Litigating Against Roehl Transport Is Not as Easy as You May Think
The legal battle that a collision with a commercial vehicle usually creates is incredibly complex, and depending on the factors involved, different challenges may arise. Whether it's reliance on contractor drivers, poor maintenance practices, or a negative financial outlook, a host of elements beyond the events of the crash itself can affect the process of holding a company accountable.
When Roehl Transport vehicles are involved, their decision to self-insure could mean an increased risk to the company's bottom line from being responsible for claims, which may motivate a more aggressive defense, among other complications. Dallas truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how these factors affect litigation against Roehl.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Roehl Transport?
- How many crashes involving death or injury has the company been involved in?
- How could the company's significant levels of self-insurance affect your case?
What is Roehl Transport?
Founded by Everett Roehl in 1962, Marshfield, WI-based Roehl Transport is the 66th-largest trucking company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $400 million. While the company transports a variety of freight, one subsidiary, Roehl Refrigerated Transport, specializes in transport of perishable food products.
Roehl's roughly 2,000 semi-trucks, driven by about the same number of drivers, traveled just under 200 million miles in 2017. Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles and drivers were involved in 200 wrecks, of which 63 resulted in injuries and 6 led to fatalities.
It's important to qualify this information by noting that it doesn't indicate who might have been at fault for any collision. However, it's likely that negligence on the part of Roehl Transport employees caused at least some portion of these wrecks.
One thing that publicly available information does tell us about the company is the source of payments they make in the event of crashes. While most trucking companies rely primarily on policies purchased from outside insurers, Roehl instead relies on its own funds for any claims up to a million dollars, which creates a host of complications for victims.
How Roehl's Self-insurance Could Affect Your Case
There's no way to completely eliminate the inherent risks of interstate trucking, even when every precaution is taken (and "taking every precaution" isn't the rule that many drivers swear by.) That's why state and federal governments require trucking companies to carry significant amounts of liability insurance, far exceeding those mandated for drivers of passenger vehicles.
To be specific, legally operating in the U.S. requires companies to maintain liability insurance for injury or death in the amount of $750,000 for non-hazardous materials, and substantially more for hazardous freight like oil and gasoline. The state of Texas, where our firm is based, requires another $250,000 in coverage, for a total of $1 million.
While many trucking companies purchase this policies from outside insurers, some opt for an alternative form of coverage called self-insurance. This essentially means that the company pays any costs for civil claims up to a certain point. Negotiation and other traditional duties that would otherwise be taken care of by an insurance company are either handled in-house, or contracted out to a third-party claims administrator.
This situation affects litigation against self-insured companies in a variety of ways. First and most obviously, when any judgments they have to pay come directly out of the trucking company's revenues, it gives them even more incentive than they might otherwise have to aggressively contest liability for claims. Among other things, that means doing everything they can to keep you from obtaining vital evidence and redirect the blame away from their driver.
As challenging as it can be to deal with an insurance company trying to avoid paying out on a commercial policy, they're at least professionals who handle these situations for a living. If a company is self-insured, it's likely that you'll wind up trying to negotiate with Margie in their HR department instead, who probably isn't in the best position to properly deal with the responsibilities a catastrophic truck accident entails. To make matters worse, she's under no legal obligation to so much as return your phone calls.
It's a perverse reality that when you're negotiating directly with a trucking company rather than an outside insurer, the same people who you're trying to hold responsible for your injuries are also the ones determining how much you should receive in compensation. This creates an obvious conflict of interest that means they're even less likely than an insurance company to offer you an amount that accurately reflects what you've lost.
All of this is to say that, when dealing with a self-insured company like Roehl, it's that much more important to obtain experienced legal help as soon as possible. Only an attorney familiar with cases involving commercial vehicles will be able to push back against the aggressive tactics and unreasonable offers of the trucking company to hold them accountable for their negligence.
Grossman Law Offices Is Prepared for Every Step of Your Claim Against Roehl Transport
The legal issues created by a company's decision to self-insure are just some of the many factors that can affect the success or failure of your commercial vehicle accident litigation. Without the help of an attorney with experience litigating these cases, any of them could make your claim vulnerable to a company fighting hard to protect its bottom line.
Retaining a firm that knows what it takes to win these complex cases is the best way to make sure you're not taken advantage of by a company that views your claim as just another potential debit on its balance sheets. At Grossman Law Offices, we've gained that knowledge through almost 30 years of practice winning successful judgments for our clients, and we're ready to give you the benefit of our experience as well.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Roehl Transport tractor-trailer, please call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're here to answer your questions anytime, day or night.
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