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How Victims of Crashes Involving John Christner Trucking Can Protect Their Interests

If a crash involving a commercial vehicle has harmed you or a member of your family, it's important to be aware of the protracted legal battle that will likely be required for you to obtain fair compensation from the trucking company. While trying to handle your case on your own is likely to leave you at the mercy of the defendant's massive legal team, an attorney with experience litigating cases involving commercial vehicles can help tip the scales back in your favor.

Because it's rarely apparent just based on the immediate events or police reports, determining the actual cause of a tractor-trailer wreck generally requires a thorough independent investigation of all of the factors that might have contributed. In the case of John Christner Trucking, which specializes in refrigerated freight, that includes the unique safety risks created by the large refrigeration units on their semi-trucks. Semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how this could affect your case against the company.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is John Christner Trucking?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • How do the unique issues involved in refrigerated transportation affect your case?

Crash data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is John Christner Trucking?

Founded in 1986, Oklahoma-based John Christner Trucking is currently the 99th largest commercial transportation company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of just under $250 million and net income of $13 million. Its roughly 800 semi-trucks and drivers traveled just over 100 million miles that year.

Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's employees have been involved in 94 collisions, of which 26 have led to injuries and 1 has resulted in at least one person's death. In fairness, this data doesn't tell us who's at fault for any of these crashes, only that a John Christner vehicle was involved in some way.

While there's no way of knowing what actually caused any of these wrecks, the company's focus on refrigerated freight, and the risks that it creates, are one potential contributing factor that not every attorney litigating these cases is likely to examine. That's an oversight that could leave victims unable to obtain the compensation they deserve.

How The Unique Risks of Hauling Refrigerated Freight Affect Your Case

The more pressure there is on a driver to make his deliveries within the assigned deadline, the more likely they are to attempt to "make up time" while in transit, either by cutting back on sleep or traveling faster than is prudent. When either behavior occurs, a crash with another vehicle becomes more likely.

If you're like most people, you probably don't expect the type of freight a semi-truck was hauling when a crash occurred to be relevant to the process of obtaining compensation from them. After all, if a driver's carelessness leads to your injuries, it may not seem like it should matter whether they were hauling frozen dinners, construction supplies, or bags of potato chips.

While this may be true in many cases, when the goods being moved are refrigerated, the 18-wheeler has an additional engine installed to maintain the trailer's temperature. That wouldn't be an issue, except that this engine can be fairly loud, and also happens to be installed fairly close to the sleeping berth, where truck drivers often try to get their rest.

Even if the cooling engines on a reefer don't impair a driver's ability to rest, the uniquely demanding schedules that refrigerated freight demands can have a similar effect.

This means there's at least some possibility of these cooling engines interfering with the sleep drivers need to remain alert for the remaining 11-14 hours they're permitted to drive each day. While the extent of the noise the engine creates varies depending on how well they're maintained, and can also be dampened with additional equipment, a company trying to save as much money as possible may not view the cost of either as a worthy investment.

While federal regulations require that all commercial drivers take a 10-hour break to reset their clock between work sessions, they don't place any particular restriction on what activities take place during that period. If a driver can't sleep and chooses to spend most or all of their break playing video poker or working a crossword, that's perfectly fine under the law, regardless of the danger their lack of rest creates.

Although engine noise from reefers isn't the only cause of dangerously inadequate sleep for truckers, driving while fatigued is unquestionably a serious, industry-wide problem. According to data from a government survey, fatigued operation contributed to at least 20% of crashes involving commercial vehicles.

Even if the cooling engines on a reefer don't impair a driver's ability to get adequate sleep, the demanding schedules that refrigerated freight demands can have a similar effect. While having goods arrive on schedule is important when moving any type of cargo, it's even more vital when those goods, if late enough, can literally become unsalable.

In discussing these issues, I don't mean to suggest that I have any inside information on John Christner Trucking: how new their equipment is, how well-rested their drivers are, or any other details unavailable to the general public. I only bring these risk factors up because it's important to have professionals with the means to do so fully investigate whether they might apply in your case.

As important as that investigation is, not just to finding out what happened, but also to getting the evidence to prove it did, it's not something you can accomplish successfully on your own. This is because the 18-wheeler that struck your vehicle, recordings from in-cab video systems, and any other evidence you may need to prove your case, is all the property of the trucking company. And unsurprisingly, they won't hand over anything that could wind up costing them large sums of money simply because you ask for it.

The only way to compel a trucking company to surrender this potentially damning evidence is to have an attorney draft a subpoena compelling them to do so. Because a judge has to approve this document before it's legally binding, simply writing up a letter outlining what you need and requesting it won't be very effective.

Here's the bottom line: unless your crash receives a through, independent investigation by a lawyer who knows what evidence to ask for and how to get it, winning your case will be an uphill battle, no matter how badly the trucking company screwed up. Because the burden is on you as the plaintiff to prove that their negligence caused your injuries, being unable to do so means that, at best, you may be able to obtain a paltry settlement that doesn't begin to cover your losses.

Grossman Law Offices Keeps You From Being Left Out in the Cold

The unique complications of refrigerated transportation are just a few of the many complex issues that can arise in the course of litigating your case after a commercial vehicle crash. Without the help of an attorney prepared to deal with every possible contingency, you're likely to be at a massive disadvantage against the legal firepower of the trucking company.

We know there's no shortage of law firms out there willing to take on cases like yours. But not many of them can claim to have Grossman Law Offices' nearly 30 years of experience litigating injury and wrongful death cases involving commercial vehicles. We have the right knowledge and the right people to hold both large and small companies accountable.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a John Christner Trucking vehicle, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available whenever you need us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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