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Important Information for Victims of Crashes Involving Hirschbach Motor Lines

We all hate dealing with bureaucracy, from the DMV to college admissions, and there are few more bureaucratic experiences in our minds than lawsuits. But even with all of its flaws, the legal system is often the only way for those harmed by semi-truck crashes to hold large trucking companies accountable.

While the main legal issues are largely the same in any commercial vehicle wreck claim, factors unique to certain sectors of the industry, like those affecting refrigerated freight, can also affect how a case should be investigated. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Hirschbach Motor Lines?
  • How many accidents involving injury has the company been involved in?
  • How does the company's focus on refrigerated transport affect claims against them?

Crash statistics from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data

What is Hirschbach Motor Lines?

Founded in 1935 in Dubuque, IA, Hirschbach Motor Lines is now the 87th largest commercial transportation company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $280 million. Its fleet of just under 2,000 tractor-trailers, operated by a similar number of drivers, traveled roughly 200 million miles in 2018.

Over the last two years, federal government data indicates that the company's 18-wheelers have been involved in 145 crashes, of which 48 have resulted in injuries to at least one person. Fortunately, none of these crashes have resulted in fatalities.

Of course, these numbers do not indicate which party may have been at fault for any particular collision, only that a Hirschbach Motor Lines vehicle was involved in some way. However, it's highly likely that at least some percentage are the result of negligence on the part of an employee for the company.

Because Hirschbach specializes in refrigerated transport of grocery products like meat and produce, the potential for sleep issues created by the loud refrigeration units on board its trucks could increase its drivers' risk of crashes. While there's no way of knowing whether this is the case in any given wreck without a full investigation, it's important to look into the possibility when the driver of a reefer truck causes a crash.

How Does Hirschbach's Focus on Refrigerated Transport Affect Your Case?

As you're well aware if you've ever come in to work after staying up late the night before, there are few things more important to effective functioning on the job than getting adequate sleep. This is especially true in an occupation that requires as much care and alertness as interstate trucking, which is why it's so concerning that lack of sleep seems to be a significant issue among commercial drivers.

According to a government survey, truckers average less than five hours of sleep per day, while 18% of all crashes involving commercial vehicles featured driver fatigue as a contributing factor to some degree. Given how widespread a problem driving with insufficient sleep appears to be from these numbers, any investigation should at least consider it as a possibility.

While this issue can be attributed to many factors, including trucking companies requiring their drivers to work longer hours than safety would dictate, there's one issue unique to refrigerated trucks ("reefers") that an inexperienced attorney might overlook. And since the burden is on you as the victim of a crash to prove the trucking company's negligence led to your injuries, that could be a critical oversight.

Unfortunately, reefer engines also happen to be pretty close to the truck's sleeper berth, making interference with the driver's sleep a distinct possibility.

To understand this problem, it's helpful to have a basic idea of how the refrigerating engines on these vehicles work. Essentially, a separate cooling engine powers a compressor that starts the process of refrigeration. This engine, which can be fairly noisy, is located on the 18-wheeler between the trailer and the cab. Unfortunately, that location also happens to be pretty close to the truck's sleeper berth, making interference with the driver's rest a distinct possibility.

To be fair, not all reefer engines are created equal. As many drivers can attest, the amount of noise they emit can vary, depending on how well-maintained they are. Some newer reefers are also designed with noise-reduction technology built in. However, keeping the engines in good repair or upgrading them both cost money, which most trucking companies are reluctant to spend if they don't have to.

This is likely to be especially true of companies like Hirschbach Motor Lines, whose refrigerated transport operations have even narrower profit margins than other forms of commercial freight. This also gives them added incentive to cut costs wherever they can, and fighting to reduce or eliminate claims made to the victims of crashes caused by their drivers is one way for them to do so.

There are a number of ways for a trucking company to accomplish this objective. They may coach their driver to present an account of the crash that shifts blame elsewhere, have one of their employees remove it from the scene to quickly repair a mechanical issue that may have caused it, and hire private investigators to dig up dirt on victims that makes them seem less sympathetic to a jury.

Countering these tactics calls for the help of a commercial vehicle accident attorney able to do everything necessary to help your case succeed. This includes fully investigating every relevant detail required to determine what actually caused the collision, prevent the loss or destruction of evidence through timely submission of letters of spoliation, and focus a jury's attention on the facts of the company's negligence, not irrelevant details of victims' prior behavior.

More specifically, if a reefer unit's lack of maintenance, and the poor sleep it caused, resulted in a driver causing a wreck, it's important for your attorney to gain access to the vehicle in question as soon as possible, so that its condition can be thoroughly documented, and any evidence obtained from it properly admitted into evidence.

Grossman Law Offices Is Well-Prepared to Litigate Your Semi-truck Accident Claim

If you have a job that needs doing, it's a good idea to choose the most qualified person, even if it's just to fix a leaky faucet or clean your gutters. When that job is as important and complex as obtaining compensation for your losses after a commercial vehicle crash, it becomes even more critical to be careful who you entrust with the responsibility.

At Grossman Law Offices, we've been helping victims of these devastating crashes hold negligent companies accountable for almost thirty years. With a combination of investigators who know just what evidence to look for and attorneys who can mold it into a compelling narrative, we've been able to successfully resolve hundreds of cases, even where the facts initially appeared not to be on our side.

If you've been injured in a collision involving a Hirschbach Motor Lines semi-truck, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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