What You Need to Know About Crashes Involving Central Transport International
After a collision involving a commercial vehicle, you might assume that they work more or less like a standard car accident with a larger vehicle, where simply filing a claim with the responsible party's insurance will result in receiving fair compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, because of the substantial amounts involved, crashes involving commercial trucks can quickly become much more like gladiatorial combat than a simple bureaucratic exercise.
Because the financial stakes are so high, obtaining the help of an attorney with experience handling commercial vehicle accidents is the most effective way to ensure your interests are protected. Among other things, they can arrange for an independent investigation, which will allow you to protect and secure the evidence necessary to prove your case, including information on the operating condition of a tractor-trailer at the time of the crash. Attorney Michael Grossman explains why this may be especially important in claims against Central Transport International.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Central Transport International?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How does the company's high out-of-service rate potentially enter into litigation?
What is Central Transport International?
Warren, MI-based Central Transport International, founded in 1995, is a major less-than-truckload (LTL) shipper owned by CenTra, Inc. It is currently the 43rd-largest trucking company in America, with 2017 revenues of around $750 million.
The company's fleet of 3,329 trucks, operated by 3,152 drivers, traveled a total of just under 180 million miles in 2017. Over the last two years, federal government data indicates that they've been involved in 291 crashes, of which 104 led to injuries and 10 resulted in fatalities.
To be fair, this data isn't able to tell us who was responsible for any of these wrecks. While it's obviously unreasonable to assume that a CTI driver caused all of them, it's likely that at least some percentage resulted from the negligence of a company employee.
The implications of another piece of data regarding the company's tractor-trailers are a bit less ambiguous, however: their higher than average out-of-service rate. This means that if a crash occurs involving one of its vehicles, it's important to investigate whether an uncorrected mechanical issue may have been a contributing factor.
How Central Transport International's Out-of-Service Rate Affects Your Case
A trucking company's vehicle out-of-service rate is one of the key public metrics by which to evaluate their attention to proper maintenance. This data point indicates the percentage of their semi-trucks examined by federal inspectors and "found to be hazardous to operate and likely to cause an accident or breakdown."
Given the many risks of operating vehicles as large as 18-wheelers with major mechanical issues, it would be reasonable to expect that trucking companies would take great pains to make this percentage as low as possible. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn't suggest that they do. According to the most recent data available, the national average out-of-service rate across the commercial transportation industry as a whole is 20%.
While vehicles declared out-of-service are required to be taken off the road until sufficient repairs are performed and documented, an average out-of-service percentage of one-fifth is still worryingly high. That's because the lack of attention to proper maintenance it suggests means that other vehicles in many commercial fleets, even if they haven't yet reached the point of being taken out of service, may still not be maintained as judiciously as they should be, increasing the odds of a crash due to mechanical failure.
The fact that the national average among all trucking companies is as unacceptably high as it is makes it that much more egregious that Central Transport's percentage exceeds it, at almost a quarter of their fleet. That means that any attorney attempting to litigate a case against the company after a crash would be remiss not to investigate the possibility that a mechanical issue might have contributed.
There are a host of tasks involved in properly conducting such an investigation, with the first and most important being to gain access to the tractor-trailer involved as soon as possible after the wreck. We've seen a number of cases in which investigators or employees of a trucking company arrive at the scene after a crash not long after police and paramedics, where they may tamper with evidence or attempt to influence witnesses. An agent of the company will also likely remove the truck from the scene as quickly as possible, at which point any potentially incriminating mechanical defects are likely to be corrected.
When independent investigators arrive, they can collect a host of evidence vital to demonstrating the trucking company's liability for a crash. This includes a laser map of the scene, ECM (black-box) data showing the semi-truck's behavior just before it occurred, and data from a GPS or electronic log indicating whether a driver may have exceeded their legally mandated hours-of-service limits.
Other critical pieces of evidence needed to determine whether mechanical issues were the cause of an accident would include a truck's maintenance or repair records, which can show if necessary maintenance was performed before a crash, as well as the records of prior federal inspections showing defects in need of correction.
However, depending on how much time has passed between the crash and the start of the investigation, the tractor-trailer involved may already be in the possession of the trucking company, along with any evidence it contains. Fortunately, even if the vehicle is no longer at the scene of the crash, a semi-truck accident attorney can send a letter of spoliation, which compels the trucking company to preserve it and any other evidence needed to prove your case.
As you can imagine, all of this investigation is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish on your own. As a result, without an experienced legal team on your side who knows the right process to follow for obtaining evidence and getting it properly admitted in court, you'll be at a severe disadvantage against the trucking company's lawyers and investigators.
How Grossman Law Offices Helps Victims Hold Trucking Companies Accountable
Mechanical failure of a tractor-trailer is just one of the many factors that could potentially arise in the course of litigating any semi-truck collision. Only the help of an attorney with extensive experience litigating these claims will allow you to determine what actually caused any given wreck, as well as prove it to the extent the law requires.
At Grossman Law Offices, we don't need to rely on bluster or flowery language to persuade you. That's because our record speaks for itself: nearly 30 years of success resolving truck accident injury and wrongful death cases and winning multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients.
While no two commercial vehicle collisions are the same, we've found that our process can usually achieve strong results: hiring the best investigators to gather and preserve evidence, turning that evidence into a strong narrative, and presenting it with passion and conviction before a jury.
If you've been injured or lost a family member in an accident involving a Central Transport International vehicle, please call us at 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to hear your questions or concerns.
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