In 2014, a special NBC report indicated that FedEx Freight, a major international shipping carrier and division of FedEx, had as many as 730 accidents in just a two-year span, and the company was cited for unsafe driving more than 679 times. These numbers offer just a subtle glimpse into the dangerous world of freight shipping in the U.S. Even companies with otherwise terrific safety records may have a real problem with dangerous and careless drivers and other employees. When trucking operations and their negligent drivers fail to follow basic safety rules on the road, deadly collisions can happen. Here are a few things to consider if you are ever involved in a trucking accident with FedEx or one of their drivers.
Why Food Service Trucks Tend to Present Safety Hazards to the Public
Obviously, any driver and any trucking company can be negligent at times. However, some companies and indeed some specific niche hauling services are riskier than others. Typically, as more miles are driven, the statistical chance of being involved in a crash increases as well. However, there are other factors to consider. For instance, coast-to-coast trucking outfits require drivers to sit for long periods of time without getting up to load or unload freight. Likewise, such drivers usually only need to back into a warehouse to be loaded or unloaded once or twice per shift. For local food service delivery companies like Gordon Food Service, drivers may need to navigate difficult maneuvers dozens of times each day. They may need to park in open roadways, park in tight parking lots, or unload from the street. All of these conditions create potential jeopardy for the general public.
Five Things to Remember About Trucking Accidents
When you are involved in a truck accident, there are five general things you should keep in mind.
- Truck drivers may or may not be employees of the company on the side of the truck or trailer. Many companies rely on contractors and owner-operators to haul freight. Do not assume you have been hit by a Gordon Food Service driver. Always get a license, registration, company info, and insurance information.
- Trucking companies may have investigators quickly responding to destroy or hide evidence. It may seem paranoid, but believe it or not, some trucking companies have been known to send investigators and risk management personnel to the scene of a serious accident in order to “collect” evidence. This can turn into concealing evidence.
- Just because you are hurt does not mean they will pay. Most people with good intentions tend to believe that large, multi-million-dollar corporations will do the right thing if they can just explain their situation. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. These companies got large and remain large not by paying out claims but by making large profits then avoiding any liability.
- Truck drivers are under the influence more often than you probably know. According to a Reuters report, as many as 8% of truck drivers sampled tested positive for amphetamines. About 3-4% tested positive for alcohol use. Reuters also reports that in one American study, 12.5% of drivers tested came up positive for alcohol. The study also revealed that many truck drivers tested positive for things like ephedrine, while as many as 20% of the drivers sampled actually self-reported that they used marijuana and 3% admitted using cocaine. Of course, these numbers do not even include the myriad of prescription medications, including opioids and sleep medications that truck drivers may use.
- Your injury deserves compensation. For some, they believe that there is no way to make a trucking company pay. If the company says no, they think that is the end of the matter. Quite the contrary, at Kruger & Hodges, our attorneys understand that it is actually up to a jury to decide whether the trucking company is at fault and if so, whether and how much they should pay. It is not the company’s decision. Naturally, we are always willing to work with insurance adjusters to reach a fair and reasonable resolution, but our attorneys also realize that sometimes litigation is necessary in order to protect our clients.
If you have been hurt by a careless or negligent truck driver, give Kruger & Hodges a call today.