Chronic, who is based in Mankato, practices mainly in serious catastrophic injury and death cases, some from trucking accidents. He has also practiced widely in product liability cases, some of which have been against very large companies.
His firm, Maschka, Riedy, Ries & Frentz, includes eight lawyers and a full paralegal and support staff. It also includes an investigator, which may allow an early work-up of the case prior to litigation, the firm states on its web site. The firm’s primary source of clients is other lawyers, which “is something we take pride in,” Chronic said.
With supply chain issues being a top focus, Chronic said truck drivers are being pushed to and beyond their limits, resulting in accidents, injury and death. One of his current cases is for the heirs of a young father of three who was driving a semi-truck and was struck by another semi. The facts of the accident are under investigation. “It’s not always the individual’s fault” if an accident occurs when the driver is being pushed by his employer or even his employer’s owner, Chronic said.
The well-covered shortage of truck drivers means the remaining drivers may have to work more, and the pressure may be fueling the number of truck drivers who are no longer working, Chronic said.
One trucking accident death was the 2019 death of Brooke Thompson, a 22-year-old woman from Luverne, Minnesota, who was rear-ended by a box truck while stopped in a construction zone.
A products case was the death of a 28-year-old man who fell 60 feet from a grain elevator. It was reported that he was wearing a body safety harness attached to a lanyard when he fell. The family believes the lanyard and its parts may have been defective.
Another nontrucking case was a horrific boat accident that resulted in one death and a traumatic brain injury to Chronic’s client. It occurred on Lake Shetek in southwestern Minnesota when a boat went over the top of the boat in which Chronic’s client, a man in his early 20s, was a passenger. He will need significant medical care for the rest of his life, Chronic said.
“Work energizes me,” Chronic said. “I take a lot of pride in helping people in their darkest hour. It’s a modern David and Goliath story, but we can level the playing field.”
Since Mankato is in a rural area, Chronic sees numerous cases involving agriculture and farm injuries, but he also practices all over Minnesota and is admitted in Florida, Missouri and Illinois as well.
He has two trials scheduled in Chicago, although Cook County is only starting to open up after the pandemic. “We’re looking forward to getting back into court for our clients,” Chronic said.
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