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Lawsuits Against CRST International Are Never As Easy As Victims Would Expect

Many victims of accidents involving commercial trucks might assume that simply recounting what happened or referring to police reports will be sufficient for them to prevail in court. However, without the right legal strategy, trucking company defense attorneys may be able to successfully deflect blame in even the most seemingly airtight case. Dallas truck accident attorney Michael Grossman discusses this and other issues of concern to those who've been injured or lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler crash.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is CRST International?
  • How many accidents involving deaths or injuries have the company's trucks been involved in?
  • How does CRST's safe driving technology potentially complicate your personal injury claim?

CRST International Quick Facts
Crash statistics courtesy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is CRST International?

Iowa-based CRST International, founded as Cedar Rapids Steel Transport in 1952, is the 23rd-largest commercial trucking company in the United States. Its subsidiaries include CRST Expedited, CRST Malone, CRST Dedicated Services, Pegasus Transportation, and Gardner Trucking, among others. The combined company transports goods via a fleet of about 6 thousand owned or affiliated vehicles, with about 2 thousand of those either lease-to-own or owner-operated trucks, and employs a total of 7,666 drivers, who together drove about 390 million miles and generated revenues of just under $2 billion in 2017.

In total, CRST vehicles have been involved in 583 accidents in the last two years, of which 193 involved injuries and 15 resulted in fatalities. That may seem like a massive number of crashes in such a short window of time, but to be fair, simply knowing how many accidents took place doesn't indicate whether or not a driver for the company was at fault in any individual case. Certainly, it wouldn't be fair to suggest that a company driver was responsible for every incident, but it's just as improbable that CRST operators were blameless in every case.

CRST International is also an industry leader in applying new safety technology for trucks in their fleet. This is certainly admirable on their part, but it can't completely eliminate the risk of driver negligence involving inattention, overly aggressive driving behavior, and other factors that can lead to crashes. On the other hand, when a collision does occur in which a CRST driver is implicated, the safety technology could create the impression that this "safe trucking company" is less likely to have been responsible in the eyes of a jury.

How On-board Safety Technology Can Help Insulate Companies from Liability

Trucking is one of the more dangerous occupations, coming in at 8th based on fatality rates, so it's no surprise that trucking companies would want to utilize any technology available to make their drivers safer on the road, as well as reduce the risk of crashes. CRST is one of the more active companies in this regard, with data from an industry publication's survey suggesting that at least some of the trucks in their fleet are equipped with a variety of safety equipment, including lane departure warning systems, speed limiters, and in-vehicle video monitoring systems.

While having this equipment installed probably does reduce the number of potentially dangerous situations that turn into tragic crashes, it also creates a potential issue for victims attempting to hold them accountable after a collision caused by their driver's negligence. The fact that the company goes to such great lengths to improve the safety of their fleet can, when combined with an account of the crash itself by their defense counsel that redirects the blame away from the company's driver, be sufficient to convince a jury that another party must be at fault, or at least make them unsure enough to reduce a potential award.

Simply introducing an element of doubt into the decision process of a jury could be hazardous for your case, for the simple reason that juries don't have to conclude that a defendant was entirely blameless in a crash to potentially reduce the plaintiff's award. Depending on the laws of the state where an accident occurred, even a jury's finding only that a truck driver contributed 49% of the fault for a crash to a plaintiff's 51% could substantially reduce their award, or even eliminate it altogether. This is why it's vitally important to leave as little room for uncertainty as possible in the minds of jurors, even the kind created by external factors like safety technology.

While all of this safety technology can certainly incline a jury to look at a trucking company in a more favorable light, it does have one severe and exploitable flaw: it leaves behind electronic records. A skilled truck accident injury and wrongful death lawyer doesn't just allow a company to espouse its commitment to safety and talk about all of the measures it takes, but demands that they prove it.

As I mentioned before, all the safety technology in the world can be undone by human error. The more technology a company employs, the more records a skilled attorney has with which to make your case. The key is finding an attorney who knows what records to look for and how to obtain them from the company, which is unlikely to hand over evidence that could be harmful to its interests without a fight.

How Grossman Law Offices' Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help You

A jury's potential predisposition in favor of a company with strong safety practices is only one issue among many that may affect the success or failure of your injury claim.

When you're already dealing with the many aftereffects of an accident involving a semi-truck, from medical complications to lost wages, trying to gather evidence and formulate a legal strategy at the same time is an additional burden you shouldn't have to take on. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have successfully litigated hundreds of cases just like yours, and they're fully prepared to handle every complication that may arise as your case proceeds.

To find out how we can put our years of experience to work for you, call anytime at (855) 326-0000. We're here to take your call 24/7.

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