Crucial Information for Victims of Crashes Involving Cardinal Logistics Management Vehicles
Many victims of accidents involving commercial vehicles may make the assumption that the trucking company whose driver was responsible has a certain amount of money budgeted to pay for the costs of their injuries, and that all they have to do is file the proper paperwork to be fairly compensated. While it might be nice if things actually worked that way: In actuality, the claims of victims are just another cost to be minimized. Without effective representation, that's all too likely to happen.
In cases where the trucking company outsources their maintenance to a third party, it creates a potential avenue for them to avoid liability by shifting the blame. Dallas truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how this can affect claims against Cardinal Logistics Management.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Cardinal Logistics Management?
- How many accidents involving death or injury have the company's vehicles been involved in?
- How could the company's maintenance practices affect litigation against them?
What is Cardinal Logistics Management?
The transportation branch of parent company Cardinal Logistics Holdings, whose 2017 revenues of around $700 million make it the 44th-largest commercial transportation company in the U.S., Cardinal Logistics Management (CLM) specializes in dedicated contract carriage for a host of industries. This type of trucking involves companies contracting with CLM to have goods shipped in their trucks, allowing clients to avoid the expense and potential liability of maintaining their own fleets.
The company operates a fleet of around 3,000 trucks and drivers. 90% of the drivers are employees, while the remainder are owner-operators. Combined, they traveled just over 200 million miles in 2017, which is further than a round trip from the Earth to the Sun.
As the miles and the revenues have added up, a fair number of crashes involving the company's semi-trucks have accrued as well. Over the course of the last two years, data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that CLM vehicles have been involved in a total of 182 crashes, of which 69 resulted in injuries and 4 led to at least one person's death.
In the interest of fairness, these data can only speak to the number of reportable collisions in which the company's vehicles have been involved, not to who was at fault for any particular incident. With so many crashes, it only makes sense to assume that at least some percentage of the total number can be attributed to the negligence of a CLM employee.
While there are many potential causes of truck crashes, one issue that the average person may not consider is the role of inadequate maintenance in commercial truck accidents. If a company's failure to perform appropriate repairs winds up causing a crash, our legal system allows them to be held liable, but only if victims are able to prove that the company (or another party it contracted with) failed in their duty to keep vehicles in safe condition.
How Do Maintenance Practices Affect Truck Crash Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation?
You might expect that trucking companies would make proper maintenance a priority, since it has a direct bearing on both the profitability of their core business and the safety of the motoring public. Unfortunately, both our firm's long experience litigating against these companies and official data have repeatedly shown that they don't, at least not to the extent necessary to avoid crashes related to maintenance issues.
In addition to data from the FMCSA showing that 1 in 5 trucks examined by the agency were removed from service following inspection, recent roadside examinations by the Texas Department of Public Safety of semi-trucks traveling through the state found that 1 in 4 of the 8,000 trucks inspected were in a condition that required them to be taken off the road until their mechanical issues were corrected.
You might be tempted to assume that this is just the product of government overreach or agencies desiring to appear productive, but federal regulations state that agents can only require semi-trucks to be removed from operation when a mechanical defect is severe enough for it to be considered "likely to cause an accident or breakdown." Danger doesn't come much clearer than that.
There are a host of mechanical problems that can lead to crashes if not corrected, from more obvious cases like brake failure and tire blowouts to those that might not immediately leap to mind, such as reflector lights malfunctioning or issues with the steering system (often caused by overloading) making vehicles harder to control.
What all of these defects have in common is that they should be detected and corrected before a tractor-trailer goes out onto the road. If a company fails to do so and a crash results that's the result of a mechanical issue that they should have known about, they can be held liable under the law.
Proving that a company failed to maintain a vehicle seems straight-forward. Obtain the company's maintenance records and if they show that a system wasn't properly maintained, then that negligence likely caused the crash. However, this assumes that every trucking company does their own maintenance work. Many do not. According to industry publications, Cardinal Transportation Management appears to be one of the companies that outsources a portion of its repair work.
Why does this matter for a personal injury or wrongful death claim? Whenever a company pays someone else to maintain their vehicles and the person they pay screws up, it adds to the complexity of any subsequent litigation, because the maintenance company might be the cause of the crash and not the trucking company. This gives the trucking company an opportunity to avoid doing right by victims by pointing the finger at another entity.
In response, when the plaintiff attempts to go after the maintenance company, its attorneys are likely to argue that the company hiring them was ultimately responsible for ensuring that trucks operating under their authority were in safe working condition. Without anyone to resolve this impasse, the interests of those who've actually suffered harm could wind up getting lost in the shuffle.
Ultimately, nothing can compel either party to step up to the plate and end this mutual evasion of responsibility, other than the plausible threat in the defendants' minds that a jury will punish them even more. Unfortunately, most people are ill-equipped to do the complex legal work necessary to hold even one company accountable, let alone two.
All this having been said, the law places the burden on victims to prove that a negligent defendant caused the harms they've suffered, and the only way to do so is with evidence, including records of repairs. And trucking companies won't hand over information that could damage their financial interests to a victim unless there's legal force behind the request. That means an attorney sending them a subpoena, signed by a judge, compelling them to turn over the evidence relevant to your claim.
Grossman Law Offices Knows How To Protect Your Interests In Truck Accident Cases
Trying to figure out whether a lack of maintenance contributed to a crash is just one of the complex legal issues the average person isn't equipped to sort out on their own, even under the best of circumstances. And the circumstances for victims after a commercial truck wreck are far from ideal.
That's why it's so important to get help from a legal team with extensive experience handling commercial truck accident cases, like the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices. We've litigated hundreds of cases involving death or serious injury over the last few decades, and that experience makes us well-prepared to do everything necessary to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions, from a thorough investigation to settlement or judgement.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Cardinal Logistics Management semi-truck, call us today at 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions.
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