The Maeder Legal Team has handled hundreds of truck accidents in many different states.
It is this vast knowledge of the law and the specific regulations of the trucking industry that gives us the edge.
Many serious accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers who are not paying attention for a variety of reasons. Perhaps there were distractions, or the individual suffered from fatigue. We’ve found some semi-drivers fudge their operating logs and drive beyond the ICC regulated times of operation. This practice has been somewhat constrained today because most truck drivers now use electronic logs where GPS locators automatically record their driving and rest times.
Additionally, today’s semi-trucks have Event Data Recorders (EDRs) that record their speed, braking, accident avoidance maneuvers, and Delta-V (the pulse or duration of the impact between the vehicles and the occupants). Our expert team has the know-how and the resources to download, preserve, and interpret this data to protect the evidence that supports your claim. Since the fall of 2014, this recording equipment is now mandatory on all motor vehicles which means this ability is more valuable than ever.
Major Crash Downtown Chicago
We responded to a major crash in downtown Chicago, where the Interstate highways intersect, where a semi-truck pulling a container rear-ended a semi-tractor (bobtailing) that was slowing down for a traffic jam up ahead. The semi slammed the tractor with three people in it, two of them were killed and one tragically injured. The insurance company’s defense was that the driver of the van was an independent driver of the company that owned the truck, and they had no responsibility financially for his negligence. They said “it was too bad” that he had caused such a terrible accident but they were not going to pay a dime. The Team found out, because of the ICC license the trucking company had, and because of the Federal Regulations that applied, that the trucking company (and its insurance company) had the statutory financial liability for the accident and they paid in full. They paid every dime that the victims and their families were entitled to. It was necessary to go to the Federal Court in Chicago to force their hand, but we did so, and with a vengeance. We don’t like it when insurance companies try to pull one over on or our clients.
Refrigerated Trailer Flaw
A trucker was opening the van’s door for unloading refrigerated supplies on a customer’s loading dock. Suddenly, according to our client, the doors “exploded” causing him serious facial and other injuries. It was thought, for a while, he would never drive again. The insurance company denied the claim on the grounds that he must have “slipped” and that perhaps he should make a claim against the loading dock owners. The Team’s investigation found that this was just another insurance company trick. We found, that after a nation-wide investigation, the California manufacturer had failed to carefully construct the refrigerated trailer (“reefer”) and by not providing sufficient exhaust/drain valves, the cooling process had caused the inside pressure to build up so that when the doors were just loosened enough to begin to open, they would explode. We proved that they had, in fact, built a bomb. As a result, our client received full compensation and the vans were redesigned preventing many other “unexplained” accidents from happening in the future.
Vehicle Suicide PTSD
One of our clients, an experienced trucker, could no longer drive a truck. He had been operating a semi when a young woman in an oncoming car committed “vehicle suicide.” Apparently, she had purposefully driven across the center-line of the highway into his oncoming truck and died. His reaction from the accident put him in an emotional condition that prevented him from driving, but the insurance company claimed he was “putting it on.” Our medical investigation found that he had a classic case of “PTSD.” His injury was authentic and as real as if he had sustained serious bodily injury. The woman’s insurance company paid in full.
A large interstate trucking company denied the claim of a widower for the death of his wife because the semi-truck had no physical contact with the oncoming car that hit our client’s car. The truck had actually forced this oncoming car off the highway, into the median strip, and into the path of our client’s vehicle. Insurance claimed that the truck driver was not at fault and that the fault was with the oncoming motorist whose care made contact with our client’s vehicle. The motorist had limited insurance limits and so it was imperative, if possible, for us to determine if the trucking company, which had $5,000,000 limits, was responsible.
Again, we were forced to file the action in Federal Court where we proved to the satisfaction of the insurance company that its driver was the sole negligent party of the accident. While the truck driver did not physically contact the oncoming car with his truck, we proved that they would have struck and destroyed it if the other car had not driven off the pavement and into our client’s car, killing a beloved wife and mother.
Hazardous Driving Fatality
A young mother who taught at a distant school was returning home on a snowy, icy day when her jeep skidded off the road and into the median. It was a four-lane major highway and she waited so that she could drive out of the middle, back onto the highway. We proved that the oncoming semi-truck driver, who claimed she suddenly pulled out in front of him before he killed her, was actually going 20 miles over the safe speed limit and his failure to use the training his CDL license demanded was the cause of the accident. She had not pulled in front of him “at the last second” but, in fact, he had over 25 seconds to observe her movements. This gave him ample time to slow down and allow her to safely get back on the pavement, had he been driving slower. The trucking company and its insurer paid in full. Wisconsin law has now ruled that because of the CDL training and requirements, truck drivers must be held to a higher standard when operating these dangerous motor vehicles, in accordance with the increased hazard that these rigs pose to other vehicles due to their huge mass and speed.
We don’t 'work' for our clients, rather we 'serve' them and we know that they've granted us this privilege which we'll always honor through hard work and honesty.