Injured in A Crash With a Southeastern Freight Lines Vehicle? We're Here To Help
Victims of accidents involving commercial trucks may assume that it's a fairly simple task to hold a trucking company accountable for their losses. It would certainly be nice if that were the case, but given how much they stand to lose, companies like Southeastern Freight Lines will always do their best to make it as difficult as possible for those affected by their negligence to prevail.
While most of us are probably used to handling our own problems for the most part, there are a few situations where it's vital to get help from someone with the experience to know how best to handle them. Something as complex as truck accident litigation definitely falls into that category. Dallas truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains some of the issues involved in this area of the law of which victims may not be aware.
Questions Answered On This Page:
- What is Southeastern Freight Lines?
- What does official data indicate about the company's number of accidents?
- What does the company's seeming reluctance to disclose information mean for victims?
What is Southeastern Freight Lines?
Founded in 1950 by William T. Cassels, Lexington, SC-based Southeastern Freight Lines is today the 11th-largest carrier specializing in less-than-truckload shipping, and the 30th-largest overall, with revenues in 2018 of $1.2 billion. It has operations in 13 states throughout the South, as well as Puerto Rico.
The company employs a total of about 4,000 drivers and has a fleet of just over 3,000 trucks, all of which traveled a total of around 200 million miles in the most recent year on record. While that may be an impressive number, it also creates plenty of opportunity for crashes, with a little more than 250 involving Southeastern drivers in the last two years. Of those collisions, 90 led to injuries and 6 to deaths.
We should pause here to note that the arm of the federal government that gathers this data, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, does not make a finding of fault in any given crash as part of its tabulation process. It would be completely unfair to assume that a Southeastern driver was responsible for all of these crashes, but, given that an 18-wheeler driver is at fault in 33--40% of all crashes industry-wide, the blame for some percentage of those noted here can likely be chalked up to the negligence of one of their drivers.
The number of issues that could potentially impact a commercial truck accident claim are simply too numerous to address in a brief article, but there's something that caught my eye while researching Southeastern Freight Lines that stood out enough to be worth mentioning.
Because advanced safety technology serves as a concrete, objective indicator of a company's commitment to reducing crashes, corporate profiles in a leading publication for the trucking industry have an entire section noting whether each of the industry's leading companies incorporate specific technologies into their fleet. Southeastern's response (or lack thereof) to a survey seeking information on their use of such equipment raises questions worthy of further examination.
What Does Southeastern Freight Lines' Lack of Disclosure Mean for Truck Accident Victims?
Some people might assume that, because we represent victims of their negligence, our firm has some kind of vendetta against trucking companies. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we've done a lot to hold companies accountable for their negligent acts, there are plenty of players in the industry that do everything they can to make sure their trucks and passenger vehicles share the road safely, even if their affiliated drivers still cause crashes from time to time.
However, one thing all of those safety-prioritizing companies have in common is that they never miss an opportunity to shout from the rooftops about everything they are doing to improve the safety of their fleet. One such opportunity comes once every year, when a prominent trucking industry publication publishes its list of the top 100 trucking companies by revenue, with a brief data profile of each.
While the bulk of these profiles is information available in the public record, there's one section based on a survey mailed out to all of the companies which, among other things, indicates, in a checklist format, the safety-related and efficiency-improving technologies deployed to some or all of the trucks in each company's fleet. Southeastern's entry doesn't have any of the listed technologies checked.
As I mentioned above, there are a couple of possible explanations for such a situation, and, given that information from other sources indicates that Southeastern does in fact make extensive use of several of the listed technologies in their vehicles, the most likely by far is that the company simply didn't consider it necessary to respond to the magazine's survey.
I won't speculate as to why that might be the case, and it's quite possible it just fell through the cracks before the publication date. But if a company's management can't return a simple survey about the technology on-board their trucks to a friendly publication, how do you think they're likely to respond to your request for, say, the black box data from one of their vehicles showing that it made a sudden stop just before a collision?
Fortunately, the law has a way to make a company like Southeastern turn over this information, whether it wants to or not. By submitting the proper paperwork and obtaining a signed order, or subpoena, from a judge, an attorney can obtain all of the information relevant to your case, from black box data to driver hours-of-service records, however inconvenient that might be for the company.
How Grossman Law Offices Can Help You Get The Information You Need
Obtaining crucial information from a company like Southeastern Freight Lines is only one of the many challenges victims face as they pursue their truck accident claim. That's why it's so important for them to have someone looking out for their interests, who knows exactly what they're up against and has the experience to know how to fight back.
The dedicated attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been helping victims hold trucking companies accountable for their negligence for almost 30 years. We're proud to have helped people through hundreds of successful truck accident claims, and we're ready to do the same for yours.
If you've suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an accident involving a Southeastern Freight Lines vehicle, please call us at 855-326-0000 to find out how we can help. We're available 24/7 to take your call.
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