What Victims Need to Know About Claims Against the Mullen Group
It's hard to overemphasize just how many factors can be involved in the litigation that typically follows a commercial vehicle crash. While many of them are related to the tractor-trailer's condition or its driver's behavior, some involve the management of the trucking company itself.
In the case of crashes involving the Mullen Group, while the company's accident rate may appear low, they operate under the same demands for profitability as any other trucking company. That means they're likely to fight just as hard against paying out on claims to victims as a larger company with a higher crash rate. Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can protect their interests and hold the company accountable.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is the Mullen Group?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- What should victims expect as they try to get companies like Mullen Group to do the right thing?
What is the Mullen Group?
Founded in 1949 and based in Alberta, British Columbia, the Mullen Group specializes in trucking related to that province's energy extraction industry, as well as transport of various other goods through Canada and the continental U.S. It is currently the 52nd largest trucking company operating in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $630 million.
The company's fleet of around 2,000 semi-trucks and drivers traveled around 30 million miles in 2017. Data from the U.S. federal government indicates those vehicles have been involved in 16 wrecks over the last two years, of which 6 have caused injuries. Thankfully, none of these crashes have resulted in fatalities.
While this might not seem like a significant number of crashes, it still means that the company's management probably has at least a few cases worth of experience defending its legal interests after a collision, which means they're much more familiar with how the process works than most victims are likely to be. Given this inherent advantage, getting help from the right attorney is the only way for injured parties to even the score against Mullen.
How Commercial Insurance Policies Affect Your Case
All too often, victims view a collision with a semi-truck as equivalent to one with a very large passenger vehicle. They think that all they'll have to do is file a report with the company's insurance, after which the insurer will conduct an impartial investigation that will reveal what happened, and pay fair compensation in accordance with the policy.
Unfortunately, because of the massive differences in dollar amounts involved compared to passenger car crashes, victims in collisions involving commercial vehicles almost always wind up resorting to legal action. When only the few tens of thousands of dollars in coverage of a passenger vehicle is at stake, insurers have more incentive to determine what actually happened, settle claims as quickly as possible based on that finding, and avoid the considerable expense of going to court. By contrast, the expense involved in paying out even on policies of $750,000 (the statutory minimum for trucking companies in the U.S.) gives any insurance company a strong incentive to deflect blame and keep the truth from coming to light.
Trucking companies also have an interest in avoiding responsibility for civil claims after a crash, because any costs beyond the limits of their insurance policy wind up striking directly at their bottom line. While paying those costs for one or two collisions might not pose much of a threat to their financial interests, doing so for all of the crashes where they're at fault easily could.
The reason these companies don't have an inherent obligation to pay the costs stemming from their employees' careless behavior is that the law places the burden on victims to prove that the defendant caused the losses they've suffered. Given the significant advantages in resources and experiences that large trucking companies have at their disposal, this can be easier said than done, even when the events of a crash seem straightforward.
Why The Police Investigation Isn't Enough to Prove Your Case
You might expect that a police investigation of the collision would provide all of the evidence you need to prove your claim, but that can be a dangerous assumption. While they certainly do the best they can, local police rarely have enough experience investigating them to reach a conclusion about what happened that can be used to prove your civil case. In addition, our firm has taken on plenty of cases in which official police reports included a presentation of the facts that later turned out to be false, either because of excessive haste to reach a conclusion or the influence of trucking company employees at the scene.
This isn't to criticize the abilities of local police in general: they may do a great job figuring out who committed a robbery or catching the secretary embezzling from the local church. But it's rare for a small town police department to have the resources to conduct a proper investigation of something as complex as a commercial vehicle collision. And because they're only concerned with punishing criminal acts, once they've established whether or not the commercial driver has done anything they can cite or charge him for, they likely won't be inclined to invest the resources or personnel required to determine if any negligence was involved.
In addition, because they're likely to be stretched thin and have many other priorities, when someone from the trucking company appears and offers to help police out by say, analyzing the vehicle's black box for them, they may happily accept, without concern for how doing so could affect a civil case against the company. For this reason, it's vital to have an independent investigator examine both the semi-truck and the scene of the wreck, so that a reconstruction can establish the most likely course of events as soon as possible.
While an investigation and accident reconstruction are important, they still won't allow you to obtain all of the evidence needed to prove your case. Depending on what caused the collision, doing so may require not just the engine control module (black box) but also personnel records showing the driver's involvement in prior wrecks or discipline from their supervisors for careless behavior.
However, because all of this evidence is the legal property of the trucking company, they have no obligation to allow you to obtain it for your use just because you ask. The only way to compel them to grant you access is by having an attorney draft a subpoena listing everything you need from the company and obtaining a judge's signature approving it.
Grossman Law Offices Has The Team You Need to Level the Playing Field
The issues discussed above are just a couple of the hundreds of complications likely to arise in the course of commercial vehicle accident litigation. For someone not well versed in this area of the law, it's almost impossible to be prepared to deal with all of them, and not doing so correctly could badly damage your case.
That's why it's so important to get help from a firm with extensive experience litigating semi-truck accident claims. At Grossman Law Offices, we've been doing just that for almost thirty years, giving us a level of experience that few others can match. And we promise to keep you as updated as you care to be, explaining the progress of your case in plain English.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Mullen Group 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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