What Victims Should Know About Claims Against Cassens Transport
It would be nice to live in a world where we could always expect to be treated fairly by other people, but, as most of us wind up learning the hard way sooner or later, that expectation is a risky one to rely on. This is especially true when trying to obtain compensation from a trucking company after their driver's negligence has resulted in your injury or a loved one's death.
In the case of Cassens Transport, the company's unionized workforce means that they may have higher costs than competing firms, which in turn may affect how aggressively they defend claims against them. Dallas truck accident injury attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can overcome the opposition's tactics to hold Cassens accountable.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Cassens Transport?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How could the higher costs of the company's unionized workforce affect their approach to litigation?
What is Cassens Transport?
Illinois-based car hauling company Cassens Transport, founded in 1936, is currently the 85th largest commercial transportation company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of just over $300 million. Its fleet of around 1,200 hauler trucks and about 850 drivers traveled almost 65 million miles that year.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's drivers have been involved in a total of 104 wrecks, of which 29 have led to injuries and 1 has resulted in at least one person's death. It's important to note that this information can't tell us who is at fault for any particular collision. However, there's a strong likelihood that at least some percentage of them were caused by a Cassens driver's negligence.
One aspect of Cassens' operations that sets them apart from the vast majority of other trucking companies is their unionized workforce. While this may be good for its drivers, it also means higher labor costs for Cassens, potentially leaving them with greater incentive than other companies to pay victims of wrecks caused by their drivers as little as possible.
How the Costs of Cassens' Unionized Workforce Could Affect Your Case
From the beginning, I should make it clear that this article won't be addressing the pros and cons of labor unions for workers or the larger economy; there are plenty of other places on the Internet where both sides can have their say and you can make up your own mind. One conclusion that largely isn't in dispute, however, is that unionized workforces are more expensive for management.
Because Cassens is a private company, it's difficult to determine how their labor costs compare to the non-union competition, but it seems reasonable to extrapolate based on salary data for truckers as a whole. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average wages for unionized truck drivers are about $4/hour higher than non-union drivers, and that's even before considering the substantial costs of union-mandated benefits like health insurance and pension plans.
Those extra benefits may make companies like Cassens more attractive to prospective employees and reduce turnover for current workers, but the extra costs they impose have contributed to the bankruptcy of many trucking companies over the years, most recently New England Motor Freight.
Because the costs mandated by unions are essentially baked in and can't be reduced without long, expensive negotiations, unionized companies like Cassens have less flexibility in the event of a downturn or unexpected critical issue. That means they have to do everything they can to reduce those costs that are within their control, one of which is payments to victims of crashes caused by their drivers.
Having litigated these cases for as many years as we have, our firm is very familiar with the various tactics trucking companies can resort to in an effort to avoid or reduce the amount they pay to victims of crashes. For example, if a tractor-trailer sideswipes your vehicle, sending it off the road, the company might claim that you cut the truck off.
Since the burden is on you to prove that a trucking company caused the crash, even explanations unsupported by the facts, if not disproven, can significantly reduce the compensation you're able to obtain. This is partially because what are known as comparative fault laws in many states mean that payments in civil suits can be reduced or eliminated, based solely on how much of the blame a jury places on the plaintiff.
In addition to trying to shift blame onto you for the collision, trucking companies and their insurers may also attempt to limit what they owe by claiming that prior injuries or a preexisting medical condition, not the wreck, actually caused your losses. It's entirely possible to defeat this argument with testimony from physicians and medical experts, but it's incredibly difficult to do so without an attorney's help.
Overcoming these tactics requires compelling evidence, most of which, from the semi-truck's maintenance records to on-board video recorders, is the property of the trucking company. Because of this, they don't have to (and won't) hand it over unless forced to do so by a properly drafted subpoena.
How Grossman Law Offices Can Help Your Claim Succeed
Having read all of this, you may feel as though the obstacles standing in your way are so massive that you may as well give up and take whatever paltry settlement the trucking company's insurer is offering you. While the many legal challenges of forcing companies like Cassens to the bargaining table may be significant, they're far from insurmountable with the right help.
At Grossman Law Offices, we've been successfully litigating claims against trucking companies large and small for almost 30 years. While we can't guarantee specific results, we can promise to give your case the thorough investigation and attention it deserves, and to be there for you through the entire course of your claim.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Cassens Transport tractor-trailer, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help. We're here to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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