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Important Information for Victims of Crashes Involving Advanced Drainage Systems Vehicles

It's a common misconception that obtaining compensation after a crash involving a commercial vehicle is as simple as filing a claim with the defendant's insurance and trusting them to make a fair assessment. But after decades of litigating such claims, we've learned that's pretty much never the case. Because they know the burden is on the plaintiff to prove their company is responsible, and the amounts at stake are often substantial, companies like Advanced Drainage Systems will do everything they can to protect their interests, even at the expense of yours.

While it would be easy to talk in general terms about the challenges that litigation against large companies after a crash can entail, one specific case involving Advanced Drainage Systems will hopefully illustrate why it's so important to have effective legal help. In this case, despite the fact that the commercial driver appeared to be clearly at fault, the company attempted to contest the extent of the victim's injuries. Acclaimed semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains what you should take away from these events.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Advanced Drainage Systems?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • What lessons does the company's approach in the Crews case hold for victims?
Advanced Drainage Systems Quick Facts
Crash statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is Advanced Drainage Systems?

Founded in 1966, Advanced Drainage Systems designs and manufactures corrugated pipe and other water management products. To deliver its finished goods, it uses the 70th largest private commercial fleet, made up of around 700 vehicles and drivers. The company generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2018.

Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 42 crashes, of which 16 have caused injuries and 2 have resulted in fatalities. To be clear, the agency gathering this information makes no determination of fault for any of these wrecks, only the numbers and consequences. It's likely, however, that the negligence of a company driver caused at least some percentage of the total.

While we may not have extensive information on the majority of these incidents, there's at least one case in which information in the public record allows us to draw some conclusions about the company's approach to litigation. This case, which involved a semi-truck driver who was allegedly both drowsy and distracted, ultimately resulted in a substantial settlement for the plaintiff. But the company did everything it could to reduce the amount she received.

What the Crews Case Suggests About Litigation Against Advanced Drainage Systems

It can be hard to know what to expect from a totally unfamiliar situation. But when you're facing a legal battle against a company as large as Advanced Drainage Systems, you can always look to how they've approached similar litigation in the past. While that approach may be typical of what one can expect from large concerns facing substantial costs, it may not seem fair from your perspective.

The case of Deanna Crews began in New Jersey in August 2015. Her vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction from David Cole's semi-truck when the 18-wheeler suddenly veered into oncoming traffic, resulting in a head-on collision. The crash caused her to suffer a traumatic brain injury, as well as foot and arm fractures. They required extensive hospitalization, forced her to move in with extended family, and prevented her from returning to her former occupation.

According to the plaintiff's pre-trial memo (a summary of an attorney's arguments submitted to a judge) Mr. Cole had been talking on his cell phone shortly before the crash. He then fell asleep, leading him to enter the oncoming lanes. In addition, the memo indicated that Mr. Cole had been on medication for high blood pressure and diabetes, although it's unclear whether either condition contributed to his falling asleep.

Because the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the defendant's liability, a company can easily avoid it by simply claiming it was your car that entered the truck driver's lane.

While Advanced Drainage Systems did not dispute their driver's responsibility for the wreck, they did attempt to challenge the validity of Ms. Crews' brain injury diagnosis. They also contended that she would be able to return to work, and that therefore her requested damages were unreasonable. Crews' attorneys ultimately overcame these arguments, winning a $9 million settlement.

This might seem like a situation where an attorney would be superfluous. A commercial driver entering your lane is obviously at fault, right? Unfortunately, in civil cases, there's no such thing as "obvious fault." Because the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the defendant's liability, a company can easily avoid it by simply claiming it was your car that entered the truck driver's lane. When it's your word against theirs, the outcome is far from certain.

Retaining an attorney able to fully investigate the crash is the only way to avoid this scenario. By drafting a valid subpoena for the evidence needed to prove your case, you can obtain all of the evidence needed to prove the company's negligence. This might include medical records showing conditions that may have contributed, cell phone records demonstrating its use before the collision, and personnel records showing a history of prior wrecks.

This case also illustrates that nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to actually obtaining compensation based on the real costs of your injuries. Unless you have legal help able to document the extent of your injuries, through medical records and physician testimony, you're unlikely to obtain anything close to your actual losses.

Grossman Law Offices Is Ready to Defend Your Interests

The difficulties of gathering evidence and documenting the value of your injuries are just some of the many challenges likely to arise in the course of litigating your semi-truck accident case. Unless you have the right assistance, you may find yourself at a significant disadvantage against the vast resources of a company like Advanced Drainage Systems.

At Grossman Law Offices, we have almost thirty years of experience litigating these difficult cases, which gives us the practical knowledge to be ready for whatever complications yours may present. And unlike other firms that may just see you as another entry in their database, we treat all of our clients with the same care and respect we would a friend or family member.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving an Advanced Drainage Systems vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're ready to hear from you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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