What do I need to know about Atlas Van Lines?
The last thing that people who have been injured or lost a loved one in a commercial vehicle crash need is for life to get more complicated. Commercial truck crashes have enough complexity as it is, since adjusters rarely accept fault for a crash, nor do they often properly value losses. In essence, they dare victims to initiate legal proceedings. The value of commercial vehicle policies makes this a rational business decision, but people aren't just logic computers; we generally care about those who are suffering, particularly if it is through no fault of their own.
When a crash involves an Atlas Van Lines truck, an additional layer of complexity comes from how the company is set up. While the name on the side of the trucks may say Atlas Van Lines, the company is structured more like a fast food restaurant, in that a central unit controls the brand and marketing, but individuals own particular locations. Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains a bit more about Atlas Van Lines and how its structure can impact your personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Questions answered on this page:
- What is Atlas Van Lines?
- How many crashes have Atlas Van Lines trucks been involved in over the last 2 years?
- How can a company's business structure impact your case against Allied Van Lines?
Atlas Van Lines: An Overview
Atlas Van Lines is nominally headquartered in Evansville, Indiana. I use the word nominally, because that's where the company's main office is. However, the structure of the company means that this office is only responsible for branding, advertising, and setting policies that the regional Atlas offices choose to follow. Individual regional offices, with stakeholders in the company, make the day-to-day business decisions. In a lot of ways, Atlas is like a cooperative, where individual businesses band together to do business under a single name.
Combined, all of those individual agents comprise a fleet of 2,826 trucks that employ 2,881 drivers. They also have a substantial number of smaller vans and trucks, which aren't counted in most government statistics. The company's 18-wheelers travel a little over 86 million miles in a year, generating roughly $750 million in revenue.
Given the size of the Atlas Van Lines fleet, it's not surprising that Atlas trucks have been involved in a fair number of crashes over the past 2 years. Since 2016, Atlas trucks have been involved in 107 collisions, of which 33 left someone injured and 3 had at least one fatality. These numbers, compiled by the federal government, do have one major flaw: they don't consider who is at fault for a crash. This means that even if the Atlas driver didn't cause the crash, it's still included in the statistics. It's doubtful that all of these crashes were the result of a truckers' carelessness, but it would be equally far-fetched to believe that they weren't to blame for some portion of these wrecks.
Do I Sue the Truck Driver, the Agent, or Atlas?
Unlike accidents involving non-commercial vehicles, commercial truck crashes are rarely as straight-forward as filing a claim with an insurance company. While most passenger vehicles are under-insured relative to the amount of damage they can inflict, commercial trucks are over insured for all but the most severe crashes. While insurance companies certainly don't hand out large checks in typical car crash cases, the stakes are higher when the policy limits are $30,000 than when they are $750,000. Combine this with the fact that most trucking companies have the resources to cover judgments in excess of their insurance policy, and it's easy to see why commercial truck accident cases are so much more complex than typical car crashes.
Another complication is that it may not be immediately clear who should be the target of a suit after a commercial truck crash. It's pretty obvious who you have to pursue after most non-commercial crashes: the driver who caused the collision. However, after a truck crash incident, many people wonder whether they should seek compensation from the truck driver or the trucking company. Without getting too far into the legal weeds, the answer is both. It's the truck driver whose carelessness injures or kills someone, but they do so while acting on behalf of their employer.
Most companies are set up as a single, integrated entity. That means that if you follow the chain of command up high enough, there's one person, or a small group of people, who ultimately answer for every decision. This means that a legal action will bring in everyone who may have done something to contribute a particular crash.
However, the structure of Atlas Van Lines tends to wall off individual agencies from one another and the full body of the organization. One possible consequence is that rather than dealing with the management of Atlas, a claimant may only be taking on the local Atlas agent. However, there are instances where a company-wide policy might have contributed to the wreck. In those cases, justice demands that the upper management of the company answer for its role in the crash.
If this sounds complex, it's because it absolutely is. However, the difference that an experienced truck accident attorney makes is that they can anticipate these complexities and formulate a plan to deal with them before they affect victims and their claims.
Make Your Move with Grossman Law Offices
For nearly 3 decades, the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have successfully represented the interests of hundreds of truck accident injury and wrongful death victims. Over that time, we've taken on (and beaten) all manner of companies, from single truck owner-operators to the most complex multi-national corporations. This varied experience means that we can tailor a plan of attack appropriate to the circumstances of each crash. Holding a trucking company accountable is never an easy task, but knowledgeable representation can make the hill you have to climb far less daunting.
Are you interested in learning more? Then we encourage you to call us at (855) 326-0000. Grossman Law Offices answers the phone anytime, day or night.
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