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What Victims and Their Families Need to Know About Litigation Against United Road Services

There's a common misconception that claims against insured trucking companies work the same way as claims under other forms of insurance, where all victims have to do is file the proper paperwork and explain what happened in order to be compensated for their losses. What many don't realize is that the law places the burden on the injured party to prove both the extent of the harms they've suffered and why the trucking company is responsible for them.

While any accident involving a commercial vehicle involves its share of unexpected complications, those involving vehicle haulers, such as those operated by United Road Services, can create their own unique issues to investigate if they involve improperly secured cargo. Experienced truck accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how this factor could affect claims against the company.

Questions Answered on This Page:

  • What is United Road Services?
  • How many accidents involving death or injury has the company been involved in?
  • How does the possibility of unsecured loading affect claims against United Road?

Crash statistics courtesy the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

What is United Road Services?

United Road Services, based near Detroit, MI and incorporated in 1997, is the 51st largest commercial transport company in the United States. Its specialty is towing and transporting passenger vehicles, with separate divisions for vintage or prototype cars and movement of vehicles in Alaska.

The company's roughly 2,400 hauler trucks and 1,700 drivers generated revenues of around $650 million dollars and traveled about 145 million miles in the most recent year on record. That's roughly the distance from the Earth to Mars.

Over the last two years, federal government data shows that the company's drivers have been involved in about 180 crashes, with 56 involving injury and 5 leading to fatalities. It is important to note that these numbers don't tell us who was at fault for any of these wrecks. On the other hand, it's highly likely that some percentage of them can be attributed to negligence on the part of a United Road employee.

There's one particular cause of accidents involving tractor-trailers that can manifest in a potentially devastating way when car hauling vehicles are involved. If not properly secured, cars under transport could potentially come loose from their moorings, resulting in a crash that may be difficult for other drivers to avert.

How Do The Unique Risks of Car Hauling Vehicles Affect Litigation?

Loads that aren't properly secured can be a cause of accidents even for closed tractor-trailers, if the weight becoming unbalanced leads them to tip over, for example. However, vehicles like United Road's, which haul passenger cars on open haulers, create an even more significant danger, due to the large size and weight of its cargo, as well as the way that cars in transport are secured.

To get a better idea of how cars can be improperly secured, it's helpful to understand how the process of securing vehicles onto an auto hauler works. Each hauler has multiple levels of hydraulic platforms onto which vehicles are driven before each platform is raised or lowered into its final position. Then, each car is then secured to a platform by either chains or straps, depending on the age of the vehicle.

Because these devices are the only thing holding the vehicles to the hauler, if a company decides to save money by, for example, not replacing the devices as they wear out with use, the risk of one or more failing completely and sending a loose car onto the roadway increases.

It's difficult to make a convincing argument that a loose vehicle being suddenly thrown into another driver's path wasn't the cause of that driver hitting it.

Another potential danger arises from drivers failing to re-inspect their vehicles in the course of travel. Federal regulations require commercial vehicle operators to inspect their loads for tightness of fasteners and load-shifting before starting their journeys and in transit on a regular basis. If either worn out devices or a lack of care on a driver's part causes cargo to come loose onto the roadway, both the trucker and his employer would be responsible for any resulting injuries or deaths.

Unlike other potential causes of crashes involving 18-wheelers, such as a driver falling asleep after exceeding his mandated hours of service limit, those caused by insecure cargo would seem to have a fairly self-evident cause and effect relationship. It's difficult to make a convincing argument that a loose vehicle being suddenly thrown into another driver's path wasn't the cause of that driver hitting it. (This isn't to say that the company's defense team won't try to suggest that a driver striking such an obstruction could have stopped in time if they'd been traveling more slowly or paying closer attention, of course.)

However, demonstrating that a driver was liable for a crash still requires significant amounts of documentation, such as cargo loading records and logbooks showing failure to perform and document required checks on schedule. And trucking companies won't just hand potentially incriminating evidence over to an opposing party, unless they're presented with a properly-drafted subpoena compelling them to do so.

Why Grossman Law Offices Is The Best Choice to Protect Your Interests

The unique issues that can arise from crashes involving auto hauler trucks like those used by United Road Services are just a few of the many issues you may have to contend with in your efforts to hold the company accountable. When you're already facing a long and difficult recovery process, the last thing you should have to worry about is trying to take on all of the work involved in a civil suit as well.

Given how much they have at stake, it's important for victims of crashes involving commercial vehicles to have someone in their corner who's ready to handle any complication that might arise, and that readiness can only come from extensive experience. At Grossman Law Offices, we've been successfully litigating complex semi-truck injury and wrongful death claims for almost 30 years, so there's nothing a trucking company's legal team can throw at us that we haven't seen and countered many times before.

If you've been injured or lost a family member in an accident involving a United Road Services vehicle, call us today at 855-326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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