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What You Should Know If You've Been Injured By A Performance Food Group Semi-truck

For the vast majority of people involved in a commercial vehicle crash, it's their first and only time being in that position. So it's understandable that they might not be aware of what they're up against when they try to obtain compensation for their injuries from a trucking company.

As we've observed time and time again in our many years of practice, too many trucking companies display an appalling disregard for public safety, ignoring clear warning signs of dangerous drivers that often lead to tragedy. In the case of Performance Food Group, the case of a heavily intoxicated PFG driver who caused a fatal crash holds important lessons for victims. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Performance Food Group?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • What do the company's oversight failures before a fatal crash suggest for victims?

Crash statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is Performance Food Group?

Founded in 1987, Performance Food Group (PFG), which specializes in delivery of food and related products, is currently the 10th largest private carrier by size of fleet, with 2017 revenues of almost $17 billion. Its fleet of almost 2,500 semi-trucks and more than 3,000 drivers traveled roughly 120 million miles that year.

Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 163 crashes, with 54 causing injuries and 4 leading to fatalities. While this data alone can't tell us who was at fault for any of these wrecks, the sheer numbers suggest that at least some of them were most likely caused by the negligence of a PFG driver.

While it happened roughly six years ago, before the period evaluated by regulators, one particular collision involving a driver for the company raises serious concerns about their employee oversight practices. Although it's impossible to know for sure, generally companies that behave in this careless fashion have a pattern of doing so in multiple cases. That's part of the reason it's so important to have a thorough independent investigation determine what actually contributed to a crash.

A Drunk Truck Driver, A Fatal Crash, and Missed Red Flags

When you've litigated as many commercial vehicle crashes as our firm, you're regularly reminded that the blame for collisions isn't always just on the driver of the semi-truck, but also often extends to their managers, dispatchers, and even into the trucking company's executive suite.

A crash involving Adam Shaw, who had been a Performance Food Group driver for only three months when he was involved in the incident under discussion, provides a concrete illustration of this principle. (Note that our attorneys were not involved in any aspect of this case.) In October of 2013, the driver of a Toyota Sienna was traveling home from church when Mr. Shaw's speeding 18-wheeler traveled over the center line of the highway, striking a pickup and the Sienna head-on. The SUV's driver died at the scene, while her 7-year-old son received serious injuries.

Police arrested Mr. Shaw on charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault, after which a breathalyzer test showed his BAC to be three times the legal limit for commercial drivers in Missouri. Deputies reported an odor of alcohol on his breath and found a container of liquor beneath the truck.

The fact that a driver consistently exhibiting this level of disregard for public safety was allowed to remain on the road is incredibly concerning.

Following the crash, the family of the deceased filed a wrongful death civil suit against Mr. Shaw and his employer. Depositions in the case revealed that the company had received numerous calls the month of the collision to report him swerving across the road. Making matters worse, a co-worker had notified management that Shaw had purchased alcohol while traveling an assigned route, and the company had previously reprimanded him for texting while driving.

For any responsible trucking company, a pattern of careless behavior like this should have raised massive red flags. The fact that a driver consistently exhibiting this level of disregard for public safety was allowed to remain on the road is incredibly concerning, and leads one to wonder how many other drivers for Performance Food Group with similar histories might also be placing the public in danger.

In all fairness, this incident took place almost six years ago, and the civil case was settled under sealed terms. We can certainly hope that the company took this incident as a much-needed wake-up call to impose more aggressive oversight on their drivers' behavior, including terminations where necessary.

On the other hand, if you're not willing to stake your family's financial well-being on that assumption, it only makes sense to have a full, independent investigation conducted to determine whether the company failed to detect warning signs exhibited by the driver and get them off the road before they could cause the crash that hurt you.

However, even if oversight failures did contribute to a crash, recovering compensation requires that you prove it through evidence. And all of it, from emails reprimanding the driver for texting while on duty to in-vehicle camera footage showing drinking while driving, is the legal property of the trucking company. That means only a properly drafted subpoena that meets with a judge's approval can compel them to turn it over.

Grossman Law Offices Has The Resources To Take On Performance Food Group

While not every commercial vehicle collision involves a driver with an extensive history of reckless behavior, the burden is still on you as the victim to prove that the trucking company was responsible for your injuries, whatever the ultimate cause may be. And that complex task is a burden that you shouldn't have to shoulder alone.

At Grossman Law Offices, we've been helping families just like yours hold negligent trucking companies accountable for almost thirty years. Businesses like Performance Food Group have massive, well-paid legal teams to protect their interests. You deserve to have qualified, experienced help to defend yours.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Performance Food Group vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available to take your call whenever you need us.

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