Have You Been Injured or Lost a Family Member in a Crash Involving a Quality Carriers Truck?
People who've been injured or suffered the loss of someone close to them in a crash involving the negligence of a driver for Quality Carriers may think that holding the company to account will be a simple matter, but it's hard to overstate how difficult this kind of litigation can become.
While any personal injury lawsuit involves some degree of complexity, those stemming from commercial truck crashes involve even more intricacies than those involving passenger vehicles. Simply knowing the truck driver's negligence caused your injuries does you very little good unless you're able to prove the responsible party's fault according to the rules of our civil justice system. Without help from a legal professional with extensive knowledge of these cases, it's easy for even the most seemingly airtight claim to be found wanting next to a trucking company's arguments. Dallas truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Quality Carriers?
- How many crashes was the company involved in within the last 24 months?
- How could the amounts at stake for the company in crashes involving hazardous materials affect your claim?
What is Quality Carriers?
Quality Carriers is the primary subsidiary of Quality Distribution, the 42nd-largest trucking company in the U.S., which uses tanker trucks to transport petroleum products and other materials used in oil and gas drilling. The parent company, which also includes QC Energy Resources and Boasso America, has almost 3,000 trucks in its fleet, driven by about 4,500 drivers. Those vehicles traveled around 284 million miles in 2017, generating just under $800 million of revenue.
Unfortunately, in the course of traveling so many miles, the company's vehicles have been involved in their share of accidents. Data from the Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that drivers for Quality Carriers have been involved in 261 crashes over the past two years, of which 88 have resulted in injury and 6 have led to at least one fatality.
To be fair to the company, the agency only gathers information on the number of crashes and their results, and does not assign fault for any given incident. Nevertheless, it would strain credulity to think that at least some portion of them did not involve negligence on the part of a Quality Carriers driver.
While we may not be able to say how many of the crashes in question stemmed from the carelessness of a Quality Carriers employee, the hazardous nature of their business means they have even more to lose if a truck accident case goes against them than other trucking companies might. As you would probably expect, the more a company stands to lose from an accident claim going against them, the harder they're likely to fight to avoid responsibility.
What The Amounts at Stake for Quality Carriers After a Crash Mean for Victims
Because there's an inherent risk of serious injury or death from crashes involving tractor-trailers that's much greater than those involving passenger vehicles, regulations from the federal government require trucking companies transporting standard freight to ensure their vehicles are insured up to a minimum of $750,000 dollars. State law in Texas adds an additional $250,000 to that mandatory insurance amount as well.
That's no small amount of money, but it pales in comparison to the requirements for commercial trucks transporting hazardous freight, which, due to the unusual potential danger to the public from their cargo if a crash occurs, have insurance requirements of between $1 million and $5 million per vehicle, depending on the weight of the hazardous materials being transported.
In most cases, given the amounts involved, a trucking company's insurer has good reason to be concerned with minimizing the amount and extent of successful claims against the company, because they're the party that will have to actually pay out up to a policy's limits.
However, in the case of Quality Carriers, the nature of their policy means the parent company itself may have a stronger interest then most in minimizing the number of claims they have to pay. According to an interview with Quality Distribution's vice-president of risk management, the company's insurance policy carries a deductible of $2 million per claim. That's money that comes straight out of the company's pocket.
Given that at least a third of all crashes involving tractor trailers are estimated to have resulted from the negligence of a commercial driver, judgments against Quality in even a small percentage of the crashes in which one of its drivers is determined to be liable could wind up imposing substantial costs on the company.
In the interview alluded to above, the executive quoted also mentions that "the company is very confident in our ability to control the magnitude of claims." That confidence isn't just bluster for the benefit of shareholders: there are a host of ways for trucking company defense attorneys to attempt to reduce the amount of successful judgments against their clients, or even prevent them from being held accountable at all.
One possible avenue for doing so is attacking the victim's character. By interviewing friends and neighbors, looking through social media posts, and even in-person surveillance, investigators for a trucking company can uncover a variety of information that, taken out of context, could paint even the most innocent defendant in a less-than-flattering light, which in turn could affect the amount a jury decides to award.
Depending on the nature of the damaging information uncovered regarding the victim, it may also alter how fault is apportioned between the truck driver and others involved in a crash. Depending on the laws of your state, this could have the effect of substantially reducing your award or even in your getting nothing.
While the majority of states have laws under which victims can still recover a percentage of the total damages, in proportion to the degree of fault assigned by a jury, some require that an injured party be found to have been 49% or less responsible to do so, and a few bar recovery altogether if a jury decides the plaintiff had any responsibility whatsoever for the accident.
I know at this point you may be thinking, "all this just sounds like horror stories from a lawyer looking to get their share of a big settlement." But there are millions of reasons why what I've described here is no exaggeration: the millions of dollars at stake for trucking companies in claims like this. How can you successfully protect your interests against companies that are ready to do whatever it takes to avoid being held accountable? The best way is to obtain the help of an attorney with extensive experience handling truck accident cases.
Grossman Law Offices Is Ready to Help With Every Phase of Your Truck Accident Case
If you've been injured or lost a family member in a crash involving a Quality Carriers tanker truck, you've got more then enough to worry about without also trying to counter the effects of the opposition's scorched-earth tactics by yourself.
There are a lot of personal injury lawyers out there, and plenty of them probably list commercial truck accidents among their areas of practice. But there's a difference between being represented by an attorney who's taken a few cases involving commercial trucks and one who's been successfully litigating them for almost thirty years. At Grossman Law Offices, that experience means we're ready for just about anything that might happen during every phase of these complex claims, from investigation to trial.
If you've suffered injuries or lost a member of your family due to a crash involving a Quality Carriers vehicle, please call 855-326-0000 for more information on how our attorneys can help. We're available 24/7 to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.
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