What Victims Should Know About Litigation Against A. Duie Pyle
After being involved in a collision involving a commercial vehicle, it's important to be aware of all of the challenges you face, so that you can be well-equipped to overcome them. In any contest between a large trucking company, with experience defending its financial interests and substantial legal resources, and an ordinary person, the company is likely to win, unless there's someone in the victim's corner to even the odds.
When a trucking company operates primarily in the Northeastern U.S., like A. Duie Pyle, it opens up a host of potential avenues for their defense attorneys to argue that their driver was not at fault for a crash, including severe weather, improperly marked bridges, and unusual road designs. Truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can overcome these defenses to protect their interests.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is A. Duie Pyle?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How do the unique circumstances of trucking in the Northeast affect litigation against the company?
What is A. Duie Pyle?
Founded in Coatesville, PA in 1924, A. Duie Pyle is now the 79th-largest commercial transport company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $375 million. It specializes in less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipping of sundry goods throughout Pennsylvania and the Northeastern U.S.
The company owns a bit over a thousand semi-trucks and employs roughly the same number of drivers, which together traveled almost 60 million miles in 2018. Federal government data also indicates that the company's vehicles have been involved in 69 crashes over the last two years, of which 30 resulted in injuries and one led to at least one person's death.
In the interest of fairness to the company, we should note that this data can't tell us anything about who was at fault for these collisions. However, it would be truly bizarre if some percentage of the total number of crashes could not be chalked up to the negligence of the company's employees.
A. Duie Pyle's exclusive focus on the Northeast creates many potential risk factors for collisions that are less pronounced in other regions of the country, and which allow trucking companies unique defenses. Unless challenged by an attorney with knowledge of the law surrounding commercial vehicle crashes, these defenses could be devastating to potentially strong claims.
How the Unique Challenges of Trucking in the Northeast Could Affect Your Case
American truckers travel across every region of our country, but there's one area that has a particularly negative reputation in their circles, even leading many drivers to refuse to take on loads going there if they have the option: the Northeast. Trucking companies are aware of this opinion, which is why they often offer bonuses to drivers willing to take northeastern routes.
Some truckers' complaints about the region mention subjective factors like "aggressive drivers of four-wheelers." Others, such as winter weather that can be extremely severe and unorthodox road designs, would clearly be challenging for any driver, especially one less familiar with the region.
It seems like every winter brings news of more icy weather across the Northeast, and for vehicles as large and difficult to maneuver as tractor-trailers, that often leads to them causing collisions. While state governments frequently issue bans on commercial travel during especially severe storms, the relatively minor penalties for violating those prohibitions mean that many truckers (or their employers) may be inclined to prioritize delivering their freight on schedule over respect for the law and public safety.
If traveling without adequate care during severe weather conditions does lead an 18-wheeler to cause a collision, it's likely that defense attorneys for the trucking company will attempt what's known as an Act of God defense. This is essentially an argument that weather conditions made the crash unavoidable, and it does have its legitimate uses, rare though they may be.
While an Act of God defense might be perfectly reasonable in cases where, say, a tornado lifts a semi-truck and throws it into the path of another vehicle, it's much more commonly used in cases where it was the failure of a commercial driver to compensate for weather conditions (or his traveling on inherently unsafe roads in the first place) rather than the conditions themselves, that actually caused the wreck.
If you've ever had to drive on icy or heavily snowed roads before, you hopefully made some modifications to your usual driving style to reduce the risk of a collision. Similar alterations are necessary for drivers of tractor-trailers: drive slower than normal, maintain a longer than normal distance from other vehicles, and pull over if conditions become too dangerous to continue.
Another aspect of traveling in the Northeast that can increase the risk of crashes for semi-trucks involves the roads themselves, specifically underpasses. The heights of bridges in most parts of the country are designed in accordance with guidelines that take into account the prospect of large vehicles passing under them regularly. That isn't always the case in the Northeast, where many bridges date back to an era that long predates today's tall commercial vehicles.
Making things even more potentially dangerous, highway authorities in New York often post inaccurate clearance signs, meaning that there is often actually a foot or so of overhead available not indicated by signage. Having heard this, a trucker, particularly one new to the industry or traveling in the area, may decide to rely on their own judgment regarding clearance instead of obeying posted signs, which could have terrible consequences if that rapid judgment call is wrong.
Obviously it's the responsibility of professional drivers to take appropriate precautions for severe weather, obey posted road signs, and find alternate ways around potentially dangerous routes. But these hazards still create an opportunity for defense attorneys working for the trucking company to present arguments that deflect liability for the crash elsewhere.
The only way for victims to successfully overcome these defenses is to retain an attorney who knows how to refocus a jury's attention onto the evidence demonstrating the negligence of the commercial driver, by obtaining evidence from the trucking company in the first place.
Whatever The Circumstances, Grossman Law Offices Is Ready To Help
In addition to the unique defenses presented by trucking in the Northeast, civil suits against A. Duie Pyle after a semi-truck crash will involve a variety of factors that can easily take someone unfamiliar with the legal system by surprise. That makes it incredibly important for victims to have someone knowledgeable fighting for them.
Many firms are happy to take cases involving 18-wheelers, knowing they can make decent money without much effort by reaching a settlement that doesn't come close to making victims whole. At Grossman Law Offices, that's not how we go about handling these complex claims. Our priority is winning a judgement that will not only properly compensate you for your losses, but also hold trucking companies like A. Duie Pyle accountable for the negligence that caused the wreck in the first place.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving an A. Duie Pyle tractor-trailer, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We'll be here to take your call anytime, day or night.
Related Articles for Further Reading: