J.J. Burns has a reputation nationally as a go-to-expert on truck crash litigation. He helps truck crash victims’ families hold trucking companies accountable for their negligence. In addition, he is constantly working to implement more responsible trucking rules and regulations across the country.
A Truck Industry Game Changer
“Each crash is a tragic story.” J.J. says. “Alongside the tragedy, however, there is almost always another story—a narrative of neglect. We are keenly aware of the themes and broad outlines of these terrible narratives: driver fatigue, reckless hiring, distracted driving, poor training and supervision, defective equipment, negligent maintenance, and a corporate mentality that places short-term profits over safety, among others.”
The broad strokes are critical, but the devil is in the details. “In many cases, it is the interpretation of a particular federal motor carrier safety regulation, the definition of a specific term in a seemingly unrelated court decision, the realization of the significance of a fuel receipt or a maintenance request amongst tens of thousands of records, or the identification of the unique interaction amongst several statutes that makes a world of difference. It is crucial to spend a lot of time ‘in the weeds.’”
J.J. is a stickler for details. He has researched and written extensively about many of those statutes that impact truck crash litigation and other catastrophic injury cases. J.J. has paid particular attention to one such detail that, if unidentified or improperly handled, can rob victims of their valid claims against trucking companies—an anachronistic legal rule operating in nearly half the country that allows a motor carrier to conceal its own negligence in hiring, training or supervising its driver by simply admitting that the negligent truck driver was its employee at the time of the crash.
Experienced and Driven
He has served on the Amicus Brief Committee for the Truck Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and was recently elevated to serve as the group’s youngest executive board member. He has shared his expertise by speaking at seminars and colleges in Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, California, Nevada, and, of course, Missouri. In addition, J.J. has been published in lawyers’ magazines, journals, and publications, including publications of the American Bar Association and the Michigan Law Review.
More impressive than his professional accolades is his commitment to the legal profession and his community. Currently, he spends substantial time updating Volumes 2 and 2A of the Missouri Practice Series Litigation Guide. Additionally, he teaches an “Introduction to Personal Injury Practice” course as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School.
J.J. wants to make our roads safer. He spends substantial time in Washington D.C. advocating for the passage of laws and regulations that will improve safety on our nation’s highways and ensure that fewer families have to endure the horrors of truck crashes.
Areas of Practice
University of Michigan Law School – Ann Arbor, Michigan
DePauw University – Greencastle, Indiana
Professional Association and Memberships
The Missouri Bar, Member
The Illinois Bar, Member
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Member
KCMBA Bar Leadership Academy, Alumnus
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Member
American Association for Justice, Member
AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, TLG Journal Editor and Board Member
UMKC Law School, Adjunct Professor
Awards and Honors
The National Trial Lawyers – Top 40 Under 40 – Civil Plaintiff Lawyers – 2018-2019
The National Trial Lawyers – Top 10 Trucking – 2018-2019
Super Lawyers – Rising Star – 2017-2019
The Trial Lawyer Association – Top 10 Trucking Trial Lawyers – 2018
Missouri Lawyers Weekly – Up & Coming – 2018
VerdictSearch – Top 100 Verdicts of 2017 – 2017