What Sets Semi-truck Accident Claims Against Publix Apart
To the extent that most of us think about insurance, it's only to try to find the best rate for our needs. However, if you've recently suffered harms due to a collision with a Publix vehicle, the nature of their insurance policy could be extremely relevant to how you approach the legal process of holding the company accountable.
While most trucking companies purchase any insurance they want or are obligated to buy from outside providers, some opt to essentially pay their own costs through a process known as self-insurance. This might seem like a good thing, because it means one less entity to deal with who can stand between you and an equitable outcome. However, being self-insured can also give the company more incentive to fight back aggressively against your claim to protect their bottom line. Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What should you know about Publix's trucking fleet?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How might the company's decision to self-insure affect litigation against them?
What Should You Know About Publix's Trucking Fleet?
If you've spent much time in Florida or the Southeast, you may already be familiar with the Publix supermarket chain. What you may not know is that the company controls the 67th largest trucking fleet in the U.S., with roughly 600 commercial trucks driven by around 1,300 drivers, which traveled just under 72,000,000 miles in 2017. The company as a whole generated about $35 billion in revenue that year.
Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 103 crashes, of which 27 have led to injuries and 5 have resulted in fatalities. It's important to note, however, that this information provides no evidence to demonstrate who was at fault in any of these collisions. That being said, given the sheer number of wrecks involved, it's extremely likely that at least some of them stemmed from a Publix driver's carelessness.
Unlike most other trucking companies, which rely on outside insurers to pay for the cost of injuries or deaths caused by their employees, Publix uses a self-insurance model. This means that they pay any claims against them up to a certain amount, which forces victims of collisions involving their semi-trucks to negotiate directly with the same people who caused their damages.
How Being Self-Insured Affects Claims Against Publix
If you're reading this article, you probably don't need me to tell you that commercial transportation is always a potentially dangerous activity. That's why the government requires companies moving goods in vehicles above a certain weight to buy liability insurance for their vehicles of at least $750,000, with many states adding additional requirements if a company is based in their borders.
Most companies don't really want to have to be involved in the complications of commercial insurance, so they pay an outside company to take care of all their insurance needs, just as you or I would. But a few, including Publix, are self-insured, which means they pay for any claims up to a certain point and have an in-house Risk Management department that handles the process of investigating incidents and defending against liability.
This might seem like an advantageous situation, since it means you don't have to deal with an insurance company. Unfortunately, it's not without its own downsides. First and foremost, when the cost of any claims is coming out of the company's pockets, they're likely to contest liability much more aggressively than they would if someone else is on the hook.
Most people don't realize how much power a large company like Publix has to shape the course of litigation in their favor. They can convince witnesses to give exculpatory testimony, remove evidence from the scene before you can gain access to it, and present a theory of what happened to a jury that redirects the blame away from their driver.
While insurance companies aren't known for being the fairest and most even-handed people to deal with when you're trying to obtain compensation for a commercial vehicle wreck, you're at least negotiating with professionals who understand all the ins and outs of these claims. The Risk Management department at a company like Publix may thoroughly understand the legal ramifications of slips and falls at their stores, but 18-wheeler wrecks are on a whole other level of complexity. And their staff is under no obligation to so much as return your phone calls.
What's more, when you're negotiating with Publix directly rather than an outside insurer, the same company responsible for hurting you is also the one determining how much you should receive in compensation. This creates an obvious conflict of interest that makes it even less likely you'll be offered an amount close to what you deserve for your losses.
While dealing with a self-insured company introduces plenty of unique challenges, the best way to overcome them is pretty much the same as when dealing with a trucking company and their outside insurer: getting help from an experienced semi-truck accident attorney. They can do the legal legwork required to obtain the evidence you need to prove your case, push through the evasions and doubletalk of the defendant's employees, and obtain a fair resolution that makes you whole.
Grossman Law Offices Is Ready for The Complications of Suits Against Publix
The unique difficulties raised by suits against a self-insured company are just some of the hundreds that can potentially enter into any commercial vehicle injury or wrongful death lawsuit. To overcome these difficulties and avoid putting yourself at a disadvantage against the extensive legal resources of a massive company like Publix, you need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Our firm has the investigative assets, experienced attorneys, and knowledge of jury psychology to both gather the evidence needed to prove your case and present it in compelling fashion, so that your claim has the best possible chance of success. And we're happy to explain your case's progress in plain English.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Publix commercial vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're here to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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