
Despite best efforts to hire the top drivers, to train safety personnel and to comply with state and federal law, accidents will happen. All too frequently, these accidents result in high-dollar reserves being set aside by your insurance carriers, lawsuits, and ultimately, steep increases in premium. While the insurance company will assign defense counsel if a lawsuit is filed, the importance of having independent counsel should not be overlooked. The attorney hired by the insurance company is not able to act independent of your insurance carrier, and having outside, independent counsel helps to ensure that the insurance company (and your defense attorney), is taking all steps necessary to protect your interests and settle the case below policy limits. The attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette are here to serve as your independent counsel – nationwide – when the need arises.
DOT and Other Regulatory Compliance Issues
As a full-service transportation law firm, we work closely with our clients on regulatory compliance matters. We handle applications for grants of motor carrier, freight forwarder and broker authority, as well as transfers of authorities or changes in ownership.
Our accomplished attorneys respond immediately and skillfully to address and quickly restore business operations following:
- DOT Audits
- FMCSA Agency Action, Out of Service Orders, and Request to Consolidate DOT Authorities. The attorneys at Blitch Westley Barrette are experienced in responding to agency actions, including filing petitions for administrative review, safety management plans and requests for safety fitness upgrades
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Violations. Frequently, our motor carrier clients retain us to represent their drivers’ interest in non-criminal traffic infractions and in filing DataQ challenges (or requests for data review) in citations as well as preventable crashes.
We also offer guidance to our clients on issues governing their operations, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, Unified Carrier Registration, International Fuel Tax Agreement, and North American Free Trade Agreement.