What Victims of Crashes Involving Koch Companies Need to Know
In the modern era, almost everything we do leaves behind some kind of evidence. Credit card receipts, instant messages, phone records, surveillance cameras...it's hard to do much these days without running into some kind of monitoring system.
Thanks to the technology many trucking companies are now embedding into their vehicles, that's often true for negligent commercial drivers who cause crashes as well. But the information on these devices is only useful to victims if they have the legal resources to gain access to them from a company with every interest in keeping that from happening. Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Koch Companies?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How does the company's extensive use of monitoring technology affect litigation against them?
What Are the Koch Companies?
Founded in 1978, the Minneapolis-based Koch Companies are currently the 79th-largest commercial transport company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $280 million. The company's vehicles transport a variety of freight, including building materials and ATVs. Its roughly 1,400 semi-trucks and around 800 drivers traveled just over 75 million miles that year.
Over the past two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles and drivers have been involved in 111 collisions, of which 41 have led to injuries and 1 has resulted in at least one person's death. While these numbers don't indicate who was at fault in any of these crashes, it's highly likely that a Koch driver's negligence caused at least some percentage of them.
How Electronic Safety Devices Can Be A Double-edged Sword for Victims
While nothing short of careful drivers given sufficient rest can ultimately prevent tractor-trailer crashes altogether, it's still a welcome development that many companies are installing safety technology in an attempt to address the problem. Companies willing to make the investment can now outfit their trucks with everything from lane departure warning systems to anti-collision mechanisms that can automatically brake before a rear-end crash.
These technologies don't just allow drivers to avoid collisions in the moment; they also allow their employer to better monitor driver behavior so that they can take corrective action. For example, if a company installs in-cab video monitoring services and observes a driver texting on their cell phone while driving down the highway, a supervisor can intervene to discipline the driver and hopefully prevent recurrence of the dangerous behavior before tragic consequences occur.
Of course, unless it's the kind that fully automates the driving of a vehicle (that being a seemingly distant proposition, if it happens at all) it's impossible for any safety technology to fully compensate for a driver's failure to exercise prudence and good judgement. To give just one example, while a tire pressure monitoring system can indicate to a driver that their tires are under-inflated, it can't force them to actually stop for airing up before a blowout occurs.
Granting that these devices can improve safety to some extent, they have one major drawback for carriers besides the costs involved: the damning evidence they leave behind of a driver's carelessness when a collision does occur. While cell phone data showing a driver was playing a game on their phone when a crash occurred can be fairly convincing, when it comes to the effect on a jury, it's hard to compete with a video recording of the same behavior.
However, as convincing as it may be, video evidence is only useful if you're able to obtain it in the first place. Because all of the equipment on board a semi-truck, as well as the vehicle itself, is the property of the trucking company, they won't just hand it over to you on request. After all, in the hands of an attorney who knows how to use it, whatever they surrender to you could end up costing them a lot of money.
This means obtaining the evidence needed to demonstrate the defendant's negligence will require qualified legal help. A commercial truck accident attorney can ask a judge to issue a subpoena compelling the trucking company to turn over any documents, recordings, or other property needed to prove your case, with sanctions if they fail to comply that will make it easier for you to win your case.
To cite just one example, gaining access to the internal personnel records of the trucking company will allow you to see whether the driver involved in your crash has been penalized by their employer for distracted driving or previous wrecks. If you can demonstrate that the driver had a history of similar careless behavior in the past, it will do a lot to support your contention that the company's negligence directly contributed to your losses.
Grossman Law Offices Has the Experience to Help Your Case Succeed
The potential implications of on-board recording devices are just some of the many legal issues that can affect your truck accident claim. The complexity of these cases might seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be, as long as you have legal help prepared to deal with anything that might come up.
At Grossman Law Offices, we've been successfully litigating commercial truck accident claims for almost thirty years, giving us a level of experience few other firms can match. With top-notch investigators to gather evidence and attorneys who can incorporate it into a compelling narrative for a jury, you'll have all the help you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a Koch Companies 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 hear your story.
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