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What You Should Know If You've Been Involved In A Crash with A Shaw Transport Vehicle

It's human nature to want to divide the world into heroes and villains, to see one as uniformly virtuous and the other as pure evil. But as satisfying as it might be to view everything through the lens of this dichotomy, things are usually a lot more complex than that. A seemingly "good" person might be doing the right thing for base and selfish reasons. Someone might inadvertently do evil while thinking their actions are good.

This moral complexity is relevant to litigation against trucking companies involved in crashes because some do everything they can to present themselves as paragons of safety. From extensive training programs for their drivers to in-cab safety equipment, they can point to all of it whenever a crash occurs and say, "We're sorry this happened, but it's all on the careless driver, not on us," hoping a jury will be less inclined to demand that their "safe company" pay a large award. Dallas semi-truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can overcome this attempt at misdirection.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is Shaw Transport?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • How do the company's extensive safety protocols affect litigation against them?

Crash statistics obtained from public records of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is Shaw Transport?

Founded in 1971, Dalton, GA-based Shaw Transport is the trucking division of parent company Shaw Industries, and the 53rd-largest private fleet in the U.S. That fleet contains a total of 750 semi-trucks, driven by around 1,200 drivers, which traveled 44 million miles in 2018. The parent company generated revenues of $4 billion in 2018.

According to federal government data, the company's vehicles were involved in 41 crashes over the last two years, of which 10 led to injuries and 1 resulted in at least one person's death. To be fair, these numbers can't speak to who was responsible for any of these collisions. But it's highly likely that at least some number of them were caused by a Shaw Transport driver's negligence.

While any company will likely claim to be safe, Shaw Transport seems to be one that actually puts those claims into practice. This is certainly a good thing for the many people not injured or killed as a result of the safety program's success, but given that some crashes will happen regardless, those harmed by them may find that an appearance of safety makes it harder to hold a company like Shaw accountable.

How Does Shaw Transport's Reputation for Safety Complicate Your Case?

Unless they're extremely small, it's vanishingly unlikely that a trucking company will be able to operate without any crashes. However, there are plenty of measures they can take to reduce their risk. Some of these are technological, like in-dash recorders and speed limiters. Others are more low-tech, like extra instruction for drivers.

Shaw Transport makes effective use of both types of safety-boosting measures. These include weekly driver orientation meetings held over video conference, yearly Behavior Based Safety defensive driving training, and speed monitoring that warns drivers when they're exceeding the speed limit.

These safety measures seem to be at least somewhat effective, given the company's ratio of miles traveled to crashes of less than 1, half the national average among all trucking companies. However, when a crash caused by one of their drivers injures or kills someone in spite of their best efforts to prevent them, the image of safety those efforts create can make it harder to convince a jury to hold them accountable.

This isn't because juries are stupid, but because it's human nature to want to punish those who do wrong and reward those who try to do the right thing. A "safe trucking company" involved in a crash muddies the waters of this moral calculation, potentially making the average group of 12 people feel disinclined to "punish" them with a large award.

Our civil justice system doesn't exempt companies from liability for their employees' actions just because they take action to encourage safe practices.

If you're someone who mostly lives your life with integrity, but you know you've made a few mistakes along the way, you may be inclined to believe a trucking company's attorney when he presents an account of the crash in which a generally safe company just had the "bad luck" to be employing a driver who lost control of his truck after suffering a sudden medical emergency or "temporary brake failure." And theories that redirect blame to other drivers or weather conditions can also seem more plausible with this perception in the background.

Fortunately, our civil justice system doesn't exempt companies from liability for their employees' actions just because they take action to encourage safe practices. They're still just as responsible for the consequences as if they were a fly-by-night operation that displayed a complete disregard for safety.

All of these strategies have one thing in common: they attempt to redirect a jury's attention away from what actually happened in a crash and onto extraneous factors. That means their success is effectively reliant on the victim not having anyone in their corner who can put the focus back where it should be: the evidence establishing the liability of the commercial driver and their employer.

An experienced semi-truck accident attorney will be able to perform the legal and investigative legwork required to obtain this evidence; compile it into a compelling presentation for the jury; and make sure that the harms you've suffered and their causes are foremost in the jurors' minds as they deliberate.

In short, while a reputation for safety is one of the many arrows in the quiver of a trucking company's defense team, it's one that it's entirely possible to protect yourself from with help from an experienced semi-truck accident attorney.

Grossman Law Offices Knows How to Hold "Safe Trucking Companies" Accountable

Trying to take on the legal resources of a large trucking company can be an intimidating prospect. However simple they may appear, any of these cases has literally hundreds of factors to consider, not the least of which is the effect of their safe practices on a jury. Without an experienced semi-truck accident attorney on your side, any number of these could leave your case damaged beyond repair.

At Grossman Law Offices, we've been successfully litigating commercial vehicle injury and wrongful death cases for almost 30 years, which has given us extensive knowledge of how to fully investigate your crash, gather the evidence needed to prove your case, and take companies like Shaw Transport on in court, so they learn that their negligence has consequences.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a crash involving a Shaw Transport tractor-trailer, please call (855) 362-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and concerns.

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