Important Warnings for Victims of Crashes Involving Valley Proteins Vehicles
If you've just been injured in a collision involving a commercial truck, it's understandable that you might want to reach a quick resolution by accepting the first offer you can get from the company responsible. However, given the substantial costs in medical bills and lost wages that these crashes typically exact, a typical initial settlement is unlikely to be anywhere near enough to make you whole.
While taking on any multi-billion dollar business is going to be a difficult task, every company is different, and their modes of operation can each have their own distinct effect on litigation. In the case of Valley Proteins, whose vehicles are equipped with a host of safety technologies, the appearance of safety they create could affect the extent to which a jury holds them responsible for a crash. Acclaimed Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorney Michael Grossman explains how victims can overcome this effect.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- What is Valley Proteins?
- How many crashes involving injury or death has the company been involved in?
- How could the company's extensive use of safety technology affect your case?
What is Valley Proteins?
Founded in 1949 in New Oxford, PA, Valley Proteins, which specializes in transportation of rendering products, currently controls the 92nd largest private commercial fleet in the U.S. The company's roughly 600 tanker trucks and drivers traveled almost 38 million miles in 2017, and it generated revenues of around $500 million that year.
Over the past two years, federal government data indicates the company's vehicles have been involved in 71 crashes, 22 of which led to injuries. Fortunately, none of these crashes resulted in fatalities. It's important to note that this data makes no suggestion about responsibility for any of these crashes, only that a Valley Proteins truck was involved. However, given the sheer numbers and the law of averages, it's quite likely that at least some of them were the result of a company driver's carelessness.
Like many trucking companies, Valley Proteins has decided that outfitting their fleet with extensive safety technology is a worthwhile investment. While this is certainly a responsible decision on their part, it's also one that can work to your disadvantage as someone hurt by the careless behavior of their drivers.
How Could Valley Proteins' Use of Safety Technology Affect Your Case?
Like the commercial transportation industry as a whole, Valley Proteins has come a long way since 1949. In addition to electronic monitoring of hours on duty, the company's fleet now boasts a range of safety technologies. Software called Powervue allows dispatchers to observe potentially dangerous behaviors like sudden braking and speeding, allowing management to properly discipline drivers who engage in them on the spot.
The company has also recently begun to install in-cab cameras that can capture driver behavior in the seconds leading up to and immediately following a crash. While these technologies can't totally eliminate the risk of commercial drivers behaving irresponsibly, they do have some deterrent potential. As you might expect, the threat of observation and the potential discipline that goes with it will likely motivate many drivers to focus on the road instead of their phones or in-cab televisions.
There's one downside to on-board cameras and other forms of safety technology that may not be immediately apparent, however. Namely, the image of a "safe trucking company" they can create in the minds of a jury may lead those twelve random people to take a driver's negligence in your specific case less seriously than they otherwise would. For most people, it's easier to feel comfortable holding a company accountable if they appear to have little regard for safety than it is when they've taken active measures, like installing monitoring equipment, to reduce their risk of crashes.
Obviously, in an ideal world, jurors would make their decisions based strictly on the facts presented to them and the law as a judge instructs them on it. But the distance between that ideal and how things work in practice illustrates one of many ways in which human nature gets in the way of our legal system's noble intentions. To understand why jurors behave this way, we have to briefly put ourselves in their shoes.
Suppose that you've been called to spend days or weeks serving on a jury, and a skilled defense attorney presents testimony from their safety director about everything a company has done to improve the safety of their vehicles. On some level, you know that the prudence of the company's management doesn't excuse the negligent behavior that led to the lawsuit. But when you're trying to determine what percentage of the blame to place on the defendant and the appropriate level of compensation to award, it's almost impossible to keep it from affecting your decision making.
There's probably no way to completely eliminate this influence, but it's certainly possible to effectively mitigate it by getting help from an attorney experienced in commercial vehicle accident claims. By obtaining the needed evidence from the trucking company to establish what actually happened and presenting an effective narrative at trial, they can do a lot to keep a jury's attention properly focused on the negligence of the company and its employees.
However damning it may be, that evidence is only useful to your case if you're able to obtain it. And because it's the legal property of the company, which has every interest in not surrendering it, the only way to do so is drafting a valid subpoena giving them no other choice. As with any other complex legal document, if you want this to be done properly and ensure that it's effective, it's important to have an experienced attorney do so on your behalf.
Put Grossman Law Offices' Long Record of Success to Work For You
The risks of a company's use of safety equipment influencing a jury's perceptions are just a few of the many considerations that need to be accounted for when pursuing a claim against a company like Valley Proteins. Unless you have legal help prepared for all of the potential complications of your case, you could easily find yourself settling for far less than you deserve.
We know you have a lot of options for legal representation on your commercial vehicle accident case. But not all of them can claim our firm's nearly 30 years of successfully litigating these difficult claims, our multiple six-figure awards, or our clients-first approach to every case. Of course, the best way to better understand how we can help you and your family is to give us a call yourself.
If you or a family member have been injured in a crash involving a Valley Proteins vehicle, please call (855) 326-0000 to find out how our attorneys can help you. We're here to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Related Articles for Further Reading: