Have You Been Injured in an Accident With a Central Freight Lines 18-Wheeler Truck?
Because it operates primarily in the southern United States, Central Freight Lines presents unique challenges for those who are injured by one of their drivers.
Most people involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle mistakenly believe that it works just like a car crash, but on a larger scale. However, they fail to realize that trucks typically inflict much more severe injuries than smaller passenger cars. This means that there is more on the line financially for trucking companies, which increases their incentive to mount a stronger defense.
The diversity of the industry and the stakes of commercial truck accident cases combine in ways that most people who aren't experienced trucking accident injury attorneys wouldn't expect. For example, companies that operate primarily in the southern part of the country, like Central Freight Lines, drive on a regular basis through some of the fiercest and most unpredictable storms that our land sees. This both increases the number of crashes they encounter and affords companies unique and unexpected defenses that the average person won't see coming.
Questions answered on this page:
- What is Central Freight Lines?
- What type of trucking does Central Freight Lines do?
- How many crashes have Central Freight Lines trucks been involved in over the past 2 years?
Central Freight Lines at a Glance
Waco, Texas' own, Central Freight Lines is the 77th largest trucking company in the country. Central Freight Lines specializes in what is known as Less-Than-Truckload, or LTL Freight. Unlike other companies that require a customer to fill up an entire trailer before hauling it to another location, LTL companies like Central Freight Lines will combine a bunch of smaller loads to fill up a trailer and then haul them to their various destinations. The customer pays a bit more to ship this way, but it's still cheaper for them than paying for the cost of an entire trailer.
Business has been good for Central Freight Lines. Revenues jumped from an estimated $205 million in 2016, all the way up to around $350 million in 2017. Much of this was likely fueled by the 2017 acquisition of Wilson Trucking, a slightly smaller trucking company, but still substantial in its own right.
Central Freight Lines operates from coast to coast, primarily in the southern part of the United States. The backbone of the company is its 82 terminals, spread across 24 states. Through these terminals, 1,751 trucks, driven by 1,518 drivers, haul goods almost 100 million miles every year, or roughly the distance between the earth and the sun.
For a two year period between 2016 and 2018, Central Freight Lines trucks were involved in 122 total crashes. Of that number, 37 resulted in at least one person's injuries, while another 4 had at least one fatality. That might not seem like a lot, but on U.S. highways there are an average of 1.25 deaths from crashes per hundred million miles. This means that Central Freight Line trucks are involved in fatal accidents at close to twice the national average.
In the interest of fairness, commercial trucks are larger than the average vehicle, and when bigger vehicles are involved in a crash, there's an increased likelihood that someone will lose their life, regardless of the underlying circumstances. Additionally, the crash statistics cited above, which come from the federal government, do not take into account who is at fault for a collision. It would be irresponsible to attribute fault for all of these crashes to Central Freight Lines trucks drivers, but given the sheer number, it would strain credulity to believe that their drivers didn't cause some portion of them.
Southern Trucking Companies and the Act of God Defense
As mentioned before, the weather in the American South is particularly volatile, especially in the spring and autumn. Storms that bring heavy rains, hail, and tornadoes are not uncommon. Some of these events, such as tornadoes, are completely unpredictable. Because of this, we don't hold people accountable for the damage that occurs related to severe weather, such as a tornado picking up someone's car and flinging it into a neighbors house. The legal principle behind this is known as the Act of God defense. In a nutshell, it means that if an event is completely unforeseeable and results in something that a person could not possibly have prevented, they're not accountable for any resulting damages.
The problem that this defense creates, especially in states with volatile weather, is that there is no firm definition of what constitutes an Act of God. Instead, the determination varies on a case by case basis. In the hands of some trucking company defense attorneys, accidents that result from hydroplaning or a truck skidding on ice can be transformed into an Act of God.
This is a misuse of the defense because, while you can't predict where a hurricane will occur, heavy rains and ice storms are quite predictable. Moreover, even if the underlying weather event isn't predictable, the road doesn't transform from dry to dangerous in an instant. For example, potentially dangerous puddles from excess rain usually take more time to form than it takes for a driver to slow down and adjust to the conditions. So while no amount of caution can steer a vehicle clear of a tornado, common sense should tell us all to slow down when the weather turns bad, especially when we're operating something as large and potentially dangerous as an 18-wheeler.
In order to overcome these misused defenses, victims need to possess the ability to expose these shoddy arguments in a courtroom. Since most people don't know how to do this, trucking companies are free to raise defenses that don't quite pass the smell test.
To be fair, this particular defense doesn't come into play in the vast majority of commercial truck accident cases, but similarly obscure issues do arise. In an industry as complex as trucking, there are probably a million things that can go wrong and lead to a person sustaining injuries or losing a loved one in a crash. Properly understanding how the law applies to any one of those million things can potentially mean the difference between holding a trucking company accountable for their actions and allowing them to get away with causing a crash.
It's important for victims to have someone on their side who can anticipate not only the obvious issues that arise in the course of litigation, but also more obscure problems, which most attorneys will only become aware of through hard-won experience.
How Grossman Law Offices Makes a Difference
For nearly 3 decades, Grossman Law Offices has been helping victims hold trucking companies similar to Central Freight Lines accountable when their drivers screw up and kill or injure someone.
There is no such thing as an open and shut commercial truck crash. Every incident comes with its own set of complications that few people know to expect, which makes getting qualified help even more important. To find out what pitfalls your case presents and how to overcome them, call us today for a free consultation at (855) 326-0000 (toll free) and learn how we can help you.
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