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How a driver recovered after a life-changing truck accident

By August 31, 2022May 18th, 2023Injured on the Job, L & I, Time loss
Semi-trucks lined up after a truck accident

The truck accident that ended a career

Little did he know, the life-threatening semi-truck crash he’d just survived was just the beginning of an even tougher road ahead. Jeremiah Dawes, an experienced professional long-haul truck driver, was asleep in the sleeper cab when his less-experienced driving partner fell asleep at the wheel. This resulted in a catastrophic rollover accident that forever changed both men. 


For Jeremiah, his days as a truck driver were over. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder alone meant his career was at an end, despite the fact that he’d been a dedicated, responsible driver for years. He was severely injured and shuttled to a Spokane, Washington emergency room, where he was treated for his injuries. In the hospital, it dawned on Jeremiah that he needed legal help, and fast. He knew that just one tiny oversight, from paperwork to filing time to the nuances of the law, could put him in a dire financial and legal bind.

Medical examination room truck accident

Getting help post-accident

Facing physical and psychological damage through no fault of his own, Dawes was overwhelmed. He had no career or understanding of the law, Labor and Industries, doctors, and the unbelievable tide of paperwork. It was then that Jeremiah picked up the phone and talked to Chris.

“After he told me what happened,” Chris recalled, “my first thought was we needed to make sure he could get treatment and pay rent. Time loss was critical. Here was a man whose career was snatched away while at the same time suffering immense pain and suffering.”

Carlisle + Byers acted instantly

There was a lot of work to do. The Labor and Industries checks were paltry; Jeremiah couldn’t pay his rent, utilities, and feed himself on the L&I checks. First on the list for Carlisle + Byers was to file for Total Temporary Disability (TTD or Time loss). The employer responded by  sending out “Kept On Salary” or KOS earnings to Jeremiah. Chris Carlisle continued to review the file and ensure both contention and certification were in the file, which enabled Dawes to get wage replacement in the form of KOS in a timely manner.

Light duty baloney

In the meantime, Jeremiah sought physical and psychological treatment. He has heavy-duty equipment in his blood; he was not equipped to make a radical shift away from his chosen field. The delivery company he worked for at the time of the semi-truck accident tried to offer him a light duty job. A professionally trained truck driver was asked to sit in a corner of the warehouse and perform repetitive, painful tasks involving tomatoes. 

Carlisle saw to it that Jeremiah went through the legal process of attending the light duty job and notating the tasks requested of him. These notes were reviewed with Jeremiah regularly with Carlisle, and once those varied from the job description and limitations from his industrial injury, brought those changes to the attending physician and psychologist treating Jeremiah, after which Jeremiah no longer had to perform the light duty job.

New career, big machines

But as one door closed, another opened. While Jeremiah had frequent panic attacks and nightmares involving his accident kept returning, he was able to parlay his love of working with big machinery into something new, even exciting. Chris listened to Jeremiah’s dream of working with big machinery. With the time ticking away and the short-term benefits coming to a close, the firm of Carlisle Byers recommended West Coast Retraining. Jeremiah applied for an intense, fast-track training opportunity. He completed the course and can now work in construction operating cranes and other machinery – with a salary bump as an unexpected side benefit.

A bright future

“I’m forever indebted to Chris Carlisle’s unwavering support and flawless attention to detail,” Jeremiah said. “As terrifying as it was to lose my career, go through the accident, the rehabilitation, and face real uncertainty, it was such a relief to take a back seat and put myself in Chris’ hands. He engineered miracles navigating me through all the decisions, and explaining the implications of my choices and options. I never felt backed into a corner. True, my days as a long-haul driver are in the rearview mirror, but my future down the road is full of opportunities. Thanks to Carlisle + Byers, I have choices ahead.”

Finding legal advocacy after an accident 

Jeremiah’s story was shared to inform others struggling with the aftermath of a career-ending truck accident or personal injury to not feel defeated or hopeless in their situation. There are legal professionals out there that genuinely care about your well-being and are willing to guide you through the entire process to get you the care you deserve. If you’re interested in learning more about our services, click here to schedule a free consultation. 

Check it out – Jeremiah is back behind the wheel!