Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Swift Transportation is the largest common carrier in the nation, deploying 23,000 trucks. According to 2018 federal data, however, Swift was cited more than 19,000 times for safety violations from 2016-2018, making its citation record nearly as extensive as its fleet of vehicles. Just a few of these violations include texting while driving, speeding more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, violating hours-of-service regulations, operating a vehicle while impaired by illness or fatigue, and operating without a license.
These violations are all extremely dangerous and ripe for serious accidents. Unsurprisingly, Swift has been a frequent subject of litigation.
The process of filing a lawsuit against Swift Transportation
Filing a lawsuit against a trucking company will start much like any other lawsuit: engaging an attorney to draft a complaint against the company that spells out the specific allegations against it.
In drafting the lawsuit, one of the most important questions will be what caused the crash. This will influence not only the substance of your legal claims, but the damages you demand. For instance, was the driver acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident? If so, you will likely sue both Swift and the driver. However, if the driver was off duty at the time of the accident, then Swift may be absolved from liability.
In suing a large carrier like Swift, it is vital to accurately account for each and every detail. Companies like Swift are accustomed to being sued and as such, have counsel at the ready, prepared to reject every claim leveled against them. Any allegations in your complaint need to be supported by facts and evidence.
Common causes of Swift Transportation accidents
Swift Transportation has been involved in numerous safety violations involving drivers who are operating at a seriously diminished capacity. From 2016-2018, Swift’s fleet was involved in a series of accidents that resulted in 70 deaths and more than 800 injuries.
According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, truck driver fatigue is responsible for one in seven truck accidents. Many experts believe that this data is skewed, as many truck drivers fail to report just how tired they are when they cause a wreck. Regardless, the harm is real: some one in four truck accidents occur when a driver has been working for 17 hours or more in a single 24-hour period. Simply put, thousands of injuries and fatalities occur annually just because truck drivers aren’t getting enough rest while on shift.
Trucking company policies are partially to blame for this phenomenon: carriers and shippers pay their truckers for each mile they drive, thus incentivizing them to push forward even when they would be better off stopping. Not to mention, many drivers entertain multiple other related jobs from route planning to loading and rig inspections. This leads to a deadly combination of underpaid, overworked truckers taking on more than they can handle. As such, many truckers will meet common hazards like bad weather, flat tires, or aggressive drivers with far less than their full attention and vigilance. Because of this, truck accidents frequently lead to serious injuries, like burns, orthopedic injuries, PTSD, neurological damage, neck and back injuries, and deadly blunt force trauma.
Very unfortunately, many large carriers fail to see the culture of underpay and overwork - and their toll - as a serious issue. The longer their drivers work, the greater the economic reward and the better equipped they are to face competition. However, the public at large suffers tremendously from this oversight.
Who can I sue in an accident with Swift Transportation?
It depends upon the cause of the wreck. In most trucking cases, however, both the individual driver and the trucking company will be at fault. There are a few exceptions, however, like when a driver is acting outside the scope of his employment for Swift. In these cases, Swift may be absolved from liability, and you may go after the driver in his individual capacity.
Depending on the circumstances, there are other parties who may also be at fault, for instance:
- Other motorists on the public highways
- Manufacturers of truck parts
- Employees who loaded cargo on the truck
Should I hire a San Diego truck accident attorney?
Yes. Swift is a frequent subject of litigation and as such, has experienced legal counsel at the ready. Further, truck companies generally don’t care about the individuals who were injured - they tend to aggressively defend their bottom lines. As such, it is not advisable to handle an insurance negotiation or litigation without the help of an experienced attorney, especially against such a sophisticated party.
The truck accident lawyers in our office have helped numerous victims of truck accidents recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. We help our clients get back on their feet after a devastating accident and are here to help you. Give us a call today to set up a free consultation.