What Victims and Their Families Should Know About Litigation Against Foster Farms
If you're someone who's used to handling things on your own, you may think that you can negotiate a fair deal with a trucking company whose driver injured you just as easily as you could a decent price for a new car or a lower cable bill. Unfortunately, because these businesses have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by offering you as little as possible and hoping you go away, legal action will almost certainly be required to get fair compensation from them.
Simply filing suit and testifying to your injuries won't be enough to prevail either. As one case involving Foster Farms illustrates, these companies will do everything they can to redirect the blame for the collision onto you, challenge the validity of your injuries, and prevent you from obtaining the evidence needed to prove your case. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can overcome these challenges.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Foster Farms?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- What lessons does the company's behavior in the St.John Parisian case hold for victims?
What is Foster Farms?
Founded in 1939, California-based poultry producer Foster Farms controls the 82nd-largest private trucking fleet in the U.S., with a total of roughly 500 trucks, driven by around the same number of drivers, which traveled almost 24 million miles in 2017. It generated revenues of $2.4 billion that year.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's semi-trucks have been involved in 24 crashes, of which 5 have led to injuries and 1 resulted in at least one person's death. It's important to note that these numbers don't show who was at fault for any of these collisions, although at least some were likely the result of a Foster Farms driver's carelessness.
In most cases, we don't know much about the specific circumstances of these crashes. But in at least one case, information from a civil suit filed against the company provides a host of information that victims should know as they attempt to obtain fair compensation for their losses.
Why the St. John Parisian Case Matters for Victims
Examining the way a person or company has behaved in the past is often the best way of finding out what you can expect from them in the future. That's why it's useful to examine cases in the public record when determining how to approach your case against a trucking company.
One prominent incident involving Foster Farms took place in April of 2006. Chela St. John Parisian was traveling north on California's 101 Freeway when she began to pass a Foster Farms tractor-trailer on her right. She observed the front wheels of the vehicle's truck portion begin to move into her lane, and feeling a collision was imminent, attempted to change lanes to the left, but had no room to do so. As a result, the semi-truck hit her car on the passenger side, sending it into a road divider twice in succession.
Ms. St. John Parisian filed a civil suit against the company, seeking damages for the serious injuries she suffered in the collision. While it was ultimately resolved in her favor with a significant judgement, the tactics the company's attorneys deployed in the case display many of the patterns we often see in semi-truck accident cases. (Disclaimer: our firm was not involved in any aspect of this case.)
First, the company attempted to deny any involvement in the crash, claiming that the victim had described the trailer as white and that they had ceased using trailers of that color two years earlier. A human factors expert for the plaintiff testified that this misidentification may have been caused by her only being able to see a portion of the truck and her attention being focused on the lane she was trying to merge into.
In any event, Foster Farms eventually admitted that they both owned the 18-wheeler responsible for the crash and employed its driver, Jesus Sepulveda. While this meant that they could be held responsible for the plaintiff's injuries, it also raises major questions about the company's hiring practices, given that Mr. Sepulveda had a history of three prior traffic offenses on his record, was on the verge of having his license revoked, and had been fired from a previous trucking job for safety violations.
The company's defense team also attempted to shift the blame for the wreck onto the victim, claiming that she failed to brake in time to avoid the collision. The court correctly determined that there was nothing Ms. Parisian could have done to prevent the crash, but you can expect a similar tactic from the trucking company in your case.
Lawyers for Foster Farms also attempted to challenge Ms. Parisian's claimed damages, attempting to admit evidence of her past treatment for depression to argue that her requested compensation for the mental anguish of her severe injuries was excessive. While her attorney was able to push back and prevent this evidence from being admitted, her damages might otherwise have been substantially reduced.
While every case is different in its particulars, victims of crashes involving Foster Farms can expect to face many of the same tactics Ms. Parisian did, from redirecting the blame for the collision onto the victim to challenging the emotional impact of their injuries. To prevail in the face of these claims, it's vital for them to have legal help able to demonstrate their absurdity through evidence and argument.
This case also illustrates the importance of having an attorney able to conduct a thorough investigation of your crash. Without accident reconstructionists able to demonstrate what actually happened and hiring records from Foster Farms showing their employee's history of unsafe driving, it's unlikely that the plaintiff would have been able to obtain such a substantial award.
Grossman Law Offices Is Prepared for The Challenges of Litigation Against Foster Farms
There are hundreds of possible issues that can affect the success or failure of any commercial vehicle accident claim, and any of them, if not properly handled, could badly compromise your ability to obtain fair compensation from a company like Foster Farms. Obtaining legal help that knows exactly how to proceed is the best way to protect your interests.
While many firms are willing to take cases involving commercial vehicles, not all of them can claim Grossman Law Offices' nearly 30 years of experience successfully litigating these complex claims. Knowing their ins and outs as well as we do, there's nothing a trucking company can throw at us that we haven't seen and overcome dozens of times before. And we're always willing to explain the progress of your case in plain English.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Foster Farms tractor-trailer, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're ready to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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