Swift Transportation is one of the largest truck carriers in the country, with 15,000 drivers who haul everything from lumber to household goods to grain, paper products, and more. The company drives about 1,480,000,000 miles a year and was involved in 1109 traffic accidents, including 30 fatal collisions, between 2020 and 2022.
How Do Swift Transportation Trucking Accidents Commonly Happen?
Like any truck collision, Swift Transportation truck accidents can happen for many reasons. While we call these collisions “accidents,” in fact many are preventable and may be caused by negligence or recklessness. In fact, crashes involving Swift Transportation trucks and drivers can be caused by:
- Speeding. In 2019, truck drivers were cited 71,484 times for violations of speeding. Of all violations cited in FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) data, this was the most common. Truck drivers are often paid by the mile driven and may not always be paid when cargo is being loaded and unloaded, meaning drivers have a financial incentive to speed.
- Driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers have slower response times and in some studies have been found to have higher impairment when compared with drivers under the influence of alcohol. There are federal laws to ensure truck drivers get adequate sleep. Hours of Service rules, specifically, mandate the maximum number of hours driven and require specific rest breaks. Despite this, there is pressure on commercial truck drivers to drive as much as possible, especially with an ongoing shortage of drivers. As a result, not all drivers obey the federal rules, and some drive without adequate rest. In 2019 alone, for example, there were 3,497 Hours of Service violations.
- Driver distraction. Driver distraction can easily cause 18-wheeler truck accidents and other commercial truck accidents by taking a driver’s eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off driving. Truck drivers can be distracted by messages from other drivers and dispatchers. Some drivers are expected to stay in regular contact with their carriers, and this can reduce their focus on driving.
- Violation of traffic rules. Obeying stop signs, red lights, and other rules of the road helps prevent collisions, but in 2019 alone, inspectors cited truck drivers for failure to obey traffic devices 62,131 times.
- Cargo issues. Cargo must be correctly balanced, loaded, and secured to prevent shifting and to allow the driver control of the truck. Hazardous cargo is subject to additional regulations. When cargo is incorrectly loaded or secured or when trucks are dangerously overloaded, tire blowouts can happen, and drivers can lose control of their vehicles.
- Mechanical failure. Tire blowouts, brake problems, and other issues may happen if trucks are incorrectly maintained or if parts are faulty or poorly designed.
All truck accidents can be caused by these issues, and Swift Transportation is no different. Between 2019 and 2021, Swift Transportation was cited for violations 6,225 times during inspections.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Result from Swift Transportation Accidents?
Motor vehicle accidents involving Swift Transportation trucks can cause catastrophic injury, in part because of the size of the commercial trucks used by carriers like Swift Transportation. These vehicles are much larger than passenger cars and may cause serious injuries, including:
Swift Transportation fatal accidents can also occur. When they do, the immediate family members of the victim may have a wrongful death claim against the carrier if the company’s negligence led to the fatal injuries.
What Can the Recovery Look Like for Victims of Swift Transportation Accidents?
Every case is unique and Swift Transportation accident claims can vary widely. If negligence on the part of Swift Transportation caused an injury, injured survivors can seek financial recovery for their losses. In general, the more severe and life-changing the injuries, the greater the financial recovery a survivor can seek. Those who have been injured can seek recovery for:
- Pain and suffering
- Current and expected future medical bills
- Current and expected future income loss
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation costs
It is important to consider all costs related to an injury when seeking financial recovery. Even the costs of taking a taxi to doctor’s appointments, renting a car, or installing a ramp at your home to accommodate the wheelchair you need because of your injury can add up. Working with an experienced truck accident injury claims attorney may help you determine whether you have a claim and how much financial recovery you may need to seek to cover your losses
What’s The Process of Filing a Claim Like?
In many cases, filing a claim against Swift Transportation begins by speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney who has previously worked on commercial truck accidents. An attorney can tell you whether you have a claim and can address your questions so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do. If you do decide to file a claim, an experienced attorney can also take care of the many steps involved in filing a claim, including:
- Gathering information and evidence related to the case
- Properly evaluating the damages
- Determining all liable parties
- Officially filing the claim to let liable parties know about the lawsuit
- Undertaking the discovery process, which involves all parties in the case sharing the relevant information they have uncovered in the case
- Reviewing any offers made and negotiating with other parties
- Answering any motions by other parties
- Seeking a trial date if no settlement agreement can be reached
- Presenting the case before a court
Just as no two Swift Transportation truck accidents are the same, the outcomes of claims vary widely. You may be able to reach a settlement or you may win at trial. It is also possible to lose at trial, and regardless of your outcome in court, all parties can appeal. Your attorney can keep you informed about the status of your case and will work to represent your best interests as you seek financial recovery.
Where Can Victims Run into Issues When Seeking Recompense?
Every truck carrier has a policy in the event of a claim, and any Swift Transportation accident policy is designed to do one thing: minimize liability and any damages the company has to pay. As soon as an accident involving a Swift Transportation truck or driver happens, the company and its attorneys and insurers take steps to protect the carrier.
Attorneys and Swift Transportation’s insurance agents may claim Swift Transportation was not liable for the injuries, may claim that the injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition, or may try to offer less in compensation than you need to pay for your losses. In some cases, companies like Swift Transportation may put pressure on you to sign paperwork claiming Swift Transportation is not liable or may delay a case to put additional pressure on you to encourage you to accept an initial, low, offer.
How Can Getting an Experienced Attorney Help?
After an accident with Swift Transportation trucks or drivers, an experienced attorney can be invaluable in helping you understand whether you have a claim and in helping you review any offer. An attorney understands the Swift Transportation accident policy the carrier may use and the strategies truck carriers use to minimize their liability. With this understanding, an experienced attorney can counter these tactics and build a strong case to hold Swift Transportation accountable for your accident and to seek fair financial recovery to help you with the costs of your injury.
Why Johnson Garcia?
If you have been in an accident with Swift Transportation trucks or drivers, contact Johnson Garcia. We have more than 30 years of combined experience and have recovered over $100 million for injured clients.
Our founders worked for years representing corporations at one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation, before dedicating themselves to helping those in need. We understand how large companies like Swift Transportation work and the strategies they use in claims. We can use this knowledge to leverage your claim. If you have been injured in a Swift Transportation truck accident, contact Johnson Garcia for a free consultation.