Important Information for Victims About Litigation Against HEB
Grocery chain HEB's name stands for "Here Everything's Better." But if you've been harmed by the negligence of one of their fleet drivers, you may find that the slogan doesn't exactly ring true. Like most large companies, HEB's primary goal is to pay as little on your claim as possible, and they'll stop at very little within the law to accomplish it.
While it may not be the first thing you think of when considering how to pursue your claim against HEB, the massive extent of their liability insurance could easily motivate them to fight harder than they otherwise would. Unless you have a strong advocate looking out for your interests, you may find that holding them accountable is more challenging than you expect. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What should victims know about HEB's trucking fleet?
- How many crashes involving injury or death have the company's vehicles been involved in?
- How could the company's above-standard insurance coverage affect your case?
What Should You Know About HEB's Trucking Fleet?
Founded in 1905, Texas-based grocery chain HEB controls the 86th largest private trucking fleet in the U.S., with just over 500 tractor-trailers driven by around 1,000 drivers, which traveled roughly 60 million miles in 2018. The company generated total revenues that year of $21 billion.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates HEB's vehicles have been involved in 51 crashes, of which 17 have led to injuries and 3 have resulted in fatalities. To be fair, this data alone can't demonstrate who was responsible for any of these collisions, although it's highly likely that at least some of them were caused by an HEB driver's negligence.
How Could HEB's Substantial Insurance Coverage Affect Litigation Against Them?
If there's one thing you learn pretty quickly as an attorney specializing in tractor-trailer accident claims, it's that commercial transportation can be a dangerous business. Whatever efforts companies may make to mitigate them, the risks of massive vehicles being driven without adequate caution will always exist to some degree.
Our government recognizes this risk, which is why the agency that regulates the industry, the FMCSA, requires all companies transporting freight across state lines to be insured for a minimum of $750,000. States add their own requirements for companies incorporated inside their borders, so a company based in Texas, like HEB, is required to be insured for at least $1 million.
However, these are just statutory minimums, which some companies may choose to exceed. To the extent they decide to do so, it creates that much more incentive for their insurance company to aggressively contest claims against them with every means at their disposal. If you've ever been involved in a car accident, you probably know how hard an insurance company can fight just to avoid paying out on a policy of $40,000 or so. Given that HEB is insured for $5 million per vehicle, or roughly 125 times that amount, their insurer's resistance is likely to be ratcheted up accordingly.
You might think, and not unreasonably, that this aggressive pushback would only come into play in cases where the defendant's fault wasn't obvious. But under our civil justice system, you can't obtain compensation from a company unless you're able to prove their carelessness to the extent required by law. And accomplishing that goal can be much harder than you might expect, particularly given the many tactics these companies and their insurers have to defend themselves.
These strategies are often first executed shortly after the collision, with employees of the company arriving at the scene to remove the tractor-trailer before it can be examined. This allows any mechanical defects to be repaired, potentially incriminating records to be wiped clean, and so on. We've even seen cases in which the police acquiesced in this behavior, letting the company's investigators be the first to look over the vehicle's ECM data, despite the obvious conflict of interest involved.
While this is the first avenue of defense for an insurance company's legal team to protect their client from liability, it's certainly not the last. Once the case finally goes to trial, the company's legal team still has plenty of options for deflecting fault onto you or a conveniently unavailable mystery driver, questioning the extent or value of your losses, and otherwise undermining your case.
Fortunately, there's no reason you should have to be at the mercy of these tactics. An attorney with experience litigating commercial vehicle accident claims will be able to effectively push back against these efforts by obtaining the evidence you need from the trucking company and presenting it to a jury in compelling fashion.
One reason it's so important to have an attorney's help when pursuing your claim against companies like HEB is that the evidence needed to prove your case is largely in their possession. That means you won't be able to get it from them without filing the proper legal documents compelling them to turn over any needed documents or recordings.
Grossman Law Offices Has The Knowledge and Experience To Take On HEB
The difficulties that a company's substantial insurance coverage creates are just a small portion of the many complex challenges involved in civil litigation after a commercial vehicle collision. Unless you have help from someone who's dealt with all of these difficulties time and time again, even the strongest case may be compromised.
At Grossman Law Offices, our almost thirty years of experience litigating semi-truck accident cases gives us a knowledge of the legal processes involved and the industry itself, that not many firms can match. There's very little we haven't seen and overcome in that time, and we're always happy to explain the progress of your case in plain English.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving an HEB vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions.
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