BEHB Attorneys and Clients Gain Hands-On Knowledge of Heavy Machinery

By Joseph Adams
January 4, 2013

BEHB offers unique opportunities to connect with clients and provide ongoing education. Understanding exactly what our clients and their insureds do and how they do it improves communication and empowers us to better understand the nuances of related claims that are often of a highly technical nature. On November 6, 2012, BEHB attorneys Joseph Adams, Jonathan Meislin, and Erin Poppler met early in the morning with representatives from Cresco Equipment Rentals, a heavy machinery rental company, and Athens Administrators, a claims administration company that represents a number of Cresco's insurance claims. We were in for a very interesting day as the BEHB attorneys and its clients were to be trained and certified in the operation of a scissor lift and a sixty foot boom lift. Having first-hand knowledge of how this equipment works is invaluable when representing clients involved in personal injury claims involving heavy machinery.

The day began with an aerial platform operations certification course. Each attorney and Athens representative viewed a video, attended a lecture, and received hands-on training related to the safe operation of heavy machinery. Each one of us then learned how to perform a safety inspection and how to operate a scissor lift and a sixty-foot boom lift -- through direct operation of the machines. As a result of this training session, each participant was certified to inspect and to operate aerial platform machines.

Later in the day, BEHB attorneys Jonathan Meislin, Erin Poppler and Cresco's Risk Manager Ken Hartman, presented a hypothetical scenario that was based upon an actual big machine accident. The Athens representatives were asked to analyze the claim as if it were just assigned to them. The claim involved an accident with a sixty-foot boom lift, identical to the one on which the team had just been trained and certified. The accident involved a boom lift that skidded uncontrollably down a hill before it fell over an embankment and tumbled to the ground below, resulting in property damage and personal injuries. The BEHB attorneys and Mr. Hartman played the role of witnesses to the accident. The Athens representatives interviewed the "witnesses" and obtained statements that would form the foundation for the defense of the case. The Athens representatives were also informed of the value of obtaining photographs of the accident scene and the proper dealings with law enforcement investigators including the procurement of the police report documenting the accident. The representatives from Athens were then asked to determine the cause of the accident, how it occurred, and how they would handle such a claim. We then fully discussed and explained the accident from a litigation perspective. We also informed everyone that the hypothetical accident was based upon a real accident and litigation that was successfully defended by BEHB attorneys. We compared and contrasted the approach of the Athens administrators in this hypothetical situation with how BEHB successfully defended the actual accident. This theoretical approach coupled with hands-on experience and knowledge has empowered the participants to more effectively represent the client's interests when such an accident involving our insureds occurs in the future.

BEHB believes that networking, relationship building, and educational opportunities are beneficial for everyone. Not only do our attorneys connect and learn from clients, but our clients also meet each other and develop better working relationships.