What Injured Parties and Victims' Families Should Know About Litigation against NFI
Based out of Cherry Hill, NJ, National Freight International (NFI) is one of the 17 largest trucking companies in the United States, which makes the prospect of taking them on after an accident a daunting one for the average person. Without experienced and dedicated representation, it's difficult for most people to overcome the imbalance in experience and resources between them and a company as large as NFI.
Due to recent acquisitions, NFI has undergone significant growth in both revenue and employees in the past five years, which means they have far more driver positions to fill. Given the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, companies who need bodies behind the wheel are increasingly turning to inexperienced truck drivers.
Just as teenage drivers are more likely to cause car accidents because they have less experience behind the wheel and are therefore less prepared to deal with unexpected circumstances, the same potential risk exists with newly minted truck drivers. Experienced truck accident injury attorney Michael Grossman explains how this situation could affect the prospects of victims' claims after crashes caused by commercial vehicles.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is National Freight International?
- How many accidents involving death or injury have the company's drivers been involved in?
- How could the company's recent rapid growth in employees and revenue affect your case?
What is National Freight International?
The company that later became National Freight International was established in Vineland, NJ in 1932, as National Hauling. Today, the company's largest division, NFI Transportation, transports goods via a fleet of about 4,000 trucks, of which 2,400 are company-owned and another 1,600 driven by owner-operators affiliated as independent contractors. Those trucks traveled a total of around 289 million miles last year.
Government data indicates that vehicles owned by NFI were involved in a total of 269 crashes last year, with 96 of those involving injuries and 4 involving deaths. To place this information in proper perspective, it's important to note that the government agency gathering it doesn't make any determination of fault for any of these collisions. However, while we may not know exactly what the percentage is, it does stand to reason that at least some of these incidents can be chalked up to negligence on the part of National Freight drivers.
Examining changes in NFI's revenues over the last few years, we find an increase from about a billion dollars in 2014 to around $2 billion in 2017. The company's total number of employees has also undergone a significant and relatively quick increase, going from 7,500 in 2014 to 10,000 in 2017. The rise in employees and revenue likely stems from NFI's October 2017 acquisition of the California Cartage Company.
The Significance of Rapid Growth to the Risk of Truck Accidents
Most people would expect that large employers in an industry as potentially dangerous as interstate trucking would go out of their way to hire only the safest drivers with plenty of experience, if only to reduce their own financial exposure, and under some labor market conditions, this may be true. However, for trucking company managers, especially those in charge of companies undergoing expansion due to recent acquisitions, current conditions are less than ideal.
The American Trucking Association, a trade group for the industry, has noted a long-term shortage of truck drivers, which they attribute to "a lack of qualified applicants with the desired experience and qualifications." That shortage often leaves companies like NFI choosing between hiring questionable drivers and letting trucks sit idle.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes the potential risk of hiring drivers with less experience, which is why it sets minimum standards for drivers of commercial trucks, which all employers in the sector are required to follow before allowing someone to drive as part of their fleet. If it's determined that a driver was hired and allowed behind the wheel without meeting those standards, and that their inexperience then contributed to them causing a collision, it could potentially be damning evidence in a personal injury suit.
To be perfectly blunt, while a driver history is valuable evidence after any truck crash, it's not something that a trucking company will hand over just because victims ask for it. In fact, if the company has reason to believe that a driver's inexperience led to a crash, it's in their best interest legally not to do so.
How can they get away with such a refusal? Personnel records are the property of the employer, and absent a court order, known as a subpoena, legally compelling them to do so, they have no more obligation to hand over that property than you or I would have to turn over our medical records to anyone that asked.
Filing the necessary paperwork to obtain such an order is a skill few people have, and an undertaking they're very unlikely to successfully manage on their own, even under the best of circumstances. Add in the complications of recovering from potentially traumatic injuries following a serious truck accident, and it becomes nearly impossible.
Grossman Law Offices Knows How to Get the Evidence You Need to Hold NFI Accountable
If you've just been involved in an accident involving a commercial truck and want to hold them accountable under the law, it's an understatement to say you're in for a long and complex fight. Investigating the background of the driver who caused the collision and attempting to get a subpoena for relevant records is just one tiny part of successful litigation involving trucking companies.
At Grossman Law Offices, we've been handling every complex detail of truck accident litigation on our clients' behalf for almost thirty years. We've seen and overcome almost every possible excuse, obstacle, and delay that companies like NFI could throw our way in hundreds of cases, and we're ready to do the same for yours.
To find out how we can help you, call us at (855) 326-0000. We're available to talk 24/7.
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