Surge in big rig wrecks related to supply chain pressures

A Texas attorney who specializes in trucking safety says he’s worried about the uptick in 18-wheeler accidents, claiming that the pandemic is only making matters worse.

Over the past year, the number of trucking accidents has been steadily increasing nationwide, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries.

Although winter weather conditions can be blamed for a portion of these incidents, some legal experts point the finger elsewhere.

Fort Worth attorney Seth D. McCloskey of the Law Offices of Steven Laird PC attributes the surge in commercial truck accidents across the country on supply chain pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the way, he claims, that the major trucking companies have “mishandled the worker shortage.”

The number of fatalities from truck crashes

Truck Accidents Are Becoming More Severe

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the average cost of a commercial truck accident in which one person is injured is $148, 279. If more than one person is injured in a trucking accident, the costs rise exponentially to $7,2 million. This number does not include the rising costs of truck repairs and liability claims. As accidents become more frequent, claim costs are almost twice as likely to exceed $100,000.

Trucks carry 80% of the nation’s cargo, but there are more trucks on the road today than ever before. The number of truck accidents has increased along with the number of fatalities on the highways. Large truck crashes accounted for 11% of all motor vehicle accident deaths in 2018. According to the American Trucking Association, commercial trucks were involved in 59% more accidents per mile in 2017 than in 2010, despite newer technology and better regulations. In addition, the number of people who died in large truck crashes in 2018 was 31% higher than in 2009, when the rate was at its lowest since 1975, when statistics on fatal crashes began.

What Happens When Truck High-Centers on Railroad Tracks With An Oncoming Train?

Five people were transported to the hospital after the collision.

A dramatic video captured the moment an Amtrak train slammed into a semi-truck hauling several cars in Oklahoma, sending vehicles and debris flying and injuring several people on board.

The incident occurred Friday around 7 p.m. local time in Thackerville, near the Oklahoma-Texas border. Minutes before Amtrak Train 822, which operates daily between Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City, was scheduled to pass through, the car hauler tractor trailer got stuck on the train tracks, Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham told ABC News.

“The tracks are built up a little bit higher” at that crossing, Grisham said. “He had a lot of cars on the trailer. When he tried to cross over the tracks, the trailer high-centered on the tracks, causing him to be stuck and not able to move his tractor-trailer rig any further off the track.”

“Everything was just stuck,” he said.

A bystander who captured the video of the collision called 911, according to the sheriff. Authorities attempted to contact the railroad network operator, but the train couldn’t be stopped in time, Grisham said.

Billion-dollar lawyer speaks: Here’s what happened in tragic Florida wreck

His billion-dollar judgment in hand, Curry Pajcic is speaking out about what happened in the series of truck wrecks in 2017 that took the life of Connor Dzion and led to the enormous jury award.

The arguments aren’t new; Pajcic, attorney for the Dzion family in Florida’s Nassau County court, presented them during the five-day trial. But since few people heard those in person, Pajcic appears to be on a quest to get his view of what happened out to a broader audience. He held a press conference after the verdict, and a Pajcic & Pajcic associate reached out to FreightWaves to offer up a longer review of the events of that night.

Pajcic has the advantage of the “other side” being quiet or nonexistent. One of the two trucking companies involved, Canada-based Kahkashan, has proved impossible to contact — for both FreightWaves and other media, based on reports. Kahkashan was represented by the Orlando office of Wilson Elser, a national law firm. But efforts to contact attorneys for the firm have failed.

The second company, Staten Island, New York-based AJD Business Services, is listed by the Department of Transportation as inactive. Its lawyer withdrew from the case in 2019, and it failed to answer any of the court’s actions going back to that year.

Two trucking companies hit with $1 billion verdict in death of teenager

Connor Dzion had only attended two weeks of classes at the University of North Florida in 2017 when a distracted semi-truck driver slammed into a line of cars on Sept. 4. Dzion had been in standstill traffic for over an hour on Interstate 95 near Yulee because another semi-truck driver had flipped his vehicle ahead of him, blocking movement on the highway. 

His mother, Melissa Dzion, realized her son was late returning home from visiting his girlfriend and used the Find My iPhone feature to look for him. She rushed to the site. But the crash had ultimately killed her 18-year-old son. 

On Aug. 20 after just five days of testimony and four hours of deliberation, the Nassau County jury handed down a verdict of over $100 million to the Jacksonville teenager’s parents for pain and suffering for the loss of their son and $900 million in punitive damages against AJD Business Services Inc., the company whose truck driver had crashed ahead of Dzion and stalled traffic. 

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