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What Victims of Crashes Involving TransAm Trucking Should Know

Regardless of the company responsible, being involved in a wreck involving a commercial vehicle is an incredibly stressful ordeal. That stress begins with the event itself, but also extends into the long process of recovery and obtaining compensation from those responsible. Given the significant imbalance in resources between the average person and the large legal departments of most trucking companies, victims will need the help of an experienced semi-truck accident attorney to have a realistic chance of success.

Almost every commercial transportation company has its share of cases illustrating why victims should be wary of trusting them to do the right thing for those harmed by their drivers. However, an incident in the public record involving employees of TransAm Trucking illustrates that idea in dramatic fashion. Dallas semi-truck crash injury attorney Michael Grossman explains what victims should expect based on the company's behavior in the Maddin case.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is TransAm Trucking?
  • How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
  • What does TransAm's behavior in the Maddin case suggest for victims?

Crash statistics from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data

What is TransAm Trucking?

Founded in 1987, Kansas-based TransAm Trucking, which specializes in delivery of refrigerated food products, is currently the 86th-largest commercial transportation company in the U.S., with 2017 revenues of almost $300 million. It's just over 1,000 semi-trucks and drivers traveled more than 130 million miles that year. That's almost as far as a trip from the Sun to Mars.

Over the last two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 118 crashes, of which 40 caused injuries and 2 resulted in fatalities. To be sure, this data doesn't show who was at fault for any of these collisions, only that they involved a TransAm 18-wheeler.

While it's impossible to know what might have caused any of these wrecks without further investigation, there's at least one incident in the public record that may help victims better understand what they're likely to face as they try to recover from TransAm for their losses.

What TransAm's Behavior in the "Frozen Trucker" Case Suggests for Victims

While our firm talks a lot about the dangers of negligent truckers for other motorists on the road, the occupation itself is not without its share of risks for drivers. Any job that takes workers hundreds of miles from home, requiring them to travel through often treacherous conditions, naturally exposes truckers to risks that most workers would never have to consider.

Alphonse Maddin's story involves one such dangerous situation, with both the circumstances that put him in danger and his company's response speaking volumes about what victims attempting to hold TransAm accountable after a crash should expect. Mr. Maddin was driving a semi-truck down the highway on a frigid January night when he pulled over as he began to run out of gas.

When Maddin attempted to pull back onto the highway, he discovered that the air brakes on the trailer portion of his vehicle had frozen. He had just reported the issue to his employer and was awaiting a repair truck when he discovered another problem: the power unit in its cab had stopped working, leaving him without heat in subzero temperatures.

After waiting for more than two hours, with no ETA for assistance, and with hypothermia setting in, Maddin told his dispatcher he was leaving the trailer behind to seek help. They ordered him to either continue driving with the trailer, despite its brake issue, or remain in place to continue waiting for help. He opted instead to leave the trailer behind, returning for it within a few hours after help had arrived.

TransAm later wrote Mr. Maddin up for "abandoning his load," which ultimately lead to his firing. The legal dispute that followed, Trans Am v. Administrative Review Board, resulted in a judge fining the company $280,000 and requiring them to remove any negative reports made about him to other trucking companies.

Simply put, counting on a company like TransAm to step up and do the right thing for victims just because they're responsible for a crash is a strategy that almost never works out well.

The critical aspect of this case for victims is the incredible callousness the company displayed towards the safety of both their employee and the traveling public. It gave Mr. Maddin the impossible choice of potentially freezing to death in an unheated trailer, or driving his vehicle in an inherently hazardous condition.

One might also wonder: if the power unit that should have been powering Maddin's heater wasn't functioning properly, what other mechanical issues did his employer neglect to correct? And what does it say about their concern for public safety that they were willing to allow a vehicle whose brakes had frozen onto the highway, with all the risk that entails, simply to make sure a single shipment arrived on time?

The most important lesson to take away from these events is that, simply put, the people in charge of trucking companies don't feel any moral obligation to make things right for those harmed by their driver's negligence. Their primary concern is maximizing the amount of return they can deliver for their shareholders. Anything that interferes with that prospect, from a trucker abandoning a load in defense of his life to fairly compensating victims of collisions their drivers cause, is something to be either prevented, whether with the threat of termination or attempts to conceal the truth.

While you might think that what happened in a wreck speaks for itself, trucking companies have a variety of ways to shift the narrative of a crash in their favor, and in our years of litigating these cases, we've observed a lot of them firsthand. They may try to influence the driver and witnesses at the scene to modify their accounts of the collision, or have investigators follow you and your family around to observe behavior that makes your injuries seem less severe. As appalling as it might sound, you have to be ready for anything when there are substantial sums of money on the line.

Simply put, counting on a company like TransAm to compensate you fairly just because they're responsible for a crash is a strategy that almost never works out well. It's up to you to get the experienced legal help required to prove their liability. The right attorney will be able to accomplish everything necessary to resolve the case in your favor, including filing the necessary documents to obtain evidence in their possession and crafting a strong argument capable of convincing a jury.

How Grossman Law Offices Can Hold TransAm Accountable

In my experience, most people injured in 18-wheeler crashes have no idea how much of a battle they face trying to obtain fair compensation from a trucking company. Having litigated hundreds of cases against companies like TransAm, I can tell you that almost none of them have stepped up to do the right thing for victims until we forced them to do so.

At Grossman Law Offices, we've helped victims of commercial truck accidents obtain the compensation they deserve for almost thirty years. With a combination of skilled investigators and attorneys thoroughly familiar with this area of the law, we have the ability to obtain the best result possible for our clients and send a message to the trucking company that their negligence doesn't come without consequences.

If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a TransAm tractor-trailer, call 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to hear your story and answer your questions.

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