There are a few things that can often motivate us to fight harder in any controversy, but the main one is having a lot at stake. As someone who's been injured in a crash involving a Basic Energy Services commercial vehicle, this may be especially relevant. Given the company's financial struggles over the last few years, they may feel that any judgement in a civil suit is a threat to their viability.
When companies like Basic Energy Services feel their back is against the wall, they're more likely to pull out all of the stops to avoid financial responsibility for collisions caused by their drivers. Unless victims have someone in their corner able to aggressively defend their interests, they may find themselves getting far less in compensation than they deserve. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how to overcome the challenges posed by a company in a downturn.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Basic Energy Services?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How could the company's recent financial struggles affect their approach to litigation?
What is Basic Energy Services?
Founded in 1992, Fort Worth-based oilfield services company Basic Energy Services controls the 17th-largest private commercial vehicle fleet in the U.S. Its roughly 1,800 trucks, operated by around 1,500 drivers, traveled more then 35 million miles in 2018, with the company generating total revenues of about a billion dollars that year.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 46 crashes, of which 20 have led to injuries and 2 have resulted in fatalities. We should be clear that this data doesn't indicate who might have been responsibile for any of these collisions, only that a Basic Energy truck was involved.
While it may have one of the 20 largest private fleets, the company's overall financial performance over the last few years has been far from spectacular. Following a sharp downturn in the oil and gas economy and a 2016 bankruptcy filing, Basic Energy has struggled to emerge from under the burden of massive indebtedness, and its future is highly uncertain. A business in this situation is likely to view the potential costs of losing a civil suit as a threat to its very survival, which means you can expect them to aggressively contest their liability.
How Basic Energy Services' Financial Condition Could Affect Your Case
Most of us are naturally inclined to fight back harder when we have more on the line. While many of us may just let it go if we're slightly undercharged at a checkout counter, we're unlikely to do the same if our insurance company tries to deny our claim for thousands of dollars in property damages and medical expenses after a collision.
While the amounts involved may be larger than in these examples, a similar principle applies for large companies accused of wrongdoing. If a company facing litigation related to a crash caused by one of its drivers believes that the costs of a judgment could be the difference between continued operation and shuttering, they're likely to approach it even more aggressively than they would if they felt they could comfortably shoulder the costs.
This brings us to the financial challenges facing Basic Energy Services, which are difficult to overstate. This is most clearly evident in the company's stock price, which over the last few years has descended from a 2011 high of more than $20,000 a share to today's low of between 1 and 2 dollars.
With a little digging, it's not hard to see why Wall Street is so bearish on the company's prospects. Since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, it's lost almost $270 million, with the losses consistent across every quarter of 2017 and 2018. It also has more than $300 million in debt, which appears poised to only increase. Many analysts believe that what cash on hand the company does have access to will likely be needed to replace and maintain its equipment, as well as pay the interest on that debt.
All of this is surely bad news for shareholders and lenders invested in Basic Energy, but it may not be immediately clear how it affects your case against them. If it's obvious that one of their drivers caused you serious harm, then they'll have to pay up, even if their business isn't doing very well...right?
Because our civil justice system is set up to ensure that everyone's rights are respected and any accusations are proven to a reasonable degree, things aren't quite that simple. Unless you have evidence that the company was actually responsible for what happened and know how to properly introduce it, all their attorneys have to do is show up, tell the judge you have no proof of what happened, and get the case thrown out.
While no company will simply roll over and hand you substantial sums of money, when one is experiencing marked financial distress, like Basic Energy Services, their resistance is likely to be much more intense, and can take a variety of forms. For example, if your claim involves damages for loss of the emotional support and other intangible benefits your spouse provided, the company's defense team may attempt to dig up a gossiping relative willing to testify about a rocky patch the two of you went through in the past. By making it appear that you were less close, they expect a jury will be inclined to reduce the amount of compensation the loss is worth.
Obtaining the help of an attorney well-versed in commercial vehicle accident claims is the best way to keep these and other hardball tactics from derailing your claim. By obtaining the evidence needed to demonstrate what actually happened and incorporating it into a compelling argument, they can reveal these distractions for the desperate evasions they are.
Grossman Law Offices Is Prepared for The Challenges of Taking On Struggling Companies
Trying to obtain compensation from a company in difficult financial shape only adds to the inherent complications of any commercial vehicle accident claim. Without experienced help, you're likely to find yourself receiving far less than your actual losses, regardless of how much the underlying facts are on your side.
At Grossman Law Offices, we know what it takes to prevail against companies whose negligence has harmed others, because we've done it hundreds of times over the past thirty years of practice. We've almost never encountered a company that admitted fault and made a fair offer to victims without a fight, but our experience and knowledge of both the law and the industry makes us well-prepared to give them one.
If you've been injured in a wreck involving a Basic Energy Services oilfield vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call.
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